How a ‘divorce retreat’ can help navigate marriage breakdown

The end of a marriage is never easy, but could a divorce retreat help prepare you for an amicable split?

While most marriages start with dreams of “happily ever after”, when the sparkle wanes and everyday pressures take effect, the risk of a relationship breakdown becomes very real.

Federal Circuit and Family Court statistics show a record 49,625 couples in Australia filed for divorce during 2020/21.

Family lawyer Cassandra Kalpaxis says separating from your partner doesn’t have to be an acrimonious, difficult experience.

Cassandra, founder of Detox Your Divorce, is reshaping the way recently separated women think about divorce with her two-day retreat.

What exactly is a divorce retreat?

Forget divorce parties — in post-Covid times where wellness and self-care are key, divorce retreats are booming.

For Detox Your Divorce participants, that means a weekend in luxurious surroundings spent recharging, reconnecting and learning how to navigate your separation from industry experts (with room service and a minibar thrown in).

“A divorce retreat is a period of time where women can hit optimal wellness, learn from the experts in the space, and also have a weekend where they can be with like-minded people in a non-judgemental environment,” Cassandra says.

“And no, it’s not just a room full of lawyers; we have naturopaths, mediators, barristers, yoga practitioners, psychologists, dispute resolution experts — all amazing professionals.”

Cassandra says the idea for a divorce retreat came about after she became “incredibly jaded” by the “lack of treating all the issues” that women face when going through a separation.

You don’t have to go it alone

“A divorce can be lonely and frustrating, and many of my clients are women who are time pressed and cash poor; having to make appointments to go and see 12 different professionals isn’t achievable,” Cassandra explains.

“I had the idea of bringing women together to learn the strategies they need to triage their divorce and know their options without spending thousands of dollars in court.

“Many come out with lifelong friends and a whole new community of support.”

Relationship coach Debbie Rivers from Dare2Date, herself a divorcee, says many of her clients still carry baggage and engage in self-sabotage even years after a break-up.

“I like the idea that women going through divorce can potentially save themselves a world of pain and realise that they haven’t failed just because their marriage has failed, and that they’re supported by others going through a similar journey,” Debbie says.

“While a weekend isn’t going to solve everything, being able to speak to professionals about issues like how to help your children, and coming away with a toolkit, sounds great.”

How to get through divorce amicably

We asked our experts for their tips to navigate separation positively.


If you and your ex-partner communicate efficiently and with empathy— whether by phone, email or text — things will go more smoothly.

Time to grieve

Pushing down feelings means you’ll just have to deal with them down the track, so allow yourself time to grieve.


If issues arise (and they most likely will), seek mediation at the earliest possible chance.

Kids come first

Using children as props between two people will affect them negatively — consider their needs above your own.

Unified parenting

Stand strong on the house rules; try to uphold a sense of normalcy to save kids from feeling too displaced.

Set boundaries

Politely set boundaries from the start so that confusion and resentment don’t set in.

Empathy is important

Remember, the person on the other side is going through the same challenges and similar emotions as you are.

Respect is vital

It’s impossible to have an amicable divorce if you and your ex-partner don’t respect each other — it may be hard, but it’s worth it.

Find out who you are

“As women, we can lose ourselves as a marriage disintegrates,” Debbie says.

“Work out what really makes you happy.”

Consistency and routine are key

“Trying to make your life as normal as possible is the only way to move forward and set up a new life without your partner,” Cassandra advises.

“Seek professional help if you need it to manage this transition in your life.”

Written by Liz McGrath.