3 Things to Learn from Celebrity Divorces


3 Things to Learn from Celebrity Divorces

In this episode we will uncover Life Lessons from the most talked-about breakups, 3 Things to Learn from Celebrity Divorces and how they can help you when it come to your own divorce, and how to handle a divorce with children and obtaining a higher education degree.

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[00:00] Erin Birt: Welcome to the Restorative Divorce podcast, where we focus on all things divorce and parenting related. To help you find clarity, stay informed, and stay out of family court. With 20 plus years of family law experience, our attorney and mediator, Erin Birt, has seen too many times how family court will negatively impact your health, your relationship with your kids, and your wallet. This podcast aims to turn that around and empower our listeners to take back control of their family law process and their lives by working with divorced professionals that seek to help and not hurt. Our goal is to provide you with expert tips that you can implement today to restore your finances, emotional well being, and coparenting skills. Of course, our team at Birtlaw.com is always here to customize a restorative divorce plan for you, but for now, listen to this episode to get help today.

[01:01] Erin Birt: Okay? Thank you for joining us for another complimentary gathering with Bert Law. I'm Erin          Birt, I'm the mediator and attorney here at the firm, and I am joined with me by my other team members who I will let introduce themselves.

[01:15] Tyler Birt: My name is Tyler Birt. I am the paralegal and office manager at the firm.

[01:21] Karen Hansel: Hi, everyone. My name is Karen Hansel, and I'm the administrative assistant for the firm.

#1 3 Things to Learn from Celebrity Divorces

Erin Birt: Thanks for everybody joining us today. We will start off talking about a general divorce and family centered topic and we'll take some questions that maybe have come up over the last week that can benefit our listeners and something the team was talking about not too long ago. Here was coming across an article that talked about three things that you can learn from celebrity divorces. And I think there's probably a lot that you can learn from celebrity divorces that relate to finances or custody matters. But this article highlighted a couple of just recommendations for people that are contemplating marriage and then also contemplating divorce. And Tyler, you actually found this article. What did you find interesting about the article?

3 Things to Learn from Celebrity Divorces: Don't Rush

[02:19] Tyler Birt: I did. So the article was three Things We can learn from Celebrity Divorce. And it's just interesting to me in that when you read about celebrity divorces and you read about celebrities and their lives and everything that they do for their crafts and all that, when it comes down to divorce and family, it's not much different than the general public. And so in this particular article, the three things that they recommend that we can learn from celebrity divorces. Number one, don't rush into marriage. And I think that's something that can be applied across society.

3 Things to Learn from Celebrity Divorces: Be Respectful & Honest

The second thing is be honest and respectful. Now, obviously, everybody, you should always try to be honest and respectful. I think maybe that plays into the celebrity part a little bit. Celebrities, depending on what they're famous for, right? Actors, actresses, that kind of stuff, they pretend to be other people and pretend to be characters. So maybe that's something.

3 Things to Learn from Celebrity Divorces: Put Children First

The third thing they recommended was when you do decide to divorce, put the children first. And for celebrities, I would say that is probably a big deal because they have such a status. And good or bad, celebrities can be very egotistical, right? I mean, they have to be thinking about themselves all the time. So maybe it's harder to put children first. I do think as it relates to kind of our firm and our area of work, we may see the last part of that. Right. People come to us already contemplating divorce and deciding to divorce, and as a firm, we always try to put the children first. You doing your gal work where you work for the children or represent the children in their parents divorces or parentage cases. Clients that we have, we always tend to put the children first. So I think in the order that those were written out, I do think putting children first before yourselves as you go through the divorce process, the separation process, if you're not married, the parentage aspects of splitting with a significant other, I think really keeping that child focused first attitude is a good way to go through the process.

3 Things to Learn from Celebrity Divorces: How To Use Lessons Learned

[05:42] Erin Birt: Yeah, I agree, Tyler, Here at Birtlaw, not only do we recommend our clients or any families we work with have a child centered divorce, we actually work on those issues first. We focus on parenting time, parenting schedule, parenting decision making responsibilities first. And that is, regardless of your process, if you're coming through our office for a two party divorce, meaning you're going through mediation, and I'm your mediator, we will start to work on a calendar for what does your schedule look like. And that's what the first thing we do in the session is. We start talking about parenting time, what's been customary in your family, what are we going to do for their schedule? Sunday through Monday? Or excuse me, did I say that wrong? Monday through Sunday, can we really focus on the children's issues first and then we move on to financial support or asset, debts, and liabilities? And so our primary focus, we primarily work with young dual income families with children, and we do focus on all of the parenting matters first.

And it might sound, why do you do that? Finances are going to overlap because children are expensive. Children have costs. They have things that need to be paid for. Yes, everything in divorce bleeds into one another. It's very hard to focus on one topic and segregate it from a financial topic, but that's how we do it. It's how we can productively move forward. We keep things child centered. We know financial matters will come into play, but we deal with those separately. Otherwise, it's very hard for our clients to move forward because you're dealing with emotional aspects, you're dealing with financial aspects, and you get overwhelmed very fast.

