Nobody does marriage and divorce quite like celebrities. Odds are not in favor of a celebrity marriage lasting a lifetime. In fact, many are over in the blink of an eye. And instead of looking at photos of the wedding, many celebrities end up looking at divorce papers.
What can average citizens learn from the divorce mistakes of the rich and famous? We obviously do not marry and separate as often as these entitled individuals do, but there are lessons we can learn from celebrity break-ups.
• Have a prenup - Mel Gibson's estimated $900 million fortune was reportedly split with his ex-wife. Guy Ritchie reportedly made $90 million in his divorce from Madonna. Kelsey Grammer allegedly lost $50 million in his nasty divorce. The list can go on. Why did these celebrities lose all of this money? None of them reportedly had a prenuptial agreement. This is something I have advocated for in the past, but even if you do not have millions, get a prenuptial agreement and protect your assets in the event your marriage goes sour.
• Do not slander your ex in public - We all know about Kim Kardashian's failed 72-day marriage. Nearly one year later, her divorce from Kris Humphries is not yet official. However, she, her family and even new beau Kanye West have talked about Humphries to the media. What the Kardashian Krew has failed to realize is that all this talking only causes the divorce to drag on by keeping emotions running high, rather than letting logic dictate the course of the split. Keep quiet about your ex to your family and friends and tell them to do the same -- at least until the divorce papers have been signed.
• Adhere to Child Custody Agreements - Keep true to whatever was decided in court. When Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin got divorced and a custody agreement was in place for the couple's daughter, Basinger allegedly attempted to keep Baldwin out of their daughter's life. This was one of many complications in their nasty divorce proceedings, but you must adhere to the agreement that is in place. If you don't, your ex can take you right back to court -- costing you money and perhaps visitation time with your child. Most importantly, undermining your ex's relationship with your child causes long term harm for your child, even if it causes you short term satisfaction. Ultimately, your child will resent you, not your ex, for interfering in the relationship by depriving your child of the right to a healthy relationship with both parents.
• Don't film a reality show about your marriage - MTV thought it was a great idea to film Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey's "Newlyweds" adventures. TLC thought it was compelling to film the Gosselins and their eight children. Both networks got rich off their respective shows -- until the relationships went sour for the entire world to see. Are any of us famous enough to have cameras chronicling our marriage? Probably not. But the lesson learned here is to avoid involving others in our marital issues, including complete strangers. When you air your dirty laundry in public, it is all admissible in court.
Every celebrity divorce has an intriguing back story. We may never be celebrities, but there should be nothing stopping us from learning from their mistakes.
Silvana D. Raso heads the family law practice at Englewood Cliffs, NJ-based Schepisi & McLaughlin, P.A. where she counsels clients in all areas of matrimonial and family law.
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