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What you can learn from celebrity divorces

The celebrity divorce du jour is that of Debra Messing, star of the sitcom "Will and Grace." The actress reportedly filed for divorce Tuesday, making headlines all over the country. Here in the Phoenix area, it is pretty hard to stay away from the divorce tales of the rich and famous. From Heidi Klum and Seal, to Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries to Guy Ritchie and Madonna--whether you follow the work of these stars, you likely know a bit about their relationship troubles.

And whether celebrity gossip interests you or not, Arizona residents can learn a thing or two from these high-profile divorces.

  • The importance of a prenuptial agreement: What celebrity divorce shows us time and time again is that things are messier without a prenup. Even Arizona residents of more modest means can benefit from the legal document that states who owns what. Additionally, drafting a prenuptial agreement during the engagement period provides an opportunity for couples to discuss financial priorities, which can help prevent marital disputes later.
  • Be respectful: It is extremely important not to slander your ex-to-be during divorce proceedings. Emotions are running high when a couple is on the verge of breaking up, and it is natural to want to say negative things at every opportunity. Many celebrity divorces show that public insults and gossip only succeed in dragging out a divorce and showing everyone in a poor light. It is important to be as respectful as possible because gossip and negative comments can come back to bite you later in front of a judge.
  • Follow child custody agreements: It is important to follow agreements that have been determined in court. If you do not, this will likely result in more costly court time and it will probably hurt your case for custody. However, if you are breaking a custody agreement because of domestic violence or substance abuse risks, it may be best to immediately consult police or your family law attorney.

One final thing that can be learned from celebrities is not to over-share. While it is important to have a confidant during tough times, divorce is very personal. Rather than signing up for a reality show, reserve personal divorce conversations for a counselor, trusted friend and family law attorney. Involving strangers or acquaintances in your divorce, by venting on Facebook for example, may create evidence that your spouse may use as a weapon against you in court.

Celebrities--with their personal stylists, spokespeople and handlers--show us how hard it can be to keep it together during the highly emotional time of divorce. But it can be done and professional legal counsel can help.

Source: Huffington Post, "Celebrity Divorce: What It Can Teach Us," Silvana D. Raso, June 5, 2012

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