On Valentine's Day, you might be psyched to win a free bouquet of roses for your sweetheart, free candy to indulge your sweet tooth, or a free massage for a sweet and sensual treat ... NOT a a free divorce! Then again, maybe some people need that more than anything else ...? That's what one Michigan-based lawyer seems to be thinking.
Walter H. Bentley III is running a contest on his website, and will help whichever man or woman tells "the most compelling and convincing story" of why he or she needs to a freebie divorce. Bentley says an example of a "convincing story" might be that somebody was diagnosed with cancer, and as a result, their spouse wants to split. (Ugh??!) Or maybe a foreclosure has wrecked a marriage AND their bank account? Yeesh ... In other words, as Bentley puts it, "someone truly struggling to move forward."
There are some parameters of the contest. For instance, the divorce will only be free if it's uncontested and involves "no or minimum child custody," and only a Michigan resident can win.
Oooof. Could this offer BE more depressing?! Well, then again, maybe it is actually one of the most kind-hearted Valentine's Day gift a divorce lawyer could anyone. Come to think of it, there should be more pro bono divorce work! I would guess the entire process of hiring a lawyer and filing for divorce - even when it's an uncontested, cut and dry case - can cost a pretty penny. Which of course adds even MORE stress to an already emotionally-draining situation. Not to mention that there are definitely many miserable couples who are only staying together, cuz they can't afford not to. Horrible.
BUT if they could win this contest and benefit from Bentley's charity, maybe they'd be free to move forward and eventually begin a happy, lasting relationship. As Bentley told ABC News, "You can't find a new love before you close the chapter on the old." Very true. Aww! See -- it actually is a warm and fuzzy V-Day gift if you think about it!
The contest closes at 11:59 p.m. tonight, and almost 500 people have applied so far. Bentley will choose the winner with the help of his colleagues, and he estimates the prize is worth $1,500 to $3,000. May the unhappiest couple win!
What do you make of this contest? Do you think it's depressing or could be seen as surprisingly uplifting?