After three years of marriage, Khloe Kardashian filed for divorce last week from husband Lamar Odon, citing irreconcilable differences in public court documents released on Friday. It may make for juicy celebrity gossip to speculate about what went wrong for the reality TV couple, but if Kardashian and Odon are like most celebrity, high-profile couples, this first glimpse of their divorce will likely be the last glimpse until a final divorce decree is announced.
With so much at stake, how do celebrities and other rich and famous folks keep the details of their divorce proceedings out of the headlines? Here are four of their secrets. Note: These also work for non-celebrities couples trying to keep their divorce on the down-low!
They create prenuptial agreements. One of the most buzzworthy divorces of 2013 belonged to media giant Rupert Murdoch and his wife of 14 years, Wendi Deng Murdoch. It was announced in June that the pair was splitting up, with the next follow up not coming until November, when it was announced that the divorce had been made final. It’s likely that the divorce was so quick and quiet due to the prenuptial agreement it was known the two had put in place before marriage. A prenup can pre-decide many issues related to asset division and spousal support, which can significantly simplify the process of reaching a divorce settlement.
They opt for out-of-court settlement negotiations. With so much intense speculation, why did so few factual details emerge from the divorce proceedings of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes? Probably because after filing for divorce in New York, Holmes and Cruise’s lawyers entered into talks to reach a negotiated settlement. Likely with the guidance of a prenup, the attorneys hashed out a settlement deal both sides could agree to. All that was needed of a judge was to review what the couple agreed upon and sign. Based on reports from the time, it appears that Cruise and Holmes were never in the same room during their divorce. Still, even with tensions running high, there was no need for a courtroom showdown.
They use divorce and family law mediation. A very public custody battle appeared to be brewing between Kelsey and Camille Grammar, but then the disagreement seemed to completely drop off the radar. Why? It’s reported that the celebrity parents turned to private mediation to solve their child custody dispute. Mediation is a process in which parties meet with a neutral third party mediator to negotiate their differences and come to an agreement. Mediation can be used to reach a divorce settlement, child custody or child support dispute, asset division dispute, and more. Many celebrity couples use mediation for the reason non-celebrity couples do: Private mediation tends to be faster, less expensive, and friendlier than divorce litigation.
They opt for Collaborative Divorce. Collaborative divorce is a unique process in which both spouses pledge to be honest and respectful. Meeting out of court with only their lawyers, both sides reveal their assets and debts and jointly retain neutral experts, rather than hired guns, to appraise a family business or evaluate their children’s needs. To encourage everyone to stay at the bargaining table, they agree in advance that if the process fails and they have to go to court, lawyers for both sides must withdraw — meaning both husband and wife must hire new ones, an expensive proposition. Like mediation and negotiated settlements, this process is completely private.
Which celebrities have used collaborative methods to reach their divorce? Robin Williams used collaborative divorce to end his marriage of 19 years to Marcia Garces Williams, disappointing tabloids hoping for a juicy celebrity battle. Billionaire Texas financier T. Boone Pickens also turned to the process to end his fourth marriage. Pickens told the Dallas Business Journal last March that the collaborative divorce process saved him several million dollars, making him so happy that he contributed $100,000 to the state’s Collaborative Law Institute.