Lessons From the Tabloid Divorces

A-Rod, Christie Brinkley, Madonna. There is no escaping it. Divorce is all over the news. The tabloids (and their readers) are eating it up.

The issues in these celebrity divorces are, in large measure, the same as those of everyone else. Granted - few of my cases involve the wealth of someone like A-Rod.

These cases seem to all have the recurrent theme of adultery, infidelity and loss of trust. As a result of the betrayal, marital assets will have to be divided.

The very public Christie Brinkley trial is particularly compelling. It is providing a primer on how a child custody trial works. In a child custody case the inquiry is what are the best interests of the children. In the Brinkley case the court must decide if the children should be in the sole custody of the mother or whether there should be some type of shared custody. The trial also demonstrates the role of mental health professionals in a custody fight.

The very public process, the attorneys and the press all try to demonize or to paint parties as “all good” or “all bad.” In my experience, this is often not the case. In most cases, the spouse you loved and married years ago, did not over-night morph into some unrecognizable evil force. While all the parties to the process are flawed, they have good attributes as well.

At the end of the custody battle like Christie Brinkley’s, there are no winners, only losers. The parties will not only have lost their dignity, they will also have lost the ability to share, together, the joy of life’s great events like their children’s graduations and weddings, or even the birth of their grandchildren.

The children will certainly lose. In the end, they will be drawn into the “battle” and become alienated from one, or both, of their parents.

In the end, the lesson from these trials should be that divorcing parents should, to the extent possible, agree that they cannot live together and that the marriage should end. While there may be some dispute over economic issues, parents should, to the extent possible, work together to find a way to share responsibility for raising their children

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