We read about them every day, the latest celebrity split. Some are quick, some are ugly and drag on for years, but one thing stars have to deal with is that it's all happening in the public eye.
Top New York based matrimonial attorney Ira Garr, who has represented some of the biggest names in Hollywood and on Wall Street, says celebrities have “bigger egos and bigger wallets,” which can make things more difficult than they have to be.
“In any divorce case, the issues are the same,” He says. “Custody, support, division of marital property.”
But if you're famous, it gets more complicated.
1. Celebrities are not worth as much as you think they are.
“In the case of Tom Cruise, he’s got a ton of dough. You’d be surprised how many celebrities live a high lifestyle and it says they’re worth $50 million and they’re actually worth five,” says Garr. “Not all of them make the kinds of money they say. Or if they do they’ve spent it. It’s like Entourage, you get yourself a $10 million dollar house, you’re driving fancy cars and you don’t really have the cash.
I know a movie star who has Academy Awards and no cash.”
2. The press will dig for everything. Everything.
Unlike a private divorce, any small detail can turn into a huge story.
“In New York County, theoretically divorces are sealed, are supposed to be confidential. But reporters get tipped off, and when a celebrity name comes in now, it’s on the internet within 45 minutes,” says Garr. “You can sometimes file Anonymous vs. Anonymous, but often when you read it, you can figure out who the person is. That can only shield it from the initial onslaught of the press.”
3. Both lawyers and celebrities will leak information to look good.
“There are some lawyers who like the publicity, they might leak it to the press,” says Garr. “Some celebs want a leg up, especially when it concerns adultery, drugs.”
4. Cases drag out because people still have feelings.
“What happens is people who have money have the facility to get in the court room and drag things out, they can afford it,” says Garr. “The court system is slow and the judges are overworked. But people aren’t emotionally done with each other if they are still in court. The way they stay connected is to fight in court, otherwise they have no reason and they have to let go. People stop having sex, so they have lawsuits.”
5. It comes down to winning.
“Ego,” says Garr. “If I wrote a book, I’d call it It’s About Us, It’s never really about the kids, because it’s not. Months have passed and now you get to the issues. It’s a matter of winning.”
In a Bloomberg Business profile of famed divorce attorney Laura Wasser, who represented Kim Kardashian, Gwen Stefani, and Jennifer Garner in their divorces, reveals that splits are often choreographed, and happen on a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend. Celebrities are also able to afford $$1,000 an hour private judges so media isn’t allowed at the trial, and many file after the Oscars—so they don’t have to walk the red carpet alone.
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