We all heard last week that one of the most famous couples in modern history — Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie — are divorcing after spending two years married and over a decade together. Jolie has hired famous divorce attorney to the stars, Laura Wasser to represent her in the divorce. Wasser is known by the moniker, “Disso Queen” by handling marriage dissolutions for some of Hollywood’s most famous. What is notable about Ms. Wasser and her handling of these famous divorces is the lack of publicity the actual legal work gets. For example, she recently represented Johnny Depp in his rather contested divorce from Amber Heard. While that couple was seen daily in the tabloids after the divorce was filed by Heard, the case itself was handled quite quickly and quite quietly by Ms. Wasser.
How does she do it? And how can you have a celebrity divorce like the Hollywood stars, even when you live here in New Jersey? Let’s take a look
Consider Filing for Divorce on the Grounds of Irreconcilable Differences: When Jolie filed divorce papers in California last week, she chose the “no fault” grounds of irreconcilable differences. It’s a potentially wise move on the part of her attorney because by doing so, Jolie only needs to cite that the marriage was “irretrievably broken” and she does not need to show any other evidence for the marriage’s demise. This can streamline the divorce from the outset and because it allows the couple to avoid legal finger pointing, it could set the stage for more cordial negotiations. Filing for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences is available in New Jersey. (Please note that any child abuse allegations that may be present will be dealt with during that part of the divorce pertaining to child custody. Citing irreconcilable differences does not in any way negate these kinds of issues.)
Find an Attorney Who is Your “Calm in the Storm”: As attorneys who follow the same philosophy, we applaud Ms. Wasser’s ability to be, as her clients describe, their “calm in the eye of a divorce storm.” As much as you may hate your soon-to-be ex, you want your goal to be a peaceful and fair resolution of the issues in your divorce. Constant bickering or the approach that you must “win at all costs” is a great way to increase your stress, your anger and your legal bills. This is especially crucial if you share children. Children understand more than anyone knows and they can certainly feel animosity between their parents. The last thing you want to do is place your children in the middle of a battlefield. It is not fair to them and can certainly cause them psychological trauma. We strongly believe that your attorney should not add to your stress, but take it away! Your attorney should be there to help you acquire the tools you need to keep your cool throughout the divorce process and beyond.
Divorce on the Down Low: Ms. Wasser also makes a point of having little media attention for her celebrity divorce clients. You may not run the risk of your picture or your personal details appearing in the newspaper, but you certainly run the risk of having your divorce struggles appear on social media if you are not careful. As tempting as it may be, refrain from discussing your divorce, your ex or your kids on any social media. Do you best to keep your divorce completely offline. Anything you post to Facebook or any pictures that you put on Instagram can come back later to haunt you in the courtroom. Avoid oversharing any details about your divorce unless you are in trusted company. Consider talking to a therapist who can give you constructive ways to vent frustrations while you are in a safe space for sharing.
Stay Out of Court: Ms. Wasser encourages celebrity divorce clients to engage in negotiations and settle their divorce matters privately. Any couple, whether a working class couple or a Hollywood power duo, needs to consider alternate dispute resolution such as mediation or collaborative divorce. Courts in New Jersey are moving farther and farther away from traditional adversarial litigation and strongly favor couples settling their own cases without the imposition of a judge’s ruling. This affords the couple more control over their own futures without having a virtual stranger, the judge, mandate how their futures will play out. Remaining open to negotiation with the goal of settlement is becoming much more favored in family courts and by divorcing couples in New Jersey.
Whatever your situation, remember that it is best to remain calm, focus on settlement and keep your children’s best interests at the forefront of your mind when approaching your upcoming divorce. It works for celebrity divorce…and it can work for your divorce, too! It certainly will not be the easiest time in your life, but you can certainly help make sure it isn’t the hardest, either.
If you are thinking of filing for divorce or if you are looking for alternatives to traditional divorce litigation, please contact us today to schedule your initial consultation with one of our qualified attorneys experienced in all aspects of divorce and family law in New Jersey.