How is Divorce Settlement Terms kept Private? How do Celebrities keep their Settlements Private?
Blog about Divorce from the Preeminent Southern California Divorce Firm
We know that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce or legal separation in California. We also know that the rate of celebrity marriages that end in divorce exceed half. And we know that many celebrities battle furiously in court over issues like child custody and visitation, spousal support, and how assets will be split. The breakup of Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen was overtly nasty with a majority of the fight revolving around the parties’ children. Paul McCartney’s divorce resolved in 2008 in court, and his wife received almost $50 million in assets (but we don’t know whether she had negotiated for more privately before walking into court). Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin also battled publicly in their divorce matter and we all remember the drunken voice messages and video of Alec Baldwin with his daughter. Michael Jordan and his wife split and Juanita received about $168 million in marital assets.
But have you ever thought about the number of celebrity divorce settlements that end privately without the public ever hearing about the terms of the split? Have you ever wondered whether the “common” couple can keep their divorce stipulations private?
The truth of the matter is that a number of celebrities choose to resolve their marriage dissolution terms privately, out of court, and without disclosing their settlement terms to the public. There are a number of options available to high net worth celebrities and public figures that want to work amongst themselves What are some examples of celebrities that have reached confidential settlement agreements to resolve their divorce? The notable celebrity divorce cases that we didn’t hear about include Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, and several of Kim Kardashian’s divorces. Al Gore and Troy Aikman kept their divorces private, as did Heidi Klum and Seal. There are literally countless celebrity divorce cases that never reached the public eye.
What you may not know is that anyone going through divorce in California can resolve their marital divorce confidentially. How is it possible? Well, there are a number of methods to reach and record a confidential agreement with the divorce court in California and in Riverside County.
First, parties are free to stipulate to allow a private judge to determine their case. That way, the arguments are private and ultimately only the court’s orders are made public.
Second, parties are free to privately mediate their divorce case. Mediation is a method to “remove” the case from a “litigation track” to allow parties to meet in person with a privately compensated expert in divorce, which may include a divorce lawyer or retired judge, to try and reach agreements on every issue that may exist in their case.
Finally, parties are free to reach confidential terms of their divorce settlement and simply file a “Memorandum” with the Riverside County Divorce and Family Court indicating that a complete and full settlement agreement was reached between the parties and the terms of the agreement are simply being kept private between the parties and their attorneys, or perhaps other individuals that need to know the terms of the agreement such as celebrity agents, real estate agents that will sell property, financial advisors and so forth.
California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1002 allows parties to reach confidential settlement terms for which they may keep private. There are no code sections under California law that requires civil litigants, including divorcing spouses, to record the actual terms of their agreements in a public forum with the Family Court.
For more information about divorce, settlement agreements and any other family law matter, contact our office today. We offer expert advice, a free initial consultation, and a convenient location to meet with our attorneys. Contact us today.