As a society, we consider a complete surrender of privacy as part of the price of fame. So when a high-profile celebrity couple makes the difficult decision to seek a divorce, it becomes open season on them as every public admission, accusation and declaration (and in a litigated divorce, all finances and other details of your lives together) is gleefully plundered for its dark entertainment value.
However, if you stop and think about it, you might notice that while the occasional juicy celebrity divorce does entertain us in the tabloids from time to time, for the most part you don’t hear a lot of the private details of celebrity divorce. Consider Tom Cruise and his three marriages: Considering all of the rumors that surround Cruise, one might imagine his divorces to be epics of revelation and gossip. Yet you didn’t hear anything about Cruise or his former wives (Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman, and Katie Holmes), did you?
This is because Cruise, like most high-profile celebrities, chose divorce mediation instead of litigation. Mediation has advantages for anyone entering into the difficult and emotional decision to end a marriage: It’s a less combative process, it keeps control over the arrangements in your hands instead of the courts, and it is often a faster and simpler process. Mediation has one other advantage that appeals to celebrities of all stripes: Privacy.
In a mediated divorce the private business of a marriage remains private, because nothing is entered into the public record. This allows people like Tom Cruise, whose every private detail is valuable to a voracious culture of celebrity gossip, to maintain their privacy and their dignity. Let’s face it; the end of a marriage is a difficult and messy thing, for anyone. Most of us at least have the security of knowing no one is going to root through court records for juicy details about our lives. For celebrities who are followed by photographers wherever they go, this sort of control is vital.
For the rest of us, mediation still has every advantage over litigation. If anyone values the future well-being of their families, they should consider a process that will allow them to resolve their differences amicably. Instead of entering into an emotionally tumultuous and expensive process which takes control away from you, any couple considering divorce should try mediation instead. In the end, privacy and dignity is worth something, and arrangements negotiated in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect as opposed to hostility and litigation is always preferable.