Divorce Expos, What Are They?

In March 2012 in Manhattan, the first ever Divorce Expo held in the U.S. was presented by a company called “Start Over Smart.” The Expo was a two-day event similar to a wedding expo except there were no vendors selling wedding dresses, honeymoon packages or bridal bouquets. Instead, there were more than 100 booths with vendors varying from divorce lawyers and financial counselors to life coaches to help divorced people restructure their lives.

Even plastic surgeons and make-over specialists came together for the purpose of tending to the needs and wants of the newly single or about-to-be single attendees. Professional match-makers had their own booth and an evening mixer for those wanting to meet someone new was well-attended.

The Expo was such a success that its sponsors plan on conducting such events in other cities around the country. The next one is scheduled for April 4-5, 2014, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The organizers of the Expo are a mother and daughter team: the mother is a happily married family therapist and her daughter is a divorced, single parent who is herself a divorce mediator. They attended a divorce expo in Paris and found it to be a positive experience. This inspired them to bring the idea to the U.S.

The two wanted to provide as much relevant information as possible in one place. They wanted to give those in the midst of divorce the opportunity of informing themselves so that they later never have to say, “If I had only known, I would have done it differently.”

Another purpose of the Expo is to recognize that roughly half of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. Divorce does not have to be the end of a dream, but an opportunity for a new beginning. The Expo offers something for those who are transitioning from marriage to being single as well as for those who have been divorced for a while. It provides an opportunity for all of them to see there is life after divorce.

Something for everyone: booths and events for both men and women. Nearly 70 percent of the attendees of the March 2012 Expo were women. Even so, the event had men-only stalls and more men are encouraged to attend the April 2014 Expo in Florida.

A holistic approach to divorce was presented and both men and women were encouraged to explore mediation as a way to separate without adversity. Some of the most prominent exhibitors at the Expo were mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys.