By Joan Verdon
The Record (Hackensack, N.J.).
You could call it the Un-Bridal Show.
The Divorce Professionals is a group of North Jersey businesspeople who have formed an association designed to function as a one-stop referral system for dissolving a marriage. They’re hosting the group’s their second “divorce expo” on May 19.
The group, which includes a real estate broker, a mortgage officer, a therapist, a financial adviser, a family therapist, a life coach, a private investigator and an insurance agent, was formed last year after some of the members saw a demand for professional guidance in navigating divorce.
Various businesses have arisen in recent years to address the growing trend of uncontested, or “collaborative,” divorces. A website, Wevorce, launched two years ago, offers a digital path to a conflict-free split.
But the Divorce Professionals seems designed to address the traditional divorce battles involving real estate, finances and children. “We felt there was a real need for people as they go through this divorce process to find experts that can help them, and one call does it all,” said Robert Abbott, of the real estate firm Abbott & Casserta. Abbott said |he saw the need for such a service when he went through a divorce a few years ago.
The group secured the Web domain thedivorceprofessionals.com and launched a website six months ago.
Members paid an initial $150 fee to join the group and share in any marketing costs.
Only one professional from each divorce-related category was invited to join the group, and no attorneys or divorce mediators are part of the association. Instead, the group plans to compile a directory of recommended lawyers and mediators who specialize in divorce.
The upcoming event will be the group’s second Spring Expo. Last year’s event drew about 50 people. At this year’s expo, attendees can meet the members of the group and hear presentations by divorce lawyers and an estate planner and a mediator.
Therapist Tom Kersting, who joined the group recently, said the prospect of initiating a divorce can be daunting for his clients.
“There are so many pieces to the puzzle, ‘My home, my kids, my financial future! What if I can’t meet another person down the road?'” said Kersting, founder of Valley Family Counseling.
“We really want to just walk them through all of that and be able to refer them to the proper people,” he said.
At the expo, vendors from businesses not directly associated with divorce also are invited to exhibit, including spas, makeover consultants |and possibly a plastic surgeon, Abbott said.
The Divorce Professionals group also includes a nutritionist, and for those willing to give marriage, or at least love, another chance, a certified matchmaker.