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'Step right up!' Are divorce expos the next Big Thing?

We aren't aware of anything like this scheduled in Lake County. It could be just a blip on the radar, a passing fad, the "one day you're in, and the next day you're out" phenomenon of conventions. Still, while critics complain that it sends the wrong message, attendees at the Divorce Expo were excited about the opportunity to network and to learn more about the legal and financial issues that come with divorce.

A Wall Street Journal article highlighted one recent expo on the East Coast and referred in passing to another in the Midwest. The organizers of the featured event were divorce mediators whose work and personal experiences inspired them to pull the expo together.

They were eager to address common misconceptions about the project. The idea was not about promoting divorce or providing a dating service for divorcees. The purpose was to build a community for people who have been through a divorce and need support and guidance to navigate their post-divorce lives.

Like all good expos, "Start Over Smart" featured seminars, workshops and exhibitors. The seminars featured financial planners, family law attorneys and other professionals as well as a celebrity hair stylist. Yes, there was a dating workshop, but there was also a session on re-entering the workforce.

The divorce rate has been steady-to-declining for the past 20 years, but it looks as if the "divorce industrial complex" is taking off. Divorce spas and divorce boot camps are popping up all over the country. It looks, too, as if this upward trend is tied to the increasing momentum of the self-help movement.

The concept is not universally applauded, though. We'll discuss that more in our next post.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Divorce Enters Expo Age," Sumathi Reddy, March 28, 2012

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