By now everyone knows that Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing. It’s been widely publicized that the Gates have opted to settle out of court. There are many reasons that famous and ordinary people alike choose this direction. Here’s a look at the two main reasons, privacy and amicability.
The specifics of the Gates’ agreement to divide up an estimated $146 billion in property, business interests and assets have not been made public and likely never will be. It is not uncommon for high-profile couples to want to keep matters of their divorce private, and there are various techniques to allow them to do so [i], such as mediation.
Private negotiation kept out of the courts allows couples to keep their “dirty laundry” from being aired and is a more ideal way to keep assets and finances, and of course, literal affairs, away from the public eye. Privacy is essential as it allows the parties to express themselves and discuss the issues with candor and openness comfortably and freely. Further, it allows the parties to effectively brainstorm solutions without fear of being judged by their friends, family and the court of public opinion.
There may be another reason that the Gates are resolving their legal issues outside of the courtroom–to protect their three adult children. Whether children are toddlers or adults, it is difficult for all when the family unit unravels. No parent wants their children to witness the anger and spite that often comes with cases being resolved in court. Working out the legal issues in an amicable and peaceful manner helps the children, even grown ones, process the transformation in a more positive and healthy manner.
Actor Brad Pitt seems to agree and is quoted as saying regarding his pending divorce from Angelina Jolie, “I heard one lawyer say, ‘No one wins in court–it’s just a matter of who gets hurt worse.’” And it seems to be true, you spend a year just focused on building a case to prove your point and why you’re right and why they’re wrong, and it’s just an investment in vitriolic hatred. Our focus (in the divorce) is that everyone comes out stronger and better people –there is no other outcome.” [ii]
Consider the Options
While courtroom rulings used to be the norm, your clients now have easy access to alternatives, namely divorce mediation. Following a trend in the UK, “There are now more options than ever before for couples to resolve their differences away from the court and the Gates have shown that it’s perfectly possible, notwithstanding their level of wealth, to settle a divorce without recourse to litigation,” said Sandra Davis, a partner at firm Mishcon de Reya. [iii]
Resolving a case though mediation has numerous benefits including the privacy and amicability that many parties seek as an alternative to litigation. When you are ready to settle your family law cases, I am here to help. My 18 years of litigation experience and six years of exclusive divorce mediation make me uniquely qualified to help you and your clients reach a successful settlement.
From the Tabloids… Which celebrities have filed for divorce so far in 2021?
With much of the world stuck inside for the bulk of 2020, it’s no surprise that celebrity breakups have been on a steady rise since last March. Here’s a look at some of the notable splits, from People [i] and Glamour [ii]:
Jennifer Lopez & Alex Rodriguez. “We have realized we are better as friends and look forward to remaining so,” the couple said.
Kim Kardashian & Kanye West. From Kardashian, “So over the last couple of weeks, we have started having some difficult conversations about our future. Ultimately we both realized that our lives are moving in different directions.”
Kelly Clarkson & Brandon Blackstock. From Clarkson, “… we have four kids total together so that’s a lot of hearts involved, and you just have to be really careful. It’s just a tricky thing to navigate and it’s hard on everyone involved.”
Mary-Kate Olsen & Olivier Sarkozy. “According to sources, the 33-year-old fashion mogul and 50-year-old banker ultimately couldn’t agree on what they wanted their future to look like.”
Desiree DaCosta & Blair Underwood. A joint statement announced, “After a tremendous amount of thought, prayer & work on ourselves individually & collectively, we have come to the conclusion to end our marriage that began 27 years ago. We will continue to be the best of friends and co-parents and have the utmost respect for one another as we embark upon this new chapter of our lives, separately.”