Emily Baines
March 04, 2016 10:06 pm
GONZALO/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

I thought it was like the rule of threes: when one celebrity couple announces an impending divorce, another announcement arrives practically moments later. When Jennifer Garner and Gwen Stefani announced their divorces within days of each other this past August, the internet decried the breakups the latest in the “summer love died.” I was desolate– I mean, come on guys, Kermit and Miss Piggy split! Well the onslaught of bad news wasn’t due to some curse. According to Laura Wasser, one of Los Angeles’ top divorce lawyers (she represents both Stefani and Garner), the timing was purposeful.

She explained the strategy to Bloomberg Business:

That’s actually quite brilliant. It’s no wonder Wasser earns the big bucks!

Wasser shared with Bloomberg Business a few other strategies utilized by Hollywood divorce attorneys:

1) The best time to file a divorce petition is before a holiday weekend, when news outlets aren’t paying close attention. This makes sense. By Friday, my energy is zapped.

2) According to Wasser, the county clerk’s office at the Los Angeles Superior Court tends to tip off tabloids when a celebrity shows up in a filing. A spokesperson for the court denied this, of course. Wasser likes to file her cases in branch offices like Santa Barbara’s, where she said clerks leak fewer documents. Plus, Santa Barbara has delicious ice-cream.

3) Stars are told to tell their spouses they’re filing for divorce before they put in the papers. If they don’t, the spouse will most likely learn the bad news from the press.”The turnaround is so fast,” Wasser said. “I have to tell my clients, ‘Okay, the courier is filing it today. Okay, he’s in line to file. Okay, it’s filed. It will be on TMZ within an hour.'” It’s sad that something so personal becomes so public so soon.

4) Celebrities are advised to negotiate an agreement before they file documents. Not all the terms of those agreements make it into the official papers. “I think we worked on it a good year—no, a year and a half—before it came out on TMZ,” Melanie Griffith said of her 2014 divorce with Antonio Banderas. “And when we did file it, there were some personal things that were agreed upon by Antonio and myself that we had removed from the official papers so they wouldn’t get out.”

5) Celebrity divorce cases are often decided by private judges, sometimes in Wasser’s office. This keeps what happens during the case out of the press. Smart thinking. I wonder how much it would cost to have a judge visit at someone’s home.

6) Now that award season is over, expect more celebrity divorces to be announced this March. Wasser is currently working on about forty-five cases, some divorce. According to Wasser, divorce attorneys are more sought out in January and February, after the holidays. Separations are announced after the Oscars, when clients no longer have to worry about walking the red carpet alone.

For those of you feeling pretty pessimistic about true love, never fear! Some of our favorite celebrity couples are still going strong– including Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. Love really can last!

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