Celebrity Divorces: What We Can Learn From TomKat

The Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes divorce has brought family law into the headlines once again. Like Tiger Woods before them, high profile individuals often seek confidentiality and discretion in their family law disputes. They also often reach out-of-court settlements to retain control of the outcomes - both financial and parenting arrangements. High profile divorces often address the following five elements in their family law disputes:

1. Confidentiality. Divorce decrees (whther reached out of court or by court order) are filed by the courts and often publicly available. Individuals can petition for the records to be sealed, but it is left to the discretion of the court. Celebrities often include confidentiality clauses in their agreements and include financial ramifications if either party breaches the requirements. Certain elements can also be left out of the agreement altogether or only vaguely addressed to maintain privacy.

2. Control. The court offers the least amount of control of the process and the outcome. A court controls the timing of hearings, what needs to be filed, how many depositions are allowed, and ultimately the outcome. By settling out-of-court, parties can control the pace and outcome of the process.

3. Counsel. A good, experienced lawyer can help make the process and outcome the best it can be. While an attorney is required by law to be a good advocate, the attorney is also a guide through the process. The clients must be comfortable with their attorneys and feel like they can honestly express themselves. During a divorce, an attorney often supports clients at their lowest points - there must be trust and comfort in that relationship.

4. Creativity. When parties reach agreements outside of the court, they are not bound by the law. They can create unique outcomes that fit their personal situation. The acceptance, buy-in, and comfort with created agreements by the parties versus dictated outcomes by the court is significant. Often, creative resolutions come from the efforts and commitment to resolve problems outside of court.

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise recently reached an out-of-court settlement in their divorce. By doing so, they obtained the utmost privacy and confidentiality regarding the outcome. They also maintained complete control of the outcome - they didn't even have a hearing much less allow the court to have any say over the outcomes. They both had some of the most experienced and competent counsel, so they were well-advised and supported. Finally, because of these first three "Cs", they were likely able to come up with creative and unique agreements that met their interests.

If you would like to discuss how your divorce process can meet the four C's - please contact Kimberly.