We have been talking about the things we can learn from celebrity divorces. There are some problems most of us will never have -- who will get the Paris condo or the Rolls Royce collection? -- but the rich and famous face many of the same challenges the rest of us do when a marriage ends, because a divorce is not just a legal or an emotional matter. It touches every aspect of a person's life.
Courteney Cox and David Arquette have taken an unusual approach to their divorce. The actors are determined to keep their split low-profile and respectful. They are representing themselves, and they have reportedly agreed to the 50/50 property division their state's laws require. (This is not an Illinois divorce.) They have also agreed to shared custody of their daughter.
Custody disagreements can turn even a civil divorce into a contentious one. Parents who are bitter and angry with their spouses can use their children as weapons, holding back visitation time only to inflict pain on an ex. For example, the battles between Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin have been both very public and very volatile.
The couple had agreed to a custody arrangement when Basinger reportedly changed her mind. The story is that Basinger decided she didn't want Baldwin in their daughter's life, so she ignored the agreement. If things were ugly before the decision, they turned apocalyptic afterward. For 10 years now the couple has been hurling insults and lawsuits at one another.
If she was unhappy with the terms of the agreement, she could have petitioned the court for a modification. For some reason, strangely unknown to us considering how much of their dirty laundry was aired in public, she took more drastic and dramatic steps. The three of them, especially the child at the center of it all, have paid the price.
The lesson here is to work out an agreement everyone is comfortable with. If things change, use the courts to modify the agreement.
Of course, that's more easily said than done in many cases. The key is to surround yourself with competent and caring advisers who can help you remember that your child is the star of this show.
Source: Huffington Post, "Celebrity Divorce: What It Can Teach Us," Silvana D. Raso, June 5, 2012