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There's a small hotel, with a wishing well - and a divorce lawyer

In the 1939 version of The Women, Norma Shearer travels to a dude ranch in a western state (known as a gambling mecca) to get divorced. She must stay there for a while, to establish residency and to relax a little, to live quietly as she plans her new life. Other women soon join her, all in the throes of divorce, and the drama that ensues at that ranch is more delicious than a Chicago Dog on a warm spring day.

An entrepreneur in Holland has come up with an idea that could have proved less dramatic for Norma Shearer. He has started a company that offers a low-cost, faster alternative to divorce.

He's done his homework. He spoke with divorcees about their experiences.

One likened the process to getting into a roller coaster. Getting a divorce in Holland may take between three months and three years -- sometimes as long as 10 years, if things get nasty -- but it always means absences from work, unhappy bosses and general upheaval for an unknowable period of time.

The solution: A service that focuses on mediation, rather than litigation, and that happens in about three days in a hotel -- a really nice hotel.

It's not the right choice for every couple, just as the collaborative process is not appropriate for everyone here in the U.S. And, it's not a "walk-up" service -- couples must go through extensive interviews before the company agrees to take their case.

We'll finish this up in our next post.

Source: PRI's The World, "Breaking Up at the Divorce Hotel in Holland," Clark Boyd, Sept. 12, 2011

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