WSJ: How to Plan for a Divorce


The Wall Street Journal: How to Plan for a Divorce

The Wall Street Journal: How to Plan for a Divorce

Now that the vacation suitcases are put away and the children are back in school, it may be time to start planning for something that you may have been putting off—a divorce.  

Divorce is a huge step and not one to be taken lightly due in part to its enormous emotional and financial ramifications. But as the economy continues to improve, more couples who have postponed their divorces are likely to pursue them.

National U.S. divorce statics are pretty lousy. There is no reliable central database and some states, most notably California, don’t even count the number of divorces annually…

…Create a record of all valuables such as jewelry, art and collectibles, says Nicole Feuer, a divorce mediator in Westport, Conn. “Take photos, as sometimes these items can ‘disappear’ in a divorce,” she says…


By Veronica Dagher | @VeronicaDagher | September 6, 2014







Time Magazine: Sign of the Times: ‘Divorce Expo’ Debuts in New York

Time Magazine: Sign of the Times: ‘Divorce Expo’ Debuts in New York

Wedding expos are so last decade. Enter the divorce expo.  It’s time to forget the white tulle organza and pink gardenias; for this demographic, that ship has sailed. Beginning at $75 a person, New Yorkers got the opportunity to attend “Start Over Smart: A Modern Divorce Expo” this past weekend.  

There, more than 100 vendors offered tips on all the nasty bits on what one can expect to go through during a divorce. Life coaches, financial planners, family counselors and even hairstylists were all part of exhibitions to help new divorcees field the brave, new life of singledom.

It all came together through the efforts of mother-daughter team, Francine Baras and Nicole Baras-Feuer. Inspired by an expo they attended in Paris, they decided to bring the idea to the Big Apple. According to the New York Times, both know the harsh realities of divorce: Baras’ parents divorced when she was a young child, and Baras-Feuer recently went through the process herself.

For attendees like Jeff Morris, it was an opportunity on how to seek legal counsel and how to move forward with his own divorce. “I knew I needed to delve into the process of getting a divorce instead of saying, ‘Wait, maybe things’ll change,” he told the New York Daily News.

Baras wanted to frame the often-stigmatizing life event positively, adding that “…although [divorce is a] difficult and a big transition for most people, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a post-divorce life.”

By Erica Ho | @ericamho | April 2, 2012






CNBC: One-Stop Shopping for Divorce: From Lawyers to Matchmakers

CNBC: One-Stop Shopping for Divorce: From Lawyers to Matchmakers

In the same way that brides consult 1,000 people along their path to bliss, from cake makers to DJs, divorcing couples have a ton of people to meet as they disembark from their marital joy ride.

Enter “Start Over Smart,” a divorce expo that took place in New York City over the weekend. It was a lot like a bridal expo — only with less cake and more lawyers.

The expo was the brainchild of Francine Baras and Nicole Baras Feuer, a mother-daughter team who have both been touched by divorce. Baras was the child of divorce at a time when it was really a scarlet letter, even for the children. Some of the other children weren’t allowed to play with her. She is now a child and family therapist. Baras Feuer is a professional mediator who herself has been through divorce.

“Bridal magazines are all over the place. There’s no divorce magazine, no divorce community, so a lot of people just rely on information from their attorney,” Baras Feuer said. She and her mom had already started writing a book to help guide divorcees through the process when they heard about a divorce expo in Paris. They spoke with their publisher and realized starting an expo here in the U.S. made sense — to gather even more information before they wrote their book.

The divorce expo was a two-day affair that included a wide variety of panel discussions, from guidelines for parents and divorce for Baby Boomers to how to get back in the dating game and sex after divorce.

(Hey, now don’t get squeamish on me — If you’ve been with the same person for five, 10 or 20 years, you’re going to need a few tips. Your waistline is different now, your hairline is different, your dating pool is different — and dating is different.)

There were about 40 exhibitors that ran the gamut, including lawyers, financial advisers, therapists, life coaches, dieticians, anti-aging companies, a hair stylist to the stars, a matchmaker and even a woman who will help you investigate a future date.

