The Divorce Posse

Remember when all it took to get divorced was a shark lawyer? Today, tony Philadelphians don't dare split up without a cadre of pricey experts — from decorators and plastic surgeons to chakra-soothing massage therapists

Also driving the trend is the disappearance of any reticence about divorce. What once was a private, somber affair is now seen — or at least marketed — as a very public wiping clean of the slate. “It’s the age of the divorced person,” declares Kendall Brown, a former Ballard Spahr attorney who left the firm last year to launch Media-based Eclatante, an event-planning firm that specializes in second weddings. The idea for her venture came to her as she arranged for her own remarriage at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and discovered a dearth of non-tulle-and-roses planners for such an occasion. The trend toward approaching yourself post-split as a sort of promising fixer-upper that you can throw money and Botox at and then put back on the market (“well-appointed, updated Gladwyne charmer — just renovated!”) isn’t ludicrous at all to Brown. As she says optimistically, “I’d call it the business of starting over.”

bow-tie-addicted Hurricane Schwartz has enrolled in divorce mediation, it seems there’s something going on with divorce. Last year saw countless Us Weekly and Star covers detailing celeb breakups, and the delicious best-seller The Debutante Divorcée, by Plum Sykes. “Divorce parties” complete with three-tier cakes have become standard practice in New York and Vegas, and now even closer to home. “I ran into a divorce party at 32˚ in Atlantic City,” says a friend. “It was 10 men getting bottle service and on the prowl for girls, and at least four of them were recently divorced. When they found out I was there for my bachelorette party, they were all joking and yelling, ‘Don’t do it!’” Center City realtor Kristen Foote is planning to mark the end of her eight-month-long marriage with a bang, too. “We’re going to Buddakan and renting out the middle table,” she says. “I’m taking my bridesmaids and everyone who’s helped me through this, as a thank-you and a way to celebrate my new life.”

“I definitely felt like there was no stigma to my getting divorced; it seemed almost trendy,” says one divorced man in Blue Bell. This may be partly thanks to that volcano of Hollywood divorces — Britney and K-Fed, Reese and Ryan, Kate Hudson and that rocker guy, Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock, even a sad-eyed, 64-year-old Paul McCartney. In our town, of late there’s been Fox 29’s Kerri-Lee Halkett, banking power couple Marla and Richard Green, tech entrepreneur Pete Musser, and Ballard Spahr chairman Arthur Makadon. Hopefully, they’ve all got their experts lined up. Because no matter how rich or beautiful one might be, or how commonplace divorce has become, the event is devastating. “I will never get over it,” one woman mourned to us. Adds legendary Schnader Harrison attorney Al Momjian: “Divorce is hell.”