It never ceases to amaze me how quickly word can spread that a celebrity couple is splitting up– I guess thanks to Twitter, Facebook, etc. news is traveling faster than ever these days. Sadly, these celebraties have barely had time to process the news themselves, and meanwhile they need to face the media and camera crews each and every day while they grapple with major personal disappointment and humiliating facts about their break ups. This is definitely a time when I believe there is a lot to be said for anonimity and being just your average Joe Smith that lives next door. But, unlike the everyday divorce clients that might revel in airing their dirty laundry and dragging out negotiations or litigation in court, I have to say celebrities know how to end things swiftly and keep things confidential.
First, celebrities tend to marry with prenuptial agreements that clearly define what is marital versus non-marital property, and they tend to have alimony waivers or clear caps on length and duration. The only things you cannot cover in a prenup because of public policy concerns are child support and custody, but with more than ample resources to assist in dealing with these issues, most celebrities are able to work these issues out without court intervention. Just in case there are disputes, we have even started to include provisions that any issues in a divorce will be dealt with in the Collaborative Process or mediation in order to maintain confidentiality in these cases.
Second, much more than the average person, celebrities tend to realize that life will go on and there will be plenty of other options for them in the future. Part of their biggest challenge in fact is they are surrounded by temptation on a daily basis. A break up is just a temporary set back, but it does not usually mean to them that their entire world is over. This is actually an incredibly healthy way of thinking, and I wish more people could adopt this attitude during their divorces.
Third, people with fame and fortune know all too well that money cannot buy happiness and love. Their struggles are different than those of the average person, but when it comes to relationship difficulties, they suffer in just the same way as anyone else does– except that their struggles are out there front and center for everyone to see. I wish this wasn’t the case, especially for the sake of their children, but I understand that it is dirt that sells, and so long as there is a demand, there will always be tabloids. Luckily, these celebs are smart enough to hire great lawyers that know how to end things quickly and quietly, and that is why you rarely see the details of their divorces beyond what is required for purposes of finalizing a divorce with the courts.
When I commented about celebrity divorces last week on the radio, the news about Heidi Klum and Seal had not yet hit the press. I am truly sorry for their loss, but I can only hope like many that have come before them and had to deal with this experience, that they will manage this sad episode in their lives with dignity and grace– outside of the media spotlight.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.