Morgan Stanley had a booth, with a glossy brochure that said, “Weathering Divorce,” as did a woman who, for $500, will hold a “divorce ceremony,” where you write words that remind you of your ex on a piece of paper and then burn them to help you move on.

“People often don’t know the questions to ask about finances when they get a divorce,” said Mark Seruya, financial advisor with Morgan Stanley. “People wind up getting referrals from parents or friends. Your father’s financial adviser might not be the right fit,” he said. “It’s a fragmented market. We want to be one of the go-to teams in the divorce industry.”

Evidence that people really don’t know the right questions to ask a financial adviser: Seruya said one of the strangest questions he got all day was, “Can you hire a detective to scour my ex’s emails?”

Indeed, you can hire a detective to investigate your ex or or your future date — for instance, someone like Maria Coder of InvestiDate, who also had a booth there — but Seruya clarified that you don’t need to go through Morgan Stanley to do it!

And guys, if you’re wondering where all the single ladies are, we found ‘em — the Divorce Expo was a total cougar party! The breakdown was about 70 percent female to 30 percent male. Even the panel discussion, “Getting to the Other Side of Divorce: For Men,” had more women than men attending. And, c’mon, that makes sense: Ladies, not men, stop and ask for directions when they’re driving — divorce is no exception! Divorce is a lot harder than, say, going camping.

Just before that panel for men started, a woman in flowing black pants and a rhinestone belt reached across the aisle, smiled demurely, and handed a man her card.

A second marriage in progress?

Nope — she was a lawyer looking for business in the man panel.

Having all those lawyers around all these vulnerable people/potential clients made for an interesting mix.   In the panel discussion, “Litigation, Mediation & Collaborative Divorce,” the litigator introduced herself by saying, “I’m not the wicked witch of the West!” catching the audience off guard. Even the former family court judge moderating that panel, after hearing “threat of court” one too many times, eventually said, “I’m dismayed to think for 23 years I was a threat not a promise … I don’t want to leave you with the impression there’s an ogre under the black robe!”

Cougars, witches and ogres … oh my!   That panel alone, which felt at times like a simulated divorce court, was evidence of how tough divorce can be and why there is big demand for an expo like this.

“Getting divorced is much harder than getting married,” Baras Feuer said. “When you’re getting married, you have so much love and attention around you — and people know what to say,” she said. “ Getting divorced can be very isolating.”   She said as soon as she started telling people about her own divorce, she became the go-to person for relationship and divorce advice.   “I became the Dear Abby of divorce!” she quipped.

To be clear, Baras Feuer said, they’re not advocating divorce — they’re simply offering information under one roof because so much of it can be confusing.   “We provide all the resources, information and support you need for  going through your divorce and creating your post-divorce family, your post-divorce life,” she said.   The event was such a hit, they hope to replicate it in other cities.   “If you know the right way to get divorced it can be not so bad,” she said.

Indeed, while some of the raw emotion of divorce was palpable, there were some moments of levity. Matchmaker Amy Laurent opened her presentation about getting back into the dating scene with Cee-Lo Greene’s “Forget You!” blasting, and offered some amusing tips, including, “You want to know where all the eligible men are? Get off your couch. They’re not circling your apartment!” Afterwards, she hosted a cocktail party to help people mingle.  Jewelry maker Kimberly Pauley, sitting between booths for the hairstylist to the stars and Ageloc anti-aging treatments and antioxidant supplements, makes necklaces and rings with fun sayings on them. For the expo, she created a special band that said, “Trade Up” — yep, to replace your wedding band!

And the mediator in the “Litigation, Mediation & Collaborative Divorce” panel offered this joke:   In a radio conversation between a U.S. Naval ship and Canadians, the Canadians say please divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision. The ship replies, please divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision. They keep trading commands like this. As the tension escalates, someone from the ship yells, “This is a U.S. aircraft carrier, divert your course!” The Canadians reply, “This is a lighthouse — your call.”  Yep, that pretty much sums up divorce!

