Last week was exciting as I flew to the newest location for the Divorce Hotel TV series. Rene, one of our most creative lawyers often accompanies me on these trips. When we get a little bit of down time, the two of us brainstorm about how to continue to improve traditional divorce system, especially how to improve things before, during, and after a marriage so that our clients and others can avoid a painful process.
I have already written about how I believe that the divorce industry is asleep and stuck in the past, while our community is changing faster than ever. The gaps between supply and demand in the divorce industry are still growing, but the traditional divorce process lacks real innovation. Couples who decide to end their marriages, tend to search for quick and practical solutions, only to find lawyers who add layers of problems, billing their hours very enthusiastically.
One afternoon Rene and I came up with an idea that could change divorce forever: What if the process of marriage was designed to improve the process of divorce? Of course the overall goal should be to reduce the number of divorces, but in order to do that it is important to start by examining the marriage. For example, it is easy to get married in the United States and several countries around the world, in fact I think it’s too easy! I find it incomprehensible that in the United States it is easier to get married than it is to buy a car-- which to in order to drive you have to pass a test and obtain a license. It is true that the divorce industry benefits from the current situation, but what if there was some way to continuously assess a marriage, so deficiencies and problems could be identified sooner?
I have written about what is wrong with the divorce industry, pointing out my belief that the current youngsters will likely experience 2-3 marriages in their lifetime. If my prediction is correct divorce rates are likely to increase in the future. These people will not want to experience the divorces of their parents' generation, but will demand more effective, positive, and innovative ways to end their marriages.
Inspired by fixed-term labor law contracts, Rene and I got excited about a new idea we called the fixed-term wedding contract for the maximum of 10 years. I know you are probably thinking that I have lost my mind, but let me explain how it would work:
- A couple can determine the duration of their first marriage contract, up to ten years. The time agreed upon will be considered the first period of the marriage.
- The contract should clearly explain all terms and conditions not only of the marriage, but also if the marriage is not working, for example financials, how to divide possessions, etc.
- After the first period the couple comes together for and evaluation, determining what is working and what is not.
- Assuming that the couple is still happy together, the contract can be extended.
- If the couple decides to separate they have their contract as a guide for how to expedite the process.
By organizing your marriage in this way you will almost exclude the risk of having a long, expensive, and drawn-out divorce. I know it may not seem very romantic, but trust me when I tell you that it will make things much easier should anything go wrong with your relationship.
It may seem like a completely unconventional idea, unrealistic by today's standards, yet I am convinced that fixed-term marriage contracts will be the way of the future. Upcoming generations view marriages and relationships differently and will want to organize their contracts to reflect their values.
And hey… I have already proven that some of my revolutionary visions do come true, I mean, who would have thought 10 years ago that today, in The US, you can get divorced over a weekend in a hotel, in a positive way. Innovation and new solutions that start before the wedding day can help to reduce divorce rates in not only in the US, but also the rest of the world. My personal mission is to help you and others to avoid the misery that comes from painful, old-fashioned, overly litigious divorce proceedings.