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'Step right up!' Are divorce expos the next Big Thing? (Part 2)

So much changes when a marriage ends. It isn't just the emotional relationship that changes -- it's the financial relationship, the parent-parent and parent-child relationships, the social relationships that come with being part of a couple. For both women and men a divorce can mean an unexpected -- and unprepared for -- return to the workforce. Whether change for the better or for the worse, divorce means change.

For a handful of entrepreneurs in the U.S. and in Europe, all of that change could use some support. And what better way to build a support community than to hold a divorce expo?

Expos have shown up in a few American cities so far, but the future of the events is uncertain. With offerings from the serious (financial planners) to the silly (hair stylists), these expos have given people who have recently divorced or who are in the midst of a divorce multiple opportunities to learn and to network with their peers.

There are critics, of course, and some strongly object to the concept of a divorce expo. The idea, they say, promotes divorce when society should be focusing on helping couples restore their marriages. A policy fellow at a conservative think tank said he was not comfortable with the idea of moving divorce away from being a legal procedure and toward being an industry.

But attendees said it was a relief to be part of a group, instead of an outsider or a stereotyped. The legal aspects of a divorce are one thing, said a recent divorcee, but building a good relationship with your ex and creating a healthier environment for the kids are quite another thing.

Too, there is the opportunity for renewal and, for some, a return to being the person you were before you got married.

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

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