Hotel Owner Hotel Owner July 2017 digital - Page 33

FEATURE and are picked back up on Sunday once the couple has had the chance to sleep on things. “It’s a very intensive process,” Leckie quips. Finances are handled, arrangements are made, and the divorce is settled within the allocated two-day period with the management of the entire process coming down to the important question: “How easy is a couple going to find it to come to a conclusion?” The ‘divorce weekend’- as intense as it is - is never done in less than the prearranged two days with Leckie explaining, “It’s always taken two days; we’ve always waited because it’s DIVORCEHOTEL FOUNDER JIM HALFENS, CLAIRE THORNTON AND DAVID LECKIE a nice day”. important not to rush it either. People maybe choose to play a favourite song have got to sleep on it as well; it would be together.” He adds: “I know it seems crazy unprofessional to say ‘oh well, we’ll sort it but it’s all to mark the ending.” Describing about the DivorceHotel concept, Leckie out by teatime’.” it as a “modern way” to terminate ensures that the couple are treated like Apart from the growing media attention marriages, Leckie believes that if there is any other during their time there as he ‘divorce’ is handled in a calm and neutral no “opportunity to bring the relationship to insists: “We could be sitting down having a setting, it is also important that if things an end in a formal way, it feels like a death conversation about anything. Obviously the get too heavy and stressful, the hotel’s without a funeral”. hotelier knows but nobody else does.” Not only is it imperative that the The process is in stark contrast with It was always inevitable that the form of an escape from the situation. the way many marriages typically end, such DivorceHotel would drum up substantial “Without giving too much away, it’s easy acrimony Leckie puts down to the lack of media interest. With magazine interviews, to take a walk out in some very pleasant “bad lawyers” who help to antagonise the TV appearances and a possible TV series surroundings. It can be quite emotionally situation. He also feels it is important that in the pipeline, Leckie hopes that the challenging so it’s important to get out.” the two people who took the vows and media frenzy will perpetuate his vision for started the marriage should be the same two a more harmonious divorce culture in the divorcing at the hotel, Leckie notes that he people who have a say in how it finishes. “I UK. With plans to expand the DivorceHotel is yet to see reconciliation between any of think, personally, going to court should be concept into London and Birmingham, the couples he has worked with. However, the absolute end resort because its kind of Leckie imagines that one day the hotel is many do get a sense of closure, which may crazy that a judge decides for you.” more than a concept but actually prompts location allows either party to have some Despite the amicable method of not always be possible – or as friendly - if The situation is handled sensitively new legislation. “[Divorce] hasn’t been the divorce were handled in a courtroom. by staff at the hotel - reception staff changed since the early 1970s, so it’s Leckie says: “What I think we can do in that even alter their greetings according very old legislation [and] I think we need hotel is, ‘yes [the] relationship has come to the demands of the situation. The to move on with the times.” Leckie says to an end, yes [the] marriage has come receptionist makes sure to refrain from he has achieved a 100% success and to an end, but we get this opportunity to telling the couple: “Thank you for coming, satisfaction rating - it would seem the UK’s actually mark it’. Some people in the States see you again soon.” Or: “Hope you’ve had estranged couples agree with him. DivorceHotel was set up by Dutch native Jim Halfens and has since expanded to America and the UK. It was brought to the UK by family mediator David Leckie in March 2017 and has gained popularity among media and potential divorcees alike. David Leckie currently lives in Yorkshire, is married to a Dutch native and has spent time between Britain and the Netherlands and praises the way divorces are handled over there. DivorceHotel takes place at an undisclosed location and promises to cordially end a marriage in a weekend while settling potential financial and custody disputes. Everything is handled discreetly and the privacy of the divorcing couple is respected. DivorceHotel has featured on Good Morning Britain, in the Daily Mail and The Sun. July 2017 33