An Unusually Amicable Divorce

Here’s one you don’t see every day. According to a story published a few days ago in the New York Times a wealthy New York City couple are planning a lavish party to celebrate their divorce. Yes. Their divorce.

The “elegant evening of cocktails” for 100 was announced with “engraved invitations” signed “Fondly, Bonnie and Charles.” The paper reports that the couple, Bonnie and Charles Bronfman, have been married three years. He is 79, she is 65. The paper quotes Bonnie saying that the couple have determined their friendship will be “stronger without being married.” Charles, the billionaire former chairman of the Seagram’s Corporation, describes a relationship in which two people feeling deep attraction each thought they would broaden the other’s horizons. “Guess what? It didn’t work,” he concludes.

And the party? “We thought, why not tell our friends and thank them for helping us out?” Charles told the paper.

A friend is quoted anonymously remarking that “She must have a great prenuptial.” But remarks like that mask a more telling aspect of this break-up: it is an example of how even a potentially complex, high-value divorce does not necessarily have to be contentious. One can acknowledge that the Bronfmans’ comity is unusually deep while also seeing in their break-up a reminder that there is such a thing as a civilized divorce. The question, of course, is how does one keep a break-up civilized? Many couples start out wanting things to go smoothly and believing they can remain friendly only to see those hopes unravel.

From the perspective of an Orange County divorce lawyer, the important thing to emphasize is that legal counsel’s job is to provide clients with the advice they need and the sort of representation they want. Events sometimes make an amicable divorce impossible even when both parties say that is what they desire. An experienced Orange County family law attorney can also, however, sometