Dror Bikel, Manhattan divorce attorney, author of the bestseller The One Percent Divorce: When Titans Clash. Celebrity divorcees need to consider not just the money, but their brands.
Ted Garcia: A former quarterback, Jay Cutler, and his wife, Kristin Cavallari, are beginning what looks like to be a nasty divorce, or maybe a conscious uncoupling.
Ladona Harvey: No, this one looks more like a nasty one.
Garcia: And recently billionaire, Jeff Bezos, split with his wife for his girlfriend.
Harvey: Yeah, that always looks good, you know. Dror Bikel is a Manhattan divorce attorney, author of the best-seller, "The 1% Divorce: When Titans Clash." And in divorces like these, do the celebrities involved need to not just think of the money but also think of their brands?
Dror Bikel: Hi. Good morning, guys. Yeah, certainly protecting your brand is one of the most important parts of the divorce, and Kristin Cavallari has a brand. She's trying to make it in the clothing industry and wellness. And she certainly doesn't want to be involved in a contentious divorce to kind of dilute what people view as kind of a clean brand. She certainly doesn't want to spoil it with a bad divorce. So, it looks like things are deteriorating between them, unfortunately.
Garcia: So, in that situation, they married young. Does that usually weigh into it?
Bikel: Well, when you marry young, your personalities are often not fully formed, and these two got married pretty young. She was 26. He was 29. My experience doing this for 25 years when people get married young and then they get divorced a couple of years later, they often for whatever reason fight like cats and dogs and, unfortunately, for Kristin and Jay, it looks like things are kind of going south right now in their divorce.
Harvey: So, kind of in opposition to that in the Bezos divorce, he runs off with a friend of his and his wife's, and the optics are awful, but the divorce was fast and it appeared to be clean. So, how did they manage that?
Bikel: Well, he can thank his ex-wife for that because she was clearly not driven by jealously or by emotion or anything like that, and she had decided that she was going to resolve that divorce amicably. She behaved in an extremely mature manner, and she could have drawn this out for years and years and years.
She accepted the divorce. She accepted his new relationship. And she may be in a new relationship as well. We don't know. But she had made the decision to do this amicably. He was lucky because he was with another woman. So, he can thank her for that amicable divorce.
Garcia: Earlier we did an interview with someone who said, "People are going to reach their breaking point during this pandemic around mid-June." Do you think that once life gets back to semi-normal you are going to see a spike in divorce cases?
Bikel: You know, everybody's saying that. To be honest, I'm not so sure. There's a couple reasons why people may want to stay together. Number one, it's the economy. It costs more money to carry two households, two mortgages, two rents. So, for economic reasons alone, people may decide to stay together. Number two is health insurance. When you're married, you can stay on your spouse's health insurance. You can't when you're divorced and people are worried about being infected.
And number three, I'm seeing a lot of people having this kind of "us against the virus" mentality, this kind of fox-hole mentality where they're trying to stay healthy, they're worried about their family, they're worried about their children, and in some cases, it's actually strengthening some family bonds. So, I don't necessarily see an immediate spike in divorces.
Harvey: So, if somebody is contemplating a divorce, how can you, because you mentioned Bezos' wife kept things very, very calm, how should you go about it in order to get out of the marriage with the least amount of hassle possible instead of turning it into a grudge match?
Bikel: That's a great question, and people always ask me, "How do you make the divorce amicable?" It's the same spiel, frankly, that makes a marriage work. It's really the same thing which is, "Be kind. Be kind to your spouse. Be generous to your spouse. Be thoughtful. Even if you're angry and upset, be kind. Be generous."
If both sides do that, then you will have an amicable divorce. If you're driven by anger, if you're driven by hurt and by pain, and if you're using the legal process to play out your anger, which is what a lot of people do, then you're in for a long, contentious divorce.
Garcia: Dror Bikel, Manhattan divorce attorney. Thank you so much for your time this morning.
Bikel: Thank you for having me.