Are celebrity divorces just tabloid fodder and entertaining diversions? Or are there real and meaningful lessons about divorce we can learn from Hollywood’s biggest stars? In this episode of the Divorce & Other Things You Can Handle podcast, I speak with Los Angeles-based family law attorney Patrick Baghdaserians about his experiences with celebrity divorce and the lessons we can all learn from them.
Patrick is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in the area of Family Law. Since 2007, He has represented both men and women, as well as their spouses in complex divorce, custody and paternity cases, who work in many industries including entertainment, finance, professional sports, professionals such as lawyers, doctors and accountants, and technology. Sensitive to the needs of his many prominent clients’, Patrick works discreetly and tirelessly to achieve favorable outcomes and promote their rights.
Celebrity Divorces Are Not Usually Sensational
Celebrity divorces are often displayed by the media for the public in some way. This can be good because it helps to normalize what can happen in a divorce. They help us feel like we are not the only ones going through these experiences.
On the other hand, celebrity divorces are often sensationalized by the media and show the worst sides of everyone involved.
But these spectacular clashes between soon-to-be-celebrity-ex-spouses in full view of the public are not the norm. In fact, today’s guest, California-based family law divorce attorney Patrick Baghdaserians, who has practiced family law for over 16 years, sees quite the opposite. Most celebrity divorces are kept quiet and low-key.
The norm, according to Baghdaserians, is often quite difference. And his number one takeaway from celebrity divorces that the rest of us can learn is that in a normal celebrity divorce, celebrities often never even see a single day in court. It benefits the parties to try and resolve their differences informally through mediation or a similar alternative.
Resolving a divorce out of the courts and informally has several benefits. These include financial savings on court and attorney fees, eliminating some of the negative emotional impact of a highly contested court divorce, and not airing each person’s dirty laundry in public to be exposed for everyone. The latter can be a problem, as court documents and records are often available to the general public, such as in Los Angeles.
Working with Celebrity Divorce Clients
Patrick Baghdaserians gets his clients into mediation as soon as possible. This helps to streamline matters so you know what you are arguing over. And it can help you resolve issues that you do not want to litigate.
When celebrity divorces are settled in mediation, the public doesn’t even hear about it until after the divorce is finalized, i.e. Giselle Bündchen and Tom Brady; Jeff Besos and McKenzie Scott.
Celebrity Mindset & Mediation
Just because they have a lot of money, doesn’t mean they want to spend it on divorce lawyers and contested court battles
Topics difficult to discuss in court, like child custody, can have major psychological effects on people in a divorce, and they also don’t need these topics being addressed publicly
Some cases wind up having to be litigated in court
It takes two to tango – both spouses must be willing to mediate to avoid court
Patrick tries to help the other spouse understand that it’s not in their best interest to go to court – but sometimes this falls on deaf ears
Many encourages people to treat their soon-to-be-exes with respect throughout the whole divorce process – especially if their will be co-parenting
Celebrity Divorce Lessons
Olivia Wilde & Jason Sudeikis
Process server infamously served Olivia Wilde documents while she was speaking at a public film convention
Seemed to many like a publicity stunt by the celebrities (or one of them)
Even if Sudeikis was unaware this was going to happen, it sets a negative tone for the divorce to follow.
Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie
Raised the tricky issue of supervised visitation. This can be common – and is almost universal – in divorces that involve substance abuse treatment programs or domestic abuse, but is a difficult topic for many people
This happens more often than people think. Courts usually err on the side of caution to protect everyone’s safety, especially the children, first and foremost. But sometimes allegations are false, and supervised visitation can actually help those wrongly accused of some kind of abuse or bad parenting to do better in court
On the whole, it seems good that the Jolie-Pitt divorce helped shine a light on this issue
Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin
Conscious Uncoupling – This now accepted phrase shows a different and positive approach to co-parenting that was very new at the time in the way the media portrayed it
Their children will appreciate their positively portrayed divorce when they are older by handling the divorce informally and keeping the media and the mudslinging away from public view
There will generally always be some disputes in divorce – otherwise you probably wouldn’t be getting one – but you should not allow this to affect how you interact with each other, especially when you have children.
The psychological well-being of you and your children is the most important thing
Why Baghdaserians Is Passionate About Divorce Law
Patrick loves being a divorce attorney because he loves to advocate for and protect the people that need protection. He takes an aggressive approach on behalf of his clients because they need it.
Oftentimes, his clients lack the information they need to receive a fair divorce settlement, or are being duped into something that isn’t in their best interests. Patrick is passionate about pursuing justice on behalf of them.
California is a community property state which is supposed to mean a 50-50 split. But determining what a true 50% is can be difficult especially when a spouse is hiding the ball or not disclosing information.
Family and divorce law is also interesting – you have to be able to understand civil discovery, the family code, psychological issues, child abuse and domestic violence, etc. – Wearing lots of hates keeps the job interesting
The Most Important Lesson from Celebrity Divorce
Be cognizant of how you are perceived inside and outside of the courtroom
Act as if anything you say or do could be splattered across the homepage for TMZ or circulating the internet as a meme
Don’t put anything in writing you wouldn’t want to see distributed in those ways on the internet
Always act appropriately and like your image matters
Includes how you behave on social media
This will matter very much in court
Don’t lie or act badly and think you will be able to get away with it
Celebrities always live this way – you need to live this way when you are getting divorced
Even more true with a contested divorce
We don’t always appreciate what it means to live under a constant spotlight the way a celebrity does
About Patrick Baghdaserians
Patrick is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in the area of Family Law. Since 2007, He has represented both men and women, as well as their spouses in complex divorce, custody and paternity cases, who work in many industries including entertainment, finance, professional sports, professionals such as lawyers, doctors and accountants, and technology. These include complex financial marital dissolutions, relocation and high-conflict child custody litigation, grey divorce and sophisticated prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
In 2019, Patrick founded Baghdaserians Law Group with his long-time friend and colleague, Daniel Leonnetti. He has has been featured in local and national media regarding family law issues. He has expressed his expert opinion in the Los Angeles Times, CNN, Balancing Act television show hosted by Montell Williams and other media outlets. Sensitive to the needs of his many prominent clients’, Patrick works discreetly and tirelessly to achieve favorable outcomes and promote their rights. Known for his tenacious courtroom skills and impassioned advocacy, Patrick has gained national prominence representing the interests of families throughout the state.
Mandy Walker is a divorce mediator and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® based in Boulder, Colorado. She works with individuals and couples helping them to end their relationships with dignity and respect, creating an understanding of the process and their options so they can feel confident in the decisions they’re making.