uncommon for hotels to host various fairs, be they to recruit new
employees, exchange the latest news on project management or geeky
gadgets, or even to discuss, debate and celebrate the many faces of Star
Trek (costumes optional). But a divorce fair? Truly, this is boldly going where no fair has gone before.
Yet it’s not science fiction, because last week the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax, Nova Scotia, divorcing people attended the country’s first ever divorce fair.
by the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia, the divorce fair held
on January 15 and 16 brought men and women face to face with lawyers, life coaches, financial planners, and other professionals to discuss issues related to divorce; everything from dealing with the emotional trauma before and after divorce, to protecting children’s interests, to tips on finding the right lawyer
and keeping costs low, and more. Attendees were even given the
opportunity to hear from Ontario family court Justice Harvey Brownstone,
author of Tug of War: A Judge’s Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles, and the Bitter Realities of Family Court.
men and women were invited to attend separate days; men on January 15,
and women on January 16. The reasons? Call it logistics and strategy.
For one thing, organizers didn’t want spouses to “bump
into” each other at the fair; especially if divorcing was more
on one party’s mind than the other. In addition, experienced divorce
professionals appreciated that men and women typically focus on
different issues when it comes to divorce, and segregating genders made
things easier and clearer.
the divorce fair has received positive feedback from both presenters
and attendees, it isn’t without detractors. “It is already quite easy to
divorce, it is difficult to stick it out,” noted Andrea Mrozek, manager
of research for the Institute of
Marriage and Family Canada. “Is [the divorce fair] capitalizing on moments of difficulty or despair in people’s lives?
Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia Executive Director Maria
Franks disagrees with that view. “They’re going to separate anyway,”
Franks said. “They might as well understand the impact on the children, the impact on their finances, their housing.”