In the last several years, a number of startups have initiated operations, promising to make marriage dissolution faster and more efficient.
In 2011, the “Divorce Hotel” welcomed its first guests in Saratoga Springs, New York; there is another location in Europe. Basic packages start at about $7,500 and include two rooms for the weekend, a professional divorce mediator, and all the posh “extras” that luxury hotels offer. The idea is that a married couple checks in, and an unofficially divorced couple checks out. At one point, the Fox Network was considering a Divorce Hotel reality show.
Several new websites offer similar services. San Francisco-based wevorce.com directs future divorcees to attorneys and other professionals based on the family’s “divorce archetype,” we2me.com helps newly single individuals redesign their living spaces, and divorceforce.com is essentially a family law-themed chat room focused on legal issues.
Andrew Schepard, director of the Center for Children, Families and the Law at Hofstra University opines that these startups reflect a new attitude about divorce. “Today we view divorce as a reorganization, almost like a bankruptcy. The family unit needs to come out of bankruptcy to be reorganized because it still has to function as a unit,” he said.
In 1970, then-Governor Ronald Reagan signed California’s no-fault divorce law. By the end of the 20th Century, nearly all states, including North Carolina, followed suit. These laws radically transformed the marriage dissolution landscape and caused divorce rates to skyrocket well into the 1980s.
To obtain a no-fault divorce in North Carolina, the parties must have lived physically separate and apart for at least one year. The period must be nearly continuous. While the occasional weekend does not stop the clock, any attempt to resume the marital relationship, however brief it may be, usually does end the separation period. Additionally, before the petition is filed, at least one spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months.
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