So we're going to break it down into just digestible pieces, things that we can focus on, work on, hopefully agree about and move on to the next task. And so being child centered, I think that that's a very valuable lesson.

I think the other two lessons that Tyler, you talked about, don't rush into things, be honest and respectful, I think those are good examples of what to do during your marriage. So hopefully you can either reconcile or you don't need divorce services. But if you do find yourself contemplating or needing divorce services, those are two very good examples of how to approach your divorce process as well. Don't rush into it. Think about it. There are people, professionals that can talk to you about whether divorce is a good option for you. There are mental health professionals. There are people called discernment counselors. And if you need any, referrals to those people to help you decide. Do you stay in this relationship? Do you make commitments for maybe the next six months to work on your relationship? Or do you move forward with your divorce? But take your time. Don't rush, plan. Know what you might be in for by talking to other divorce professionals and then be prepared to go through the process.

When I have clients that are prepared, they are able to go through the process more calmly or they're able to handle the stress of the process better than if somebody rushed into it, didn't think about it, didn't plan for it.

And then be honest and respectful. That sounds counterintuitive when you're going through the divorce process because you might have a partner that is not honest and respectful. But if you hold yourself accountable and you're honest and respectful, if you're going through the mediation process, there has to be a basis, a certain amount of trust and support for what you're talking about in mediation if you're not in court. And also if you are going through the court process, you need to be honest with anything that you're tendering to the court or tendering to the other side. So if you follow those examples that we've learned from this article, don't rush, be honest and respectful and be child centered. I think you are going to have a productive divorce process that allows you to have a certain type of relationship post divorce. And what we hope for is that relationship is an amicable relationship. You co parent successfully together and you're not thinking about all of the animosity that grew during the divorce process.

3 Things to Learn from Celebrity Divorces: In the Middle of Divorce?

[10:35] Tyler Birt: Yeah, I think just to touch on that, like you said, you're already in this process. And if you can kind of use those ideas as a foundation, whether it's in the middle of the process and the spouse or significant other, whoever does something rash, that doesn't mean you need to do something rash, right? That's what you mean. Don't rush into anything even in the process. And I think that's a great thing to do. And maybe there hasn't been honesty and respectfulness throughout the relationship. But that can all start now. And being child centered, coming out on the other side with a restorative family, because obviously the family has broken down along the way. And if you can come out on the other side restored as co parents and separate but equal families, I think everybody can move on and have a good life moving forward. Right. Taking all of those things into account can bring your current situation into a restored position on the other side.

[12:03] Erin Birt: Exactly. And think about the example that you're setting for your children. And so ultimately, that's what we want here. When we talk about restorative divorce processes, we are hoping to help the parents restore any imbalance that they feel has occurred during the breakdown of their marriage. But it's also to restore the children's faith in growing up and having a view of adult relationships that are positive. They see their parents not rushing into rash decisions, they see their parents being honest and respectful to one another. And they have a sense that despite what my parents went through, they put me first. And so just think about the generational change that can occur, just how you handle, what is a mature decision in most cases, “I need to end this relationship and how can I do that in the best way”, it's setting a good example for your children. If you can just take a deep breath, put aside all of the problems that have happened, and follow those examples of not rushing, be honest and respectful and keep your kids first place.

#2: Divorcing with Children while Attending College or Higher Education

One topic that came up this week was I'm either involved in getting a degree or I'm in higher education currently, or I'm hoping to have a career change and go back to school. And how does that affect my divorce process or my divorce if I happen to be following that path? So to put it another way, if I'm in college or if I'm getting a PhD or another degree, how can I get divorced right now? What are some things that we have to consider? And I think that's a big worry for people. Right. You're constantly hearing if you're not happy in this job, you can go back to school and change jobs, or you had kids young, and then maybe you are going back to school and trying to be self supportive or to follow your dreams. And so we have a lot of clients that come through our office that do find themselves in that situation that I didn't expect to get divorced. So now I'm going to go back to school so that I can get a better income or I went back to school, and now my life is taking a different direction and my marriage is no longer successful.

And what are some of the things to consider while doing that? Something that I just want people to realize is that you can still respectfully end your marriage while you are in the middle of a life transition. There are some things that might be a little bit more complex, but there are ways we can address those. But first and foremost, tying into our last conversation is if you have young children and somebody is a full time student or going back to school, what does that look like, and how do we balance raising children under those circumstances? And it's complicated while you're married, and it can also be complicated while you are divorcing.

But a tip to think about and to maybe contemplate, if you are thinking about divorcing is what has the last 24 months looked like? If you have a spouse or you yourself have been going back to school and you're relying maybe on the other spouse to do some of the child care, what does that look like or what does your schedule really allow you to do as it relates to caretaking responsibilities? But the biggest takeaway is we look at either the age of the child, what occurred during the age, if that child is less than two years old, or we look at what's been the customary pattern for the last two years before you started the divorce process or filed a petition in court. And so those 24 months, what we're really just trying to look at is what's customary for the children, and if that pattern is still in their best interests, can we continue that? Do we need to make any slight changes to that? And does it allow both parents to become self supporting individuals? Can you complete your degree? Can you know the children are safe with the other parent? When does that education stop? Do we then have a stepping up plan where maybe parenting time looks a little bit different, but the 24 month period, that's kind of a magic period where attorneys, mediators, guardian, ad litems, they're focusing on about two years before the breakdown of the marriage. What does that look like and what are the children used to and can that be sustained, or does that need to change? So as it relates to children and being involved in higher education, we have to look at that 24 month period.

