Would Divorce Mediation Have Protected Celebrity Zooey Deschanel’s Financial Information?

Deschanel Gibbard Divorce & Financial Info“New Girl” star Zooey Deschanel filed for divorce on December 23, likely hoping that news of her split from husband, Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, would not be buzz-worthy enough to make headlines during the holidays. The low-key star may have escaped public scrutiny, except for one key mistake: the divorce filing was accompanied by a copy of the actress’s personal financial information.

Not that she has anything to be embarrassed about. Far from being a Hollywood spendthrift, Zooey’s divorce documents show a money-savvy starlet who even gives regularly to charity. Her income and expense declaration, according to TMZ, shows that Zooey makes $95,000 a month on her hit TV sitcom, but only spends about $22,500 a month on such items as:

-Telephone, cell & e-mail – $300
-Groceries – $1,000
-Eating Out – $500
-Dry Cleaning – $600
-Utilities – $800
-Clothes – $2,000
-Charity – $1,500

Deschanel’s statements also verified that she has zero credit card debt, and has saved up $1,578,000 in the bank, $1,645,000 in stocks and $693,300 in property, bringing the 32-year-old celebrity’s net worth to a cool 3.9 million.

Other than demonstrating the value of spending relatively little and saving a lot, Zooey Deschanel’s case teaches anyone contemplating divorce a valuable lesson in privacy. Could she have done anything different to keep her financial information out of the public eye? Yes, if she had gone the route of divorce mediation or if her attorney had advised her to get the financials sealed as part of the divorce process.

Because mediated divorce is handled privately, and not in a courtroom, financial statements are primarily only seen by the mediator and parties involved, except of course if other experts are brought in — this can ultimately keep them our of public divorce records. Celebrities, athletes, and other high profile individuals are often counseled to seriously consider mediation as a way to protect financial and personal issues during times of divorce. But even for non-celebrities, maintaining privacy is important and, in this way, mediation holds a key advantage over litigation.

Another way divorce mediation helps? Zooey and Ben Gibbard married in 2009 and don’t have children. However, for couples with children, the more amicable tone of divorce mediation can help to preserve parent-child relationships (and make co-parenting easier), as opposed to litigation which can further sever the relationship. Also, divorce mediation enables you to set the terms of your divorce and gives you great flexibility in the final outcome of your divorce settlement. If a judge is deciding, you place yourself at the mercy of the court, which may not be best in your situation.

As for Zooey, we know the “New Girl” is new to divorce, but we hope she starts to get some better advice on how to handle the proceedings without the gossip grapevine having access to her every move.

For more information specific to the divorce mediation in New Jersey, please read our “Divorce Mediation” page and feel free to contact us with any questions specific to your marital situation.

Additional Resources From Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group on Divorce Mediation:
Blog Post: Seven Myths About Divorce Mediation

Resources:
Yahoo Finance – Zooey Deschanel Saves Her Pennies:
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/zooey-deschanel-saves-her-pennies.html
The Washington Post – Zooey Deschanel Files for Divorce from Ben Gibbard:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/celebritology/post/zooey-deschanel-files-for-divorce-from-ben-gibbard/2012/01/05/gIQA5nGXcP_blog.html
TMZ – Zooey Deschanel Financial Net Worth Divorce:
http://www.tmz.com/2012/01/04/zooey-deschanel-financial-net-worth-divorce/