Coming Soon — Divorce Hotel?

Television networks have been making millions from reality shows aimed at helping people find love. Now, executives are eyeing a new concept: made-for-TV divorce.

An entrepreneur from the Netherlands is courting American hotels, law firms and production companies to create a new TV show that will assist couples in getting a divorce over the course of a long weekend. The Divorce Hotel, as it would be called, is already on air overseas and has helped 17 couples end their marriages, according to a recent news report.

Mediators and divorce attorneys work with couples to settle their matters for a flat fee over the three-day Divorce Hotel weekend. Come Sunday, the ex-spouses leave, ready to submit their paperwork to the court and begin their new lives.

More than 1 million couples file for divorce each year in the U.S., and there is often enough heartbreak and strife for couples who want to dissolve their unions to make for compelling TV. But whether it is advisable to take your divorce on air is a different question altogether.

A possible benefit: avoiding trial. Divorce can take a long time. The idea of gathering at a table for an intensive three days to settle marriage matters could expedite the divorce process and possibly limit the likelihood of costly litigation.

However, television cameras and producers will be ever-present. A hotel’s amenities – intended to relax the couples during filming – may not be enough to reduce anxiety during divorce proceedings. Also, couples may feel pressured to finalize everything over the weekend and end up regretting some of their decisions. They may end up having to hire family law attorneys after the show has finished taping to make modifications, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Another potential pitfall with the Divorce Hotel is that it may not work for couples with complex financial arrangements, real estate holdings, and decisions to make about child custody. But if the situation is fairly cut and dried, a weekend at the Divorce Hotel might just do the trick. Stay tuned.