Did you ever notice that Hollywood celebs tend to announce their divorces in the spring and early summer? Last year Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale filed for divorce at that time of year, as did Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck. This year, Drew Barrymore and the Osbournes are the first celebs to file during the “Hollywood divorce season.”
Turns out there is a method to this madness. Divorce lawyer to the stars Laura Wasser is the mastermind behind many of the big name celebrity divorces that rock the tabloids (including all of the Kardashians, Angelina Jolie, Heidi Klum, and Britney Spears) and in a recent interview she revealed how she strategizes when to file her celebrity clients’ divorces.
In divorce, timing is everything
Most celebrity cases are filed after the awards season, so that stars don’t have to walk the red carpet alone or face a barrage of questions as they smile for the cameras. They grit their teeth and get through the award shows so they can file for divorce at a time when they are less in the public eye.
Wasser also tries to file several cases at the same time, to dilute media attention. This makes it appear that there is a sudden glut of marriages that are falling apart. However, Hollywood divorces are so carefully strategized that by the time a couple announces their impending divorce, it is most likely that the marriage has been over for months and months. During that time, the couple has negotiated how to resolve the breakup as well as what exactly they will say to the media and when they will release the news.
Keeping media eyes off celeb divorces
Wasser has developed other tricks to protect her clients. She tends to file the papers in small branch clerk’s offices, where they are less likely to be leaked. Filing right before a holiday weekend is another way to keep the media at bay.
She also has tricks up her sleeve to manipulate the court system. She usually pays for a “rent-a-judge.” In California, judges tend to leave the bench and go into public service at a young age. They then can be handpicked and paid privately—at a cost of around $1000 an hour—to handle the cases as arbitrators, an arrangement that has no public courtroom and no testimony to be witnessed by the media. However, the decisions can be appealed and are made public after the fact.
What’s your divorce season?
Is there a good time to file your own non-Hollywood divorce? Most people prefer to wait until after the holidays, which explains the surge in divorce filings in January. Most couples also try to avoid filing just before big family events, such as weddings, graduations, or children’s birthdays.
If you are expecting a big financial payout (a bonus, for example), you might want to file before it is owed, since often assets are divided as of the date of separation. Regardless, if your marriage can’t be saved, at least consider an uncontested divorce—you’ll save untold amounts of money, and not all of us can afford private judges.
Image courtesy of huffingtonpost.co.uk