Leave the Salacious Details to the Tabloids
by Brad LaMorgese | Contributor
Whether it is from tabloid TV shows, pop culture magazines, or online gossip pages, it is hard not to feel inundated by today’s celebrity-driven media coverage. That said, these outlets might be forgiven for digging up and promoting every little sensational detail of the latest A-List Hollywood divorce. They are, as the saying goes, just giving the public what it wants.
As we saw following the recent announcement that Amber Heard filed for divorce from Johnny Depp amid allegations of domestic abuse, Hollywood splits have developed into a salacious amalgamation of soap opera and spectator sport closely followed by the public. With each new headline, the divide has deepened between those supporting Depp and those who believe Heard has spent the past four years living a nightmare.
Indeed, when the details of a celebrity divorce become public, it can be hard to look away. Unfortunately, with the ubiquity of social media where “oversharing” is often the norm rather than the exception, the same can often be said for divorces of the not-so-rich-and-famous as well.
While some celebrities, even in a divorce, may covet the public limelight, scorched-earth tactics in the “real world” can, not only complicate ongoing legal proceedings, but can also damage the well-being of those who are breaking up and those closest to them.
Letting friends know that you have made the difficult decision to end your marriage may be prudent, but no matter how hurt you may be emotionally, you should resist the urge to rant on social media or start a word-of-mouth campaign maligning your partner. This is especially true when children are involved. No matter how much you may try to shield them, their sense of family and security will be threatened by the news that their parents are divorcing; so it is important to remember that while you are their support system, they are not yours. You are their source of comfort, something that will be undermined by exposure to your social media confessions and unfiltered accusations.
Divorce is life-altering, and it is important to have trusted confidants – particularly a close friend or your attorney – who will listen and support you throughout this rocky time. However, it is certainly not the concern of the neighbor from third grade whom you recently rediscovered on Facebook. Whatever comfort might be gained in the short-term from rallying family and friends to “your side” will eventually erode, and such personal attacks can serve to open the floodgates to reciprocal accusations from your partner.
Legal matters are rarely, if ever, best served by being tried in the court of public opinion, and that is particularly true when it comes to family law matters. Divorce ranks at the top of the list of most stressful life events, right up there with death of a loved one, job loss, and serious illness. Although there is no doubt that divorce takes a heavy emotional toll on everybody involved, how you decide to cope with that stress will help determine how quickly things start to get better. Putting your personal pain on display will only prolong the animosity and delay the healing process. When in doubt, take the high road.
Brad LaMorgese is a partner in the Family Law boutique Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP. He regularly represents clients in trials and appeals involving high stakes legal disputes, including matters involving interstate jurisdiction disputes, prenuptial agreement litigation, property divisions, custody, and visitation.