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Learning from Celebrities’ Divorce Mistakes

By Nottage and Ward on June 18, 2012

Celebrity marriages and divorces are in a class all their own. Not only do celebrity marriages and splits occur at a much higher frequency, but they are also much more extravagant. Much more money and much more media attention make celebrity divorces very different from those experienced by average people. But that does not mean we can’t learn a thing or two from the mistakes celebrities make. When considering marriage, or divorce, avoiding these celebrity mistakes can make things move much more smoothly in your relationship.

Get a Prenuptial Agreement

Mel Gibson allegedly split his $900 million fortune with his ex-wife, Madonna gave $90 million to Guy Ritchie, and Kelsey Grammer reportedly lost $50 million in his split, all because they did not have a prenuptial agreement.

A prenup can simplify the process of dividing your household by clearly outlining which assets are yours and which assets are your spouse’s going into the marriage. Most people expect their marriages to last forever, but the statistics prove otherwise. Every marriage is a contract, and when that contract is dissolved, it can be difficult to untangle all of the property you and your spouse accumulated. A prenup can provide a blueprint for how your assets are divided in the event of a breakup.

Prenups are often thought of as lofty agreements for rich spouses, but there is no financial requirement to have one. They often benefit middle- and lower-class couples more than most, as these people’s incomes can be more heavily impacted by a divorce. You may not have millions, but you can still protect your assets by having a prenup.

Keep a Civil Tongue

Kim Kardashian’s very public and ridiculed second marriage and divorce to Kris Humphries caused quite a stir, partly because she and those in her corner talked about her ex to the media throughout the proceedings. Now, her divorce with Kanye West may be just as public.

During Ms. Kardashian’s first divorce from Damon Thomas, social media was still in its infancy. Now, it’s everywhere. Even if you do not have a camera on you every day, your words can still end up in the public square and potentially in front of your ex’s attorney. Facebook posts, Instagram Live videos, even Tik-Toks can all be screenshot or downloaded by your ex’s attorney and used against you in court. Your best option is to go offline altogether during your divorce proceedings – especially during your discovery phase – and to avoid discussing your case with anyone besides your attorney.

All it takes is one negative comment about your ex to turn an uncontested divorce into a contested one.

Stick to Your Custody Agreement

Kim Basinger allegedly tried to keep her daughter’s father and ex, Alec Baldwin, from being part of their child’s life, even though they had a custody arrangement. But violating a custody agreement can result in serious consequences. There are specific rules regarding child relocations, and breaking those rules can put you back in the courtroom. Your ex may accuse you of parental kidnapping, parental alienation, or breaking the rules of your agreement – all of which can cost you in the long run. You may have to spend more money to fight for parenting time and could damage the relationship between you and your child.

If you have a disagreement about your parental allocation or are concerned for your child’s safety, you should contact an attorney first. Illinois courts prefer for parents to handle these situations privately, but a judge can step in if a parent has a strong case.

Keep Your Marital Affairs Private

Reality shows are death to celebrity relationships. If you always involve others in issues that must be resolved just between you and your spouse, it will make things worse. Amber Heard’s very public op-ed insinuating things about her ex, Johnny Depp, backfired on her. While most of us do not expect to end up on a realty show or in the papers, sharing confidential information about your case, or even casual comments about your ex, can put you in hot water. Remember, just as with social media posts, what you say about your ex can get out to their attorney and further complicate matters. Even talking to close friends or family members could result in them being subpoenaed as witnesses in your case.

If you talk about your ex to others, you are not helping the divorce process, but making it harder. Keep quiet, at least until the divorce is finalized. Remember, anything you divulge to others is admissible in court.

You Do Not Have to Handle a Divorce Alone

The legalities of marriage and divorce can be enough to make anyone’s head spin. If you have questions or concerns about your divorce or any other family law matters, the experienced Illinois divorce lawyers at Nottage and Ward, LLP, can help. We have more than 25 years of experience handling high-profile, complex divorces. We can tackle every aspect of your case, from negotiating your custody agreement to determining how your household should be divided. Contact us at (312) 332-2915 for a consultation today.

Updated: 6/21/2021

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