Published: Monday, 2 Apr 2012 | 3:32 PM ET By: Cindy Perman Staff Writer







Self Magazine: New York City’s First Divorce Expo: 3 Ways to ‘Start Over Smart’

Self Magazine: New York City’s First Divorce Expo: 3 Ways to ‘Start Over Smart

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes … well, sometimes the happy ending you had in mind doesn’t quite work out. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t life after divorce, or that it can’t be a step to another, truly happy ending.

This weekend in New York, several thousand people are expended to attend the city’s first Divorce Expo. Taking place at the Metropolitan Pavilion on March 31 and April 1, “Start Over Smart” aims to help those contemplating or going through divorce by giving them the information and answers they need. The Expo also intends to provide inspirational ideas about how life can begin anew after a split.

Presenting experts include everyone from lawyers and therapists to style advisers, plus some big names like New York Times best-selling author and life coach Cheryl Richardson and TODAY show Financial Editor and Adviser Jean Chatzky. And yes, on Saturday night, there will be mixer for attendees.

The Expo is the brainchild of the mother-daughter team of Francine Baras (a clinical social worker with an advanced degree in child psychiatry and parent guidance) and Nicole Baras Feuer (a divorce and family mediator). “As trained divorce mediators, we saw a need to help people gather correct information when going through a divorce,” Baras told HealthySELF. “There is so much overwhelming information and a lot of it is not accurate.”

Baras and her daughter were writing a simple how-to-get-divorced guide when they heard about a divorce expo in France. “We flew to Paris, spent two days with the expo organizers and we were sold,” she says.

Who should attend? “Men and women who are thinking about a divorce, going through a divorce or who have just completed the process,” says Baras Feuer. “There is something for anyone, in all stages of the divorce process.”

What can you expect at Start Over Smart? According to Baras Feuer, each of the approximately 100 speakers and exhibitors has been curated by the founders and an advisory board. “The Expo will represent four pillars,” she explains, “building a community, keeping the cost of a divorce down, minimizing the impact of a divorce on your children and reinventing oneself.”

There will be several featured workshops and panel discussions throughout the weekend targeted to crucial divorce-related topics, including Top 10 Parenting Mistakes, Same Sex Divorce, Reinventing Your Style, Be Your Own Handyman, Blending Families & Co-Parenting With Your Ex, plus book signings, makeovers, dating advice and career counseling.

Above all, Expo founder Baras says she hopes people come away from the event armed with information and a brighter outlook. “Less anxiety, a clearer understanding of their options, help with their finances, help with their children and a connection with others who are experiencing the same things,” she says.

Speaking of finances, one of the Expo’s presenters, Lili A. Vasileff, CFP, CDFA, president of the National Association of Divorce Financial Planners and co-author of Ultimate Divorce Organizer: The Complete, Interactive Guide to Achieving the Best Legal, Financial and Personal Divorce, says money is one of the things people worry about the most when it comes to divorce. According to Vasileff, the biggest mistake you can make in a divorce is letting your emotions drive your financial decisions.

Here are 3 of her top financial tips for being smart about your start-over:

1. You are your own best advocate. No one, not even your attorney, understands your needs or goals better than you. Do not let someone else make your decisions without you understanding them.

2. Remember, your attorney is a legal expert, not a financial expert.

3. Three things that people often fail to do, but must: Examine your long-term financial projections, develop a post-divorce financial plan and insure your divorce settlement.   And remember … you will have another shot at your happy ending!

Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM posted by April Daniels Hussar







NewsDay: Divorce Expo Is In Town

NewsDay: Divorce Expo Is In Town

“The breakup of a marriage signals the end of one phase of life but can mean a new, empowering beginning,” said Francine Baras, who has helped organize the city’s first divorce expo this weekend in Manhattan.

The often adversarial nature of divorce does not have to be, said Baras, who runs the website, Start Over Smart, which is sponsoring the event at the Metropolitan Pavilion.

Divorce can be a simple, manageable process, she said, even a stepping-stone to a brighter future. It doesn’t have to be a knock-down, drag-out “war of the Roses” –style free-for-all with expensive lawyers lining their pockets, she said.

“We shouldn’t rely on an attorney to get us through a divorce anymore,” said Baras, a family social worker, who organized the expo with her daughter Nicole Baras Feuer, a divorce family mediator from Westport, Conn. “This will be a one-stop shopping.”

