Peace During A Divorce Is Crucial!—Even Celebs Get IT

Getting divorced doesn't have to be messy and expensive—learn from the Afflecks!


Celebrity divorces are nothing new. Frankly, I would bet my rubber ducky (my sacred Sesame Street Vintage Ernie Rubber Ducky) that the divorce rate among celebrities is much higher than the divorce rate among us "regular" people. 

One thing that separates a celebrity divorce from a typical one is the fact that money is not an obstacle. In other words, there is rarely a concern that either party cannot afford an attorney, or have the financial resources to litigate the divorce until the cows come home. (Where did the cows go in the first place? I digress). 


In my experience, the more money a couple has, the more contentious the divorce is and the more money they spend fighting over everything. This isn’t the case for all wealthy divorcing couples, but it’s a trend I have noticed. 

It’s interesting that many high profile divorces are not litigated and rather are completed quickly and cheaply. Because they don’t want the process played out through the media for the voyeurs, paparazzi and everyone else to eat up. That’s understandable. That said, details about custody battles (See Tom Cruise and Katy Holmes) often are leaked and made public. Just goes to show you that even celebrities go through what normal people go through in a divorce where minor children are involved … custody issues.


It’s not uncommon for a litigated custody battle to cost upwards of $10,000. Most of the time, child evaluations are needed, which require hiring a custody expert. To keep costs down, parties may choose a joint expert, but if the results do not come out favorably—a parent then hires his/her own expert to do another evaluation (hoping the results will be different and favorable to them). 

If that happens, you have a "cluster F*" of a situation (that’s a legal term) and the court is then dealing with a battle of the experts. All of this takes its toll on the parents, children, attorneys and the court. 

Oh, did I mention how expensive custody evaluations cost?

The Affleck divorce is a refreshing example of how the process of dissolving a marriage can, and should, be. Us regular folk should take notes and understand how they are handling their divorce is better for everyone—most importantly their children. And, what they are doing is nothing special—meaning they are not spending boatloads of cash and the resources they are using to get divorced are available to everyone. 


Here are the two main reasons why the Affleck divorce worked. If only everyone getting divorced understood these principles and chose to use them. 


The Afflecks chose to go to mediation to get divorced. For those who don’t know what mediation is, it’s a process available to everyone where the parties agree to hire a mediator to outline the terms of the divorce settlement agreement. 

A mediator is a neutral party, often an attorney—but doesn’t have to be—who does not take sides. The mediator’s role is simply to foster communication between the parties and help lead them to agree on the distribution of assets and any other terms of the divorce. If the parties disagree on an issue, the mediator works with them to come to an agreement. 


When the parties agree to all terms, the mediator memorializes it in a document, which then gets turned into the official divorce Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement is what the court will endorse and sign to make it official. After the mediation, it’s typical for both parties to retain separate attorneys to review the mediated terms and draft the Settlement Agreement. 

The process of going to mediation is cheaper, more amicable and faster than litigating a divorce. The key to making mediation work is that both parties have to participate in good faith and really want it to work. It takes two. 


Another commendable aspect of the Affleck divorce is that they have agreed to be mature adults and understand the importance of co-parenting. This is something that a lot of people have trouble with and, unfortunately, the children are the ones who suffer. It’s been reported that Ben and Jennifer will continue to live together (in separate residences) on the same property. I’m assuming this is to provide a stable and consistent environment for the kids. They should be applauded for giving this a shot!


Usually, when people get divorced, they can’t wait to stay as far away from each other as possible. After all, they’re FREE!!! 

Not so in the Affleck divorce. The media recently reported (with photos and all) that Ben and Jennifer were vacationing with the children … together. The photos that were circulated in magazines and online focused on how tense and strained the ex couple appeared, but I looked at it from a different perspective. 

They are putting their children first, a sign of a mature couple. They are vacationing together so that the children feel a sense of normalcy during this time when the marriage has been legally dissolved. The children don’t understand what happened, or what is happening and Ben and Jennifer are taking this into consideration. They have been quoted as saying that they do not want a contentious split and are focused and committed to co-parenting. 


If only every divorcing couple was able to do this.