As 2010 comes to a close, I can’t help but look back and realize how much “family law” was in the news (click on the stories for articles on each). There was the Goldman international custody case between U.S. and Brazilian citizens as well as gay marriage debates, laws and rulings nationwide, culminating with perhaps the most reported case of all, Proposition 8 in California (click for Associated Press Video).
There were countless celebrity divorce and family law cases in the news. Just think of Mel Gibson, Tiger Woods, Octomom, Kate Gosselin, Sandra Bullock and perhaps the biggest of all, The McCourts (Owners of the L.A. Dodgers).
There is the Tony Parker v. Eva Longoria case and the Charlie Sheen divorce.
It is time for the media to start looking back and summarizing the stories that made news. CNN has already written one on celebrities’ troubles.
Still, what continues to amaze me, is how interested the public is in other people’s lives. Have we become a voyeuristic society? Or do we simply take comfort in knowing that even those who seem to have it all are not immune from the same type of pain and emotional (and often financial and physical) agony the rest of us may endure?
As a family law attorney it is often difficult to see so much hardship. But our role as lawyers is to help reduce that pain. To counsel and to make a bad situation a little better, or at least tolerable. Often we are the only ones who can see the light at the end of the tunnel; that there will be a tomorrow. So perhaps the most important thing we can do is to reassure our clients that tomorrow does come. And look, here it is, 2011. Many people have suffered in 2010, but many have made it through to a new year. Here’s to hoping that things get better for those who had a rough 2010, and that those who didn’t, continue to be blessed in 2011 and beyond.
Is infidelity epidemic for athletes? I think not. But I do think that famous people have more opportunities for, are given more opportunities for, or are solicited more for extra marital relationships than the average person. Does that make it okay? No. Does that make it a little easier to understand, yes.
I am often asked why athletes or other famous people seem to have more extramarital relationships than the average person. First I am not convinced that is true. But second, if it is true, there must be some explanation, even if we don’t like the explanation. One such explanation is that the offer or opportunity is probably much more present for these high profile folks. Should they resist, sure. Are they human, sure. Is it human to cheat?????? Having sex is human. Seduction is human.
ESPN just wrote an article on this topic and interviewed me about it (that is what gave me the idea for this blog entry). You can see the article by clicking here. What is interesting to me is not the cheating, but America’s fascination with it. Stories of infidelity amongst the famous are always big news. Tony Parker, Tiger Woods, A-Rod, Bill Clinton and on and on. Why do we care? Perhaps it is because we expect more from our heroes. We expect that those whom we admire, those who are more athletic than the rest of us, more successful than the rest of us would also be more moral than the rest of us. After all, we are supposed to play by the rules, why shouldn’t they, especially when they already have so much. Perhaps the fascination is with the fact that the rich and famous are never satisfied, even though we would be if we had a tenth of their wealth, fame or success (but would we?).
To me the real issue is the relationship that is being hurt. If there is a family that is otherwise working well, extramarital affairs are quite an obstacle. In my experience, it seems that most such affairs start well after the marriage is on the down turn. Yes new relationships should wait until a marriage has fully ended, but we are not a patient species.
I do not have the answers, but I do enjoy asking the questions, which is a good place to start. Tell me what you thing by commenting.
As I discussed in a recent blog entry, private resolution of potentially public disputes is a real challenge, but almost always worth the effort. Even though the Tiger vs. Elin divorce (click for Washington Post story) garnered about as much press as any in recent history, apparently they were able to reach resolution privately. At least at this point, the terms of the settlement have been kept secret and that is a compliment to the parties, their lawyers, the lawyers’ office staffs and the family and friends of the parties who may have been privy to details. My congratulations to the parties and the lawyers for keeping the terms private, at least so far.
There is so much speculation about the impending Tiger v. Elin settlement, that it is hard to know what the agreement will be. It seems Tiger wants Elin to keep things private and it looks like Elin will be compensated well for that. But $750,000,000.00? That seems like quite an overpayment and I imagine the settlement numbers will be much lower.
But so what? It is their business. He earned the money and she is his wife and the mother of his children (paternity claims of others notwithstanding). My point is that these two have shared things that no one else can fully understand or appreciate. Any settlement is a compromise between two people where each obtains something they want. Based on the public speculation and intermittent reports, it seems Tiger wants privacy and Elin wants financial security. What do those terms mean? It is up to them. Sure we can all speculate and say that she is overreaching or that he is overpaying (some say there is no amount he can pay for what he did, but many would feel that several million would be a good start if their spouse tried to purchase their forgiveness).
But the real answer to what will the settlement be, is: whatever they choose. They both have able counsel and will ultimately each get what they want or they will not reach an agreement. Tiger can seemingly afford a luxurious settlement amount and Elin, with such financial security can likely be convinced to keep it all private. She has so far. If it was truly all about vengeance, it seems she would have gone public by now. So, good for each of them. For working on it privately and for possibly resolving such a large division of assets rather quickly, efficiently and secretly.