Do It Like They Do It – 6 Things You Can Learn from Celebrity Divorces
Learn from their mistakes!
Speaking from experience, it’s always a good idea to learn as much as possible from other people’s ways of handling life events. For instance, many things can go wrong during a divorce if you don’t make sure you have everything figured out beforehand. Your partner leaving you with next to nothing could be one of those things.
Husbands out-earn their wives in 69% of marriages, so securing your assets is just one of the essential things you need to do before filing for divorce. So why not learn some valuable lessons about the do’s and don’ts of divorce from celebrities who’ve been through one. The following are six things famous people have done for a successful divorce that you should keep in mind.
1. Get a Separation Agreement Before Filing in Court
A separation agreement is a document used by spouses to divide their assets and responsibilities. When Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce, they had already signed a separation agreement. Having this document reduces the divorce cost and eliminates court-required status updates. You should file in court only after you have a separation agreement you and your spouse signed, as this will greatly ease and speed up the process.
2. Figure Out What Your Priorities Are
Chances are you won’t be able to obtain everything you want out of your divorce, so it’s best to get your priorities straight and focus only on what matters the most to you. One aspect you should focus on when getting your ducks in a row is making sure you have access to your assets, which should be separate from those of your partner, such as bank and credit accounts.
This way, you will have a significant sum of money secured for you and your children, if you have any. So, you should have a clear plan for your money after your divorce, which can stem from selling your family home or splitting your joint stock and investment portfolio.
As a side note, after Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott divorced, the latter committed to donating more than half of her post-divorce wealth – roughly $37 billion – to charities. This still leaves MacKenzie with more than anyone can spend in a lifetime, considering the 4% stake in Amazon she’s entitled to as part of the split.
3. Hire a Team of Professionals
This should be a must if you have a complex financial situation, as otherwise, you won’t be able to untangle it yourself or together with your spouse. During a divorce, you are forced to make some of the most difficult and important financial decisions of your life and balance the legal, financial, and tax implications with the emotional and family dynamics.
Some of the specialists whose services you may need are a lawyer, a certified public accountant, an estate planning attorney, a certified divorce financial analyst, and a business valuation specialist. Professionals don’t like to sugarcoat the complexity of their clients’ financial situation and provide clear directives about how everything should unfold.
For example, although having to appear before a court of law, Kim Kardashian had a strong team of professionals in her corner, ready to support her in divorcing Kanye West. This helped her on her way to becoming legally single again, as she puts it. Having to deal with child custody and property issues, the stakes were high, and this was, decidedly, the best course of action for the former couple.
4. Keep Things Amicable
Even though it may be difficult, you should strive to keep things peaceful with your soon-to-be former spouse. For instance, Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie were able to work through their divorce problems amicably, cooperatively, and with a hefty settlement amount on behalf of MacKenzie. They managed to dissolve their 25-years marriage without much difficulty encountered by either party, although there was the question of infidelity.
You may want to consider mediation or a collaborative divorce instead of traditional litigation, which may reduce conflict. This approach helps minimize the financial and emotional impact that usually accompanies a divorce.
5. Having a Mental Health Issue Doesn’t Mean You Won’t Be Able to Get Joint Custody
In most cases, a spouse who struggles with a mental health problem will not be denied joint legal and physical custody of their children as long as they are stable and undergo treatment. For instance, Kanye West, who has bipolar disorder, a mental disorder that causes extreme mood swings, including emotional highs and lows, has solid prospects of being granted joint custody of his four children.
Therefore, if you’re worried you will be denied the right to see your children because you have a mental health problem, you should know this is rarely the case. However, if this becomes the subject of a debate, you should have your reasons and arguments prepared based on a prior solid medical evaluation.
6. Keep Things Private and Children Out of It
Avoid having legal papers sent to your office or creating any watercooler talk at events. It’s best to keep your divorce and its progress to yourself, as this is most likely quite a difficult and emotional time in your life. While it’s publicly known they have four children, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos have always been very private about their family, and so should you, especially during a divorce. Also, try your best not to involve your children if they are too young to process what’s happening. This way, you will avoid placing a huge emotional burden on them.
As you can see, we have a lot of valuable information to learn from celebrity divorces, as most high-net-worth couples have the right people to offer them advice and guidance along the process. Still, this doesn’t mean you have to be a celebrity to use the tips in this article if you’re getting a divorce or benefit from the help of professionals. Divorce should always be approached with patience and strategic thinking.
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About the Author
Sean Cleary is the owner and founder of The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary. The law firm, headquartered in Miami, Florida, specializes in high-net-worth divorces, having assisted numerous couples over the past years.