The Divorcee Café offers advice to men and women navigating divorce
Sep 07, 2018 15h36
By Jana Klopsch
Elif Ekin, founder of the Divorcee Café offers a safe space, guidance, and her specialty baklava. (Photo by Alexandra Ortiz)
By Lori Gillespie| [email protected]
Elif Ekin knows how difficult navigating change can be. When her marriage ended, she struggled to find the support and advice she needed and craved. Without family nearby, she didn’t know where to go or who to reach out to.
“I was talking to a friend one day about not knowing what to do and she wrote down on a piece of paper a number for an attorney. That was all I had to go on,” Ekin said. “And looking back after the divorce was final, I realized I would have done many things differently. I didn’t know that you could go to different people to talk to them for free consultations, like mortgage people, or realtors or financial people. Sometimes another set of eyes on a divorce decree or other documents can be make a huge difference. And if I did know that, how do I find them? The whole process can be so overwhelming.”
When she looked back at the process, she realized that many things could have gone better — not only from a decree standpoint, but from a support and stress-level standpoint as well. Another thing she realized is that was she wasn’t alone. Other people had the same questions she had had, so she set out to do something about it. She started the Divorcee Café.
“I asked a friend who had space if we could use it,” Ekin said. “And I asked some of my friends if they would come and hold space to offer advice and guidance and support. Because you don’t know what you don’t know, and often you don’t know what you need.” The response she got from her friends was overwhelmingly yes.
She felt that if she could bring some of these advisors and guides together, it could be a safe place for those seeking advice about divorce to get answers. “I realized that the café needed to be a whole day event,” Ekin said. Divorcee Café currently runs regularly on the first Wednesday of the month, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. The professionals who come and hold space for free each month, and they come from all walks of professional life. There are attorneys and real estate agents, massage therapists and life coaches, and they all come to help people through a difficult time.
After a couple of years, the Divorcee Café outgrew their first space. They have been in a temporary spot for a few months. “We’re in the process of turning Divorcee Café into a non-profit,” Ekin said. She is hoping that this action will lead to finding a new, perfect space in Sugar House.
“I have a vision of what I want this to become. I see the Divorcee Café in an old house with a lot of character and a garden,” Ekin said. “It could supply the community with room to have meetings and classes and group sessions throughout the month. Inside the building would have a small micro café and library, so it can be a safe place to come and learn and research what it is you need to get well. I love Sugar House, I live in Sugar House. It is a great central location.”
The Divorcee Café has already done some amazing things to help both men and women dealing with divorce.
“Coming out of a marriage is hard on everyone in the familial unit. Both men and women need help navigating a new world, a single world, and often a single world where you have children,” Ekin said. “Having someone who has been through a similar experience, learning what they did right and what they think they could have done better, saves a lot of heartbreak and money. Everyone needs someone to talk to, someone to ask questions to, and the Divorcee Café is a safe place to do that.”
Being a single mom, Ekin needed to also support her family, so she started Bohemian Baklava and makes specialty Turkish baklava. She always has some on hand at the Divorcee Café, as well as tea and Turkish coffee.
More information on the Divorcee Café can be found at www.divorceecafe.com/.