California’s celebrity crowd is known for setting trends in fashion and the arts, but you probably don’t think of Tom Cruise and Kim Kardashian as trendsetters in California divorce. Yet, these two celebrities and many others, including models and professional athletes, are consistently choosing mediation to finalize their divorces in California and elsewhere.

The increase in the number of famous faces turning to mediation is representative of an overall increase in the number of divorces settled through alternative dispute resolution. Wondering whether this is a trend in California divorce is right for you or this is one time to break from the celebrity crowd? Here’s a look at why so many celebrities are choosing mediation for their divorce and some signs its also right for you.

The Possibility of a Disastrous California Divorce

There are several famous examples of a celebrity divorce going horribly wrong. Among some of the more infamous are the split between Paul McCartney and Heather Mills and Steven Spielberg’s divorce from Amy Irving. These divorces weren’t just public and messy for the couples in the spotlight, but also incredibly expensive for the parties involved. The lack of privacy and exceptional cost are two reasons that drive other celebrities to consider alternative dispute resolution through mediation.

In general, mediation is faster and less expensive than finalizing a California divorce through the courts. In mediation, both parties are represented by a divorce lawyer and confer with an impartial mediator. The mediator listens to the arguments of the spouses and seeks points of compromise. By suggesting certain areas of agreement or room to compromise, the mediator assists the parties in finding common ground on all issues of divorce.

A California divorce can only be finalized through mediation when every point of contention is agreed upon. This means some divorce mediations can conclude in as little as one day, while many celebrity divorces tend to take several sessions as issues involving children and visitation can be difficult to settle.

Attractive Qualities of Mediation for a California Divorce

Celebrities are mostly turning to mediation as a way to move their divorce proceedings out of the spotlight. An ongoing divorce that has benefited from private mediation is the end of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s marriage. The couple has engaged in a long and difficult custody battle over the past few years, but the extent and details of this dispute have been mainly restricted to private conversations. This is in contrast to the media attention that would’ve occurred had this argument played out in court.

While confidentiality is incredibly important, there are other reasons to choose mediation for a California divorce. Mediation allows a couple more control over the terms and outcomes of their divorce settlement. There is far more latitude to determine what is fair or appropriate, as the decisions and compromises are left entirely to the couple. As well, the couple has more control over procedure, timing, and similar issues because there is no need to involve the requirements of a divorce court. This works well for celebrity and non-celebrity couples that truly want to control the process.

Despite the leniency and control that mediation allows, the spouses are still permitted the advice and counsel of a divorce lawyer. Legal counsel during mediation can be incredibly important to reach an outcome.

When Mediation Is Still Costly for a California Divorce

While some celebrity divorces are shining examples of mediation working smoothly and efficiently to settle a California divorce, others of the most expensive divorces were also brokered through alternative dispute resolution. For example, Madonna’s settlement with former husband Guy Richie was a minimum $76 million. And while Kevin Costner and ex-wife Cindy Silva amicably settled all their California divorce issues, it cost him an estimated $80 million.

Of course, a substantial part of the cost of these divorces is attributed to the sheer amount of marital property that needs to be divided. The outcomes are also indicative of instances when mediation might not be a top choice for finalizing a California divorce. Namely, if a California divorce is riddled with contention or highly debated issues, then mediation might not be the best path.

Mediation is also ineffective when only one spouse is seeking a divorce. When a divorce is one-sided, it is harder to reach compromises on financial, custodial, and property issues. There is already a hesitancy to come to the table or discuss divorce at all, which makes negotiation incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

Do you think mediation could work for your California divorce? Contact our team at the Bledsoe Firm to learn more about our dedication to alternative dispute resolution and uncontested divorces. You can reach a California divorce lawyer in our office by calling (949) 363-5551.


23101 Lake Center Dr, Suite 310, Lake Forest, CA 92630