The exhibition, which costs $75 for Saturday and $125 for the weekend, will include 100 experts on hand to discuss aspects of divorce such as getting a fair share of the finances; mediation instead of the courtroom; keeping divorce stress free for parents and children, and helping divorced singles get back into the dating pool, Baras said.

Randi Lambert, 43, of Manhattan, is preparing to sign off on her divorce and said the expo will help her “make sure that I am making an educated decision and that my settlement is in the best interest of me and my kids.”

Besides the professional expertise offered at the expo, there will also be panel discussions where divorced men and women will share their personal stories.

“I don’t have a PhD doctorate, but I have a story,” said single father and blogger Kyle Bradford, an Atlanta banker, who will be a panelist discussing his life as a divorced father who helps raise his children with his ex-spouse.

“I got divorced, but I didn’t run. I stuck it out and I do my share. I believe that a divorced father can be a great father,” said Bradford, who writes on a website about single-father parenting with the premise: “Live up to your responsibilities.”

“There will also be a panel discussion for baby boomers going through a divorce after several decades of marriage.

“This is becoming a real issue,” Baras said. “People are living longer and are finding themselves facing a new future now that their children are grown.”

Organizer: It’s one-stop shopping if you are ending your marriage By Maria Alvarez March 30, 2012







NY1: Divorce Expo Aims To Help NYers Start Over With Good Advice

Divorce Expo Aims To Help NYers Start Over With Good Advice

A unique event this weekend in Manhattan is helping New Yorkers deal with the often painful and confusing process of divorce.

Start Over Smart in Chelsea is billed as the city’s first-ever divorce expo.

The event is billed as a way to help people, including those in the gay community, to get through a divorce and jump-start a new life.

“They don’t have the information. Just like a lot of people don’t have the information,” said David Bowen of Start Over Smart.

“I came to hear what the experts had to say about how to best raise a child in a divorce situation and how to give our children the best care and love we can,” said attendee Annette Powers.

The expo was founded by a mother/daughter team of divorce mediators who say people often feel alone during the transition process.

“They don’t feel like there is a caring community of professionals,” said Start Over Smart Co-founder Francine Baras.   “The information out there is scattered and overwhelming,” Start Over Smart Co-founder Nicole Feuer.

While there was a large turnout Saturday, most of the attendees were women. Some experts say more men need to take advantage of available resources.

“I would love to see more of them here because I think they need it more than anyone else, especially divorced fathers,” said expo speaker Kyle Bradford.   The expo runs until 6 p.m. Sunday at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street.

By: Ruschell Boone 04/01/2012 11:44 AM






Crain's New York Business: Divorce expo says ‘I do’ to the city

Crain’s New York Business: Divorce expo says ‘I do’ to the city

New York is probably home to more divorce lawyers, couples counselors and cheating spouses than any place on earth—except perhaps Los Angeles. Soon, New York will host its first-ever divorce trade show, catching up to cities from Detroit to Paris that have already pulled together the denizens of heartache to hawk their services.

Start Over Smart: A Modern Divorce Expo will take place March 31 and April 1 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. The event, organized by mother-daughter team Francine Baras and Nicole Baras Feuer, aims to educate New Yorkers “on how to have a successful divorce,” said Ms. Baras, a clinical social worker whose parents divorced. “It will bring thousands of people together who are going through the same experience.” About half of all marriages end in divorce.

Start Over Smart attendees will have access to some 50 exhibitors, including therapists, plastic surgeons and hairstylists. There will even be a mixer for those seeking new romance. Speakers include celebrity financial adviser Jean Chatzky and best-selling author and life coach Cheryl Richardson.

“We want people to know there are so many options, from do-it-yourself divorces to mediation and collaboration,” and Ms. Feuer, herself a divorce mediator whose marriage ended two years ago.

A gathering of divorce lawyers, plastic surgeons and the star-crossed will take place from March 31 to April 1.   by Lisa Fickenscher January 30, 2012







The Village Voice: Divorcing? NYC Plays Host to Divorce Expo This Weekend

The Village Voice: Divorcing?