[17:16] Tyler Birt: So a question that comes to mind with that is, I know you said you can do both. Should people who are in the midst of separation and looking at the 24 month period and during that 24 month period, they went to school full time and somebody the significant other or family, right? Everybody relies on family to help out. Somebody was watching the child at that point. Would you say that maybe when you say parenting time has to change, things like that, maybe the person has to maybe cut it to half time going to school? Or is it, well, the last 24 months you were going full time, so I'm going to assume you're going full time and then base anything on that. Do you have any kind of cases or in the past that kind of looked at that.

[18:30] Erin Birt: I think some things to consider are where are you in that process of earning your degree or secondary degree or higher education degree? If you are just starting out, what does that look like? How do we prioritize that so that you can either get into the workforce and then know what your schedule is customarily going to look like?

Parenting time can be modified. We generally would like to see the next two and a half, three years be somewhat stable for children. So if you're at the beginning of that journey, we might have a very different parenting schedule than we would if you're at the end of that journey and you're about to graduate and you've already got a job lined, up. If you're at the end of the journey and we know a little bit more about what your schedule will look like, we can be more future focused and say, well, then a parenting schedule that incorporates what we know can be appropriate.

If you're at the beginning of the journey, probably a good approach could be a triggering event for modifying your parenting time would be when you graduate or when you know what your next step is. Are you getting a new job or is it an internship or is it a fellowship? What is that next step? So there probably would be like a review period.

Now, some people might have more flexibility to parent and go to school than they would if they worked a nine to five job. So we have to take that into consideration too. And then others might say, I am so prioritizing being with my children and wanting to be the primary caretaker that I do go part time, I am working part time, I'm going to school part time, or I have the ability to just go to school part time and be with my children the other time.

 So it really depends on your parenting goals, your academic goals, and where you're at in the process. And once we analyze all of those factors, we can help you come up creatively with a schedule that works for the parents, works for the children, and considers any changes that are ahead.

[20:48] Tyler Birt: That makes sense.

[20:49] Erin Birt: The other thing that I'll just lightly touch on is that when you are divorcing with somebody that's either a full time student or they're about to have a change in their career, you'll want to talk with us about, again, the circumstances. Does this degree mean somebody might have higher income? So that's going to trickle down and be in the best interest of the children, give them more resources for activities, for schooling, for environment.

So how does that play into financial support for the children? And if it's a divorce, it's not just a parenting issue. How does that might play into financial support between the spouses? So there's a parenting component to divorcing while in higher education and there's a financial component. And sometimes we have to either rely on the person's research and maybe their job expectations, and sometimes we have to actually use an expert that can say, oh, this person's in nursing, they can expect to earn X amount of dollars upon obtaining their degree. And so we might have a vocational expert provide information so that people can rely on that for the time being to structure what their financial settlement also looks like.

So it can be complicated, but doing your homework, getting the appropriate people involved to give you information to consider early on is your best course of action. And then we'll deal with the parenting matters and the financial matters based on goals and your factual circumstances. Okay. Are there any other topics or questions to cover today? We did actually cover a lot just based on those two topics about some perhaps things to learn from celebrity divorces and also things to consider if you are considering a career change and also considering ending your marriage, some of the things that you need to think about.

Any other maybe wrap up questions on either of those issues?

[23:10] Tyler Birt: No, I don't have anything.

[23:12] Karen Hansel: No, I'm all set. Thank you.

Erin Birt: Okay, well, anybody that wants to have a question answered at a future complimentary gathering, feel free to send those in via email. You can also contact us through our website on our contact page. You can also attend these sessions live. Let us know if you'd like to come RSVP. We will send you a zoom link to be able to join us, and we will also give you some instructions on how to keep the process confidential. And again, thanks for being here. Any questions, let us know. We'll cover it at a future session.

[23:55] Erin Birt: Thanks for listening to the Restorative Divorce podcast with your hosts, attorney and mediator Erin Birt and our paralegal, Tyler Birt. A special thanks to our contributors and to the authors of the many articles that inspire us and keep our clients informed. We hope you enjoyed our deep dive into the separation, divorce, or parenting tips covered today that you can use now to help restore yourself.

[24:20] Erin Birt: If you strive to improve your life or the lives of your children after a separation or divorce, join us next week when we will cover more Restorative Divorce topics. You can head over to Birtlaw.com to get the podcast transcripts, follow us on social media, and even find more valuable family law information all for your benefit. Get help today and work with us one on one. Contact us to set up a consultation or planning session to start rebuilding your life today. Enjoy this day and we'll see you next time.


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Our Attorneys

  • Erin Birt

    Since 2003, Erin N. Birt, J.D., CADC has focused her practice on pa...

  • Tyler Birt

    Since 2007, Tyler Birt has been a legal assistant and bookkeeper fo...

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