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

No wonder DivorceDoneRight founder Ostroff saw potential in helping couples wade through the wreckage of their marriages in a less contentious way, at a cost of $300 per hour — less expensive than many lawyers, and shared by both parties. Making a split final is so painful that there’s a new mini-trend: the “non-divorce,” when couples decide to stay unhappily together, since they can’t face dividing a household and figuring out new health insurance, or the unhappy reality of custody negotiations. Some agree to open marriages, and ink post-nups to hash out the details.

Which brings us back to the star, the lead player, of any divorce posse: the lawyer. Even if you hammer out a settlement fairly amicably, divorce is the Russian nesting dolls of legal entanglements. You keep opening one, and a smaller, more annoying issue is revealed inside it.

“We also had to get our lawyers to revise our wills and trusts,” says the recently divorced Square woman, who’s just hired a second attorney to renegotiate her settlement. In the meantime, she’s plumping up her alimony by selling the occasional rock via private jeweler Craig Drake. One can also utilize a new business started by Glenn Fisher, who was personal assistant to three Rittenhouse Square families over the past decade; now a freelance assistant-for-hire (at a rate of $50 per hour), Fisher also aids people in their upscale fire sales. “In a situation where women want to liquidate some assets and remain anonymous — you know Philadelphia, it’s a fishbowl — I’m helping them with that,” he says.

Getting rid of stuff is always cathartic, and in Philly, many do it at Freeman’s, à la Hilary Musser, who held a much-talked-about sale of her couture clothes before she jetted off to Palm Beach following her split from tech guru Pete. Musser never lent her name to the auction, but word got out that she was the Chanel-wearing gal in question, who had shed tons of weight in the months before the auction and no longer could wear her larger couture items. It was a more subtle approach than last fall’s Ellen Barkin $20 Million Fuck-You Jewelry Auction at Christie’s, at which Barkin sold the jewelry Ron Perelman had given her. Barkin no doubt realized what a lot of Philly women already know: No guy wants to hit on you at Tír na Nóg (where, according to our recent calculations, there are at least 14 men for every woman), or even Brasserie Perrier, if you’re still wearing diamonds from your ex.

THE AMAZING THING is that most ex-spouses recover from divorce. Not to say that the first year or two of separation and divorce aren’t heartbreaking, which is why having a group of experts to come in and pay attention to your hair, body, psyche and sofas might keep your mind off the pain for a while and, over time, truly make you feel better. So much better, in fact, that you might even find yourself in love again, and getting remarried.

But on this wintry evening at DivorceDoneRight, Alison and Adam both acknowledge that splitting up was way more complicated than they had originally expected. “You see movie stars, and then two minutes later, they’re divorced,” says Alison. “Next time around, prenup,” grumbles Adam. Just then, the guy who’s now making a living helping them negotiate divorce, Jon Ostroff, mentions casually that he got married for a second time last month — without a prenup. Lovestruck, he still believes in marriage for the long haul, in the dream of happiness. He grins at his clients in a sweet, honeymoon-ish way as he reveals this, and any notion that he himself could one day need an entourage seems impossible.

Alison and Adam both stare at him and wait a beat, momentarily speechless.

“You’re a dummy,” says Alison.