The phrase “divorce expo” sounds like something out of the 1939 film The Women, which depicts women traveling to Reno to extricate themselves from their marital unions. But that is what New York is playing host to this weekend with “Start Over Smart: A Modern Divorce Expo,” taking place at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street today and tomorrow. While this event is not about skirting the strict divorce laws of yore à la Betty Draper, according to the expo’s founders, it does attempt to make the process of divorce easier for both women and men.

The founders, mother and daughter Francine Baras and Nicole Baras Feuer, describe their endeavor as a “holistic” way of looking at divorce, and the counsel dolled out at the event ranges from tips on finance to fashion advice. Exhibitors include law firms, a matchmaker, a hairstylist, Beaches Resorts and Macy’s. Tonight, there is a mixer.

“We’re trying to build a divorce community so people can come and meet each other and help each other through this,” Nicole told Runnin’ Scared in a phone interview today.   Divorce, her mother Francine said, is “still in the closet,” she said, adding: “The culture needs to open up to people that are divorced, or are divorcing or are post-divorce.”

A statement on the expo’s website explains:   We are on a mission to empower women and men who are going through the stages of divorce to change their lives for the better, keep the costs of their divorce down, and to manage and guide their children successfully through the divorce process. There is a great deal of information out there and some if it very valuable. However, we believe our audience could benefit from a trusted resource that puts a friendly and positive face to the divorce process by building a community, where people can interact, learn, and even have some fun.

Both mother and daughter are divorce mediators, and got the idea for the expo when writing a book on divorce. They heard about a similar event in Paris, went, and were inspired to start planning their own event in the states.

“This is a place that divorce comes alive for people,” Francine said.   (Nicole explained that there have been small divorce expos in the States.)  And, on a certain level, the expo is personal: Nicole recently went through her own divorce, wherein she realized that the experience “really affects every aspect of your life.”

“This is her wishlist of what she would have wished to have,” her mother said.

By Esther Zuckerman Sat., Mar. 31 2012 at 1:12 PM







The Wall Street Journal: Divorce Enters Expo Age

Divorce Enters Expo Age

This weekend’s event at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea won’t feature wedding-dress designs, sample bouquets or cakes. Instead, attendees can expect panels and seminars with such titles as “Moving on After Infidelity,” “Into the Fog—Becoming a Single Dad and a Single Dude Again” and “Parenting Through Divorce.”

The founders of what is believed to be the region’s first comprehensive divorce expo hope it will become an annual event, and something they can eventually take on the road.

“Divorce is so hard and overwhelming because it touches on every aspect of your life,” said Nicole Baras Feuer, a divorce mediator and divorcee, who organized the event with her mother, also a mediator.

“I think a lot of people are looking for something to find answers,” added the 42-year-old. “I do think there is a need for this.”   Ms. Baras Feuer acknowledged that there might be skepticism or resistance to the idea at first. But the expo, she said, is not about promoting divorce or serving as a mixer for people to meet potential partners. Rather, it’s about building a community.

“There’s never been before a building of the divorce community,” she said. “Even after divorce, people need a network of continued support to help them transition into their new, post-divorce life.”

The event, titled “Start Over Smart: A Modern Divorce Expo,” ranges from the serious to the less so. Those manning booths and speaking on panels will include financial planners and attorneys, matchmakers and dating coaches, as well as celebrity hair stylist Sally Hershberger, who will set up a mini-salon on the expo floor.

Ms. Baras Feuer and her mother, Francine, said they got the idea for the expo after attending one in Paris a couple of years ago. Other similar events have taken place elsewhere in Europe, and just last weekend one was held in Michigan.

“We really feel this is a very important social message,” said Ms. Baras, who is 70. “It’s almost a movement message. Divorce is kind of coming out of the closet.”   Experts in the field say that over the course of a lifetime nearly half of marriages will end in divorce. But they caution that contrary to popular belief, the divorce rate has held steady, or slightly declined, over the past two decades. “People think we have this increasing divorce rate but really it’s a high and stable rate,” said Susan Brown, a sociology professor at Bowling Green State University.

