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Birmingham AL Collaborative Divorce Law Blog

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How to Divorce Like a Celebrity

Five lessons to consider from high-profile splits

Celebrities seem to marry and divorce like the rest of us change our oil. Some break ups are messy. Others are neat and tidy. Regardless of the details, the churn of Hollywood romance keeps us enthralled — and keeps the tabloids in business. Why do celebrity splits fascinate us? Maybe we feel a little better about our own not-so-perfect lives knowing that no matter how successful, famous, attractive and wealthy you are, you can experience failed relationships. Whatever the reason, there’s a lot to be learned by these public displays of divorce. Here are five takeaways from recent headline-making Hollywood splits.

Try to remain amicable, especially when children are involved. Gwyneth Paltrow and Cold Play’s Chris Martin seem to have gotten divorce “right” when they split after more than 10 years of marriage. The couple, who has two kids together, reportedly have “remained close” and spend holidays together. Paltrow even commented that she hopes Martin will walk her down the aisle at her next wedding![1] While this is extreme, it can still be possible to co-parent civilly for the benefit of your children even if you don’t remain close to your ex-spouse.

Don’t rush to divorce. When emotions run high during a break up, it’s tempting to want to divorce quickly to get it over with. But, for some — like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner — slow and steady wins the race. After announcing their plans to end their 10-year marriage back in 2015, they waited two years to file for divorce, citing that they “just needed time.” Also impressive: Reportedly the couple has remained friends and places priority on their three children. [2]

Keep private matters private. Even those who make a living in the spotlight need some privacy now and then. Superstar couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie became tabloid fodder last fall when they released their divorce plans and publicly aired allegations, including child abuse. But lately, things have calmed down for “Brangelina”. According to the LA Times, the couple (ironically) announced that they signed agreements to “preserve the privacy rights of their children and family by keeping all court documents confidential.” To ensure this agreement, the estranged couple hired a private judge (a common practice among high-profile divorces), which will prevent media coverage of the proceedings. Private judging is an option for Alabama couples, too.

Never say never to reconciliation. Just because you’ve called it quits, doesn’t mean it’s over for some couples. Sometimes all you need is time apart. British rock star Phil Collins and his on-again-off-again-on-again bride, Orianne Cevey, married in 1999, divorced in 2008, and rekindled their love in 2016. “I don’t think I ever stopped loving Phil,” Cevey reportedly said. “But it took me a while to realize that he is the love of my life.”[3]

Make lemonade. Divorce is difficult, even for the über wealthy and famous. Turning your grief into something beneficial is one way to work through the pain. Recording artists — from Tammy Wynette (who’s sang the country hit D-I-V-O-R-C-E) to Carly Simon (whose hit “You’re So Vain” was supposedly about Warren Beatty) to Mary J Blige (“Thick of It” is said to be about her recent split with manager, Martin Isaacs) — all turned their break-up sorrows into solid gold. Even if you can’t carry a tune, finding a constructive way to channel your grief or frustration into something positive, such as volunteering, artistic endeavors or reaching personal goals, goes a long way to growth and healing.


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