Mediation and Collaborative Divorce: Good for Celebrities and Good for the Budget
Because mediation and collaborative practice typically are far more affordable processes for handling divorce, they often are mistaken for "budget" options. Yes: almost always mediation and collaborative wil l save money for a divorcing couple. But cost is only one side-benefit of handling your divorce using out-of-court options. Protecting yourself, your family and your assets in a careful, thoughtful manner is the most important reason for selecting mediation or collaborative divorce. The wish to "do the right thing" while going through a divorce is not just about pinching pennies. Increasingly, celebrities - for whom cost is probably not much of an object - are choosing to protect themselves and their relationships using out-of-court divorce options. In 2008, actor-comedian Robin Williams' divorce was conducted with a focus on an amicable resolution that would help Williams and his wife lay the foundation for working together as parents after their divorce. The Williamses' statement reflects their priorities in choosing to use the collaborative divorce process: "We will strive to be honest, cooperative and respectful as we work in this process to achieve the future well being of our families. We commit ourselves to the collaborative law process and agree to seek a positive way to resolve our differences justly and equitably." One imagines that the Williamses and their children will be far better over the long run than celebrities whose divorce and custody battles became public spectacles. Actor Noah Wyle of the television series ER, along with his wife, Tracy, are the parents of two small children. In 2009, they issued a statement that they had decided to divorce. The couple's representative reported to People magazine that "Tracy Wyle and Noah Wyle, who separated in late October 2009, have confirmed they have entered into a mediation process. Neither has legally filed for divorce. Tracy and Noah live in separate residences; however, their two children....see both parents daily." The couple reportedly was united in their desire to put the children's interests first and to remain cooperative with one another. From their statement, it is evident that the Wyles decided that early-stage mediation was the best way to do the right thing by their young children and, simultaneously, maintain a highly-private process for handling their financial and personal decisions. Other celebrities reportedly choosing mediation or collaborative divorce (or publicly contemplating a similar out-of-court approach) include: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (2001) and Madonna and Guy Ritchie (2009). Divorce addresses the most important relationships and the economic foundations of a couples', or a family's, life. Handling the divorce process with care is at the heart of out-of-court options, such as mediation, collaborative process or our firm's own Streamline DivorceTM process. Peace of mind and cost-savings go hand-in-hand when a divorcing couple can agree that, despite their differences, their divorce will not be an expensive, destructive or public spectacle.