Ms. Brown said she recently got notice that a divorce and renewal spa boot camp for women will be taking place in Connecticut next month.   “We’ve seen the emergence of a wedding industrial complex and this does appear to be evidence of the commodification of divorce,” she said, adding that it seems to align itself with the self-help movement.

Critics say the expo is counterproductive. “We hardly need to promote divorce,” said Mike McManus, who founded a Maryland-based group, Marriage Savers, which works with churches in different cities to reduce divorce.   “A divorce expo is just laughable to me,” he added. “What we need are better ways to help couples restore marriages.”

“The idea of a divorce expo suggests a transition from treating divorce as a legal procedure to treating it as an industry,” said Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, a conservative-leaning nonprofit. “I think that’s rather unfortunate that there would be an industry that arises around this type of procedure.”   But others disagree. Randi Lambert, a 43-year-old Upper East Side mother, is planning to attend this weekend’s event.   Ms. Lambert is in the process of finalizing her divorce and said she adjourned her court date until after the expo so she could be more informed.

“It appealed to me on every level,” she said. “On the one hand, it’s informative, financially and legally.” Also appealing, she said, is the idea of networking with other single parents. “The social aspect of being part of, instead of being excluded, or a stereotype,” she said. “Divorced, you know the stigma.”

Erika Miller, a 38-year-old Westport mother, was divorced from her husband of seven years a year ago. Ms. Miller said she was hoping to get expertise on how to manage her relationship with her ex-husband to create a healthy environment for their children.

She’s also hoping to “get back in touch” with her pre-marriage identity, as well as obtain information on re-entering the work and dating scene as a newly single person. “I think it’s really helpful to surround yourself with people in the same situation and learn from their experience,” she said. “It definitely allows you to know that you’re not alone.”

By Sumathi Reddy March 28, 2012, 9:36 p.m. ET







Bloomberg Business Week: Q&A: ‘Divorce Expo’ Founders Discuss the Right Way to Break Up

The mother and daughter team behind “Start Over Smart: A Modern Divorce Expo” 

In 2010, two American women—Francine Baras, a 70-year-old therapist, and her daughter, Nicole Baras Feuer, a 42-year-old mediator—traveled to Paris to investigate a distinctly unromantic institution: the divorce expo. What they discovered was a vast, one-stop shop for learning how to navigate the ugliest of legal and emotional terrains, with emphasis on how to drive down the cost of divorce, how to soften its impact in all corners of your life, and how to move on. Inspired by what they saw, they decided to found its American counterpart.

A year and a half later, “Start Over Smart: A Modern Divorce Expo” is set to debut in March in New York City, where an array of panelists—from lawyers to plastic surgeons—will dispense advice. (Much of it will be focused on getting people back into the dating scene.) Bloomberg Businessweek caught up with Start Over Smart’s co-founders to learn more.

Do you consider yourselves divorce entrepreneurs?

Nicole Baras Feuer: Absolutely. I was in the store this morning, and I happened to be walking by the magazine section. And I saw a whole slew of bridal magazines, and I was thinking, You know, there needs to be an outlet like that for divorce. There is no divorce magazine, and I think that’s how we’re seeing the expo. There are tons of things out there in every area, like bridal, and we wanted to get everything that goes with divorce under one roof. So yeah, we feel like we’re taking all of the resources out there for people going through divorce and starting over, and bringing it to them under one roof.

Do you guys believe in love?  

Francine Baras: Absolutely, we believe in starting over. The concept is about the facts you need to know to get through divorce. You need to know facts about your children. You need to know about your finances. You need to build your own community of people. Love is part of this. The second part of the expo is about how to date, how to be seductive, let us start your life over.

Nicole: Part of the expo is about how to get the right divorce for you. What process. What planner. A big part of the expo is about how to get back into the dating world. There are many speakers on that topic. I myself am a divorcée. And I very much believe that there is more love out there.

What’s the biggest difficulty you’ve encountered?

Nicole: Really none at all. It’s taken us a year and a half. From the get-go, people have been so excited to be on board. There were some people at the beginning who were uncomfortable with the idea of a divorce expo, but I have to say, that was very much the minority.

