Hollywood Ending: Amicable Celebrity Splits

The way they weren’t.  Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgartner.  Kyle Richards and Mauricio Umansky.  Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth.  Billy Porter and Adam Smith.  These are just some of the marquee names who announced their splits in 2023.  Celebrity divorces can be messy and complex, especially when the ins and outs of their separation are covered by paparazzi culture.  

What can amicable and discreet high-profile celebrity separations tell us about the benefits of Collaborative Divorce?  The reality is, celebrities make headlines and set trends.  What looks like just another celebrity breakup might actually be instructive for divorcing couples insofar as creating a roadmap to a safe continuity space for adults and children alike. 

When two people in the public eye go their separate ways, like Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, it is headline-grabbing.  Some public figures have managed to keep things civil and positive, using their outsized platforms to change society’s perception of divorce and shed light on the benefits of non-adversarial divorces.  

Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow framed it as “conscious uncoupling,” which involves moving forward, letting go, and forgiveness.  The Goop Founder used the term in a March 2014 post on her wellness website in which she announced that she and singer Chris Martin were separating.  The term was initially coined in 2009 by Katherine Woodward Thomas, a licensed marriage and family therapist as well as New York Times bestselling author.  

Sticking together even as you are coming apart is a core value of Collaborative Divorce.  The family unit moves forward in new and productive ways.  It is possible to create an environment where the breakup feels safe and supportive while embracing a softer transition out of the marriage.  

Those who can work through divorce in a non-adversarial manner may create timesharing agreements that provide as little disruption to the children’s lives as possible and help them feel secure and loved.  The idea is to think like a family and act as a united front. 

Conversely, in an acrimonious celebrity divorce, almost every element of the separation has made its way into the tabloids.  The contentious divorce case of Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgartner is one recent example of slings and arrows seemingly out of control.  Santa Barbara Superior Judge Thomas P. Anderle told Costner’s estranged wife, who is suing for divorce, that she has until the end of July to get out of his house.  Baumgartner filed for divorce on May 1, 2023, after 18 years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences. The two share three minor children.  

If parties can make a decision to approach separation in a productive way, the possibilities for a peaceful resolution are limitless. Collaborative Divorce is less expensive, more private, and highly effective.  For many of my clients who utilize the tools in Collaborative Divorce, instead of everything coming apart, it’s actually all coming back together.  The goal is to create a workable and sustainable framework that doesn’t sidestep or circumvent the pain of a divorce but is future-focused.  

The shift is for divorcing couples to move away from adversarial litigation and toward settling their own disputes without the imposition of a judge’s ruling.  This affords the couple more control over their own lives without having a stranger mandate how their futures will play out.  If a divorcing couple can discuss their opinions on issues such as child support, alimony, and timesharing without placing blame, their separation is likely to be emotionally healthier for all involved, especially the children.

The evolution in family law has been accompanied by advances in mediation and collaborative practice as well as by the development of support and counseling practices.  As a collaboratively trained attorney who possesses the experience and the necessary problem-solving skills to resolve disputes respectfully and equitably without going to court, I have seen firsthand the success of Collaborative Divorce.  

Find comfort, and even happiness, in creating your own rulebook for divorce.  At Sara Horowitz PA, we help clients in Palm Beach and Broward Counties successfully navigate this territory of Collaborative Divorce and emerge from it with the resources necessary to move on to the next stage of their lives.  Our goal is to be your calm in the eye of the storm.  Call or email us today to schedule a free consultation.