Francine: You have to remember that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Most of the people we’re talking to have been divorced, and they wish that they had something like this when they were going through their own. There are a lot of people with a lot of empathy for this kind of thing.

What’s the most common screwup that people going through a divorce make?  

Nicole: The biggest error is not concentrating on your children. People look back and wish they knew how to tell their children and how to get them through this process. There are three different ways for people to get divorced, but people often think of only litigation. Collaborative law and mediation are also out there, and we’re going to be explaining those options. People spend too much money on their divorce.

One can expect to hear about the financials and the psychology. But what are some of the more unexpected things they can learn at this convention? For instance: What can they learn from laser cosmetics?  

Nicole: We have a whole beauty section. Part of getting divorced and starting over is wanting to transform yourself—to feel better and look better. We really are taking a holistic approach to this. It’s very important that you feel your best when you get back into the dating world. People want those tips. About hairstyles and clothes, especially if they haven’t been shopping. We’ll have Macy’s there to talk about dating clothes and work clothes for women going back to work. It’s not that we’re promoting laser surgery, but we’re giving people all of the options that can make them feel better.

I see there’s an LGBT panel on the schedule. Are you seeing a lot of gay divorces?  

Nicole: I don’t think we’ve seen a rise in them yet, but we will. We want to show people their options and what it would look like. The rules and laws around same-sex divorce are very, very complicated. We want to have it there for people who want that information. We didn’t want to forget about that.

What’s the next step for you guys in building the divorce brand?

Nicole: We hope that New York will be an annual event, and not only do we want to have expos across the country and in all the large cities, but we hope our website will be an online resource for people who want this information. We want people to feel comfortable with good, quality professionals, because there are a lot of bad ones out there.

You could expand to cruises.  

Nicole: You’re right! The options are endless. We wanted to start with this one and see how it goes. We’re expecting there to be a huge turnout, and we’ll see. We have a lot of options.

By Keenan Mayo February 23, 2012






NY Daily News: Hundreds stop by NYC’s first-ever ‘Divorce Expo’ for seminars, exhibits

Mom and daughter duo Francine Baras and Nicole Feuer brought event to Chelsea  

Divorced New Yorkers by the hundreds descended onto a Chelsea expo Sunday for a one-stop shop selling all things ex.

At “Start Over Smart: A Modern Divorce Expo,” which ended Sunday after a two day run, vendors and exhibitors offered tips on parenting through a divorce, tools to background check online dates and even “divorce rings” with inspirational messages.

Attendees at the Metropolitan Pavilion event browsed nearly 100 stands, including divorce attorneys and mediators as well as financial planners, hair stylists and life coaches.

Jeff Morris, 45, of Commack, Long Island, said he came to get information on how to move forward with his divorce and custody proceedings.

“I knew I needed to delve into the process of getting a divorce instead of saying, ‘Wait, maybe things’ll change,” Morris said. “Right now, I’m mainly here for advice, and maybe get some help.”

Mother and daughter co-founders Francine Baras and Nicole Feuer said they were inspired to bring a divorce expo to New York after visiting one in Paris. Feuer said the expos help people find support and feel better during a difficult time.   “(Divorce is) a nightmare,” Feuer said. “We’re here to say you can turn it into a positive experience for you, for your children.”

During a seminar on how to help children survive a divorce, Drs Jonah Schrag and Allison Bell urged parents not to demean the other parent in front of kids.

“Have a place for conflict, but not where children are party to it,” Dr. Bell said.   Their advice struck a chord for Robyn Rock, 45, of Westchester, who is in the midst of a divorce and said the talk got her “thinking how this affects my daughter. It’s really relevant to a lot of people.”

Downstairs, jeweler Kimberly Pauley hawked $8 to $58 divorce rings with messages like, “Trade Up,” and “Rock Your New Body,” at her stall.

“People have been having fun with them,” she said.

During Sunday’s expo, celebrity hairstylist Sally Hershberger offered makeovers and styling tips to people getting back into the dating scene.

“I love a makeover,” Harshbarger said. “So many people come to me to feel better. I am a firm believer if you look good, you’ll feel good.”

By Jennifer Cunningham / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS   Sunday, April 1, 2012, 4:36 PM






CBS New York: New York City’s first-ever Divorce Expo

New York City’s first-ever divorce expo called “Start Over Smart” is being held this weekend at the Metropolitan Pavilion.

Co-founder Nicole Baras Feuer calls the event ”one-stop shopping” to learn how to divorce with the best possible outcome.

“We have topics that will cover everything from children to career to financial advice,” said Baras Feuer, a professional divorce mediator who a year ago, ended her marriage to her high school sweetheart.

“It was a definitely a difficult divorce process for me and my ex, but we’ve come through it really well and our kids are doing great,” she said.

“I was really devoted to helping both my daughter and my son-in-law to do the right thing with their children and they have,” said Baras Feuer’s mother Francine Baras, a family therapist who helped her daughter organize the event.

Various exhibits will help people sort through recommended divorce attorneys, therapists and financial planners. There will be free makeovers and dating advice, personal shoppers, hairstylists and matchmakers.

An evening “mixer” will allow divorcees to socialize and perhaps meet someone new.   Baras Feuer says the purpose is to help people get their lives back on track with as little pain as possible.

“It’s such a stressful situation and stress clouds people’s judgement and decision-making,” she said.   Her mother says they are hoping to show people who there really is a life after divorce.

“I think this expo will make people less anxious about their choices and the options for their lives,” said Baras. “I think we’re here to give people the knowledge to get through their divorce and move forward with their lives.”

Divorce expos have been held in other cities, but this is billed as the first for New York.

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports






Today Relationships: First divorce expo in U.S. aims to ‘empower’ attendees

Exhibitors will showcase services to help people dealing with the divorce process 

Bridal expos have long provided attendees with knowledge about what’s hot for the wedding process; but what’s out there for those dealing with the harrowing situation of divorce?

The “Start Over Smart” expo, the first divorce expo in the U.S., promises to put a friendly face on the process. The two-day event, held in New York City this weekend, will draw industry professionals together to offer information and services to those going through a divorce.

Francine Baras and her daughter Nicole Baras Feuer are launching “Start Over Smart” with hopes that it will be a hit and enable them to host the event in other cities. And with half of all marriages in the U.S. ending in divorce, there’s a need for this expo, the pair tell TODAY’s Amy Robach in a segment that aired Friday.

“Divorce is still in the closet,” said Baras. “We think we talk about it, but when you’re facing it yourself, you are facing it alone.”

Cities throughout Europe have been putting on such expos for years, and Baras and Feuer were actually inspired to bring the event to the U.S. after heading to one in Paris. “[We] fell in love with the idea,” Baras said.

The mother-daughter team brings relevant experience to the table. Baras is married and a family therapist. Feuer, a recent divorcée and single mom, is a divorce mediator. Calling her own divorce “isolating,” she set out to put everything into the expo that she wished she’d had when she was going through her divorce.

The event, which costs $75 for a one-day ticket and $125 for both days, includes over 100 professionals that deal with divorce, with vendors hawking everything that one would expect, like counseling, legal services and financial expertise (TODAY money expert Jean Chatzky is a keynote speaker at the event). More surprising exhibitors include a business that arranges ceremonies providing reconciliation for couples embroiled in divorce proceedings, plastic surgery professionals, a matchmaker and beauty experts.

“Besides having all this information that’s very important to demystify divorce,” Baras said, “we have the other side…how to put your makeup on again; how to feel sexual, how to start dating.”

Randi Lambert, a mother of two, is ending a 14-year marriage and says she plans to attend the expo.

“I want to make sure I know anything and everything,” she said. “[So} I won’t have to look back and say I should’ve, I could’ve.”

Baras and Feuer say they’re not proponents of divorce; instead, they are in the business of supporting the people going through the process. Feuer calls the expo “empowering and uplifting,” and says that people shouldn’t look at divorce as something negative, but as a necessary transition in people’s lives when the dream of happily ever after doesn’t quite last for forever. contributor Jillian Eugenios doesn’t think anything should live in the closet that doesn’t belong, like skeletons, divorce and those white platform boots she bought on a whim.

By Jillian Eugenios contributor updated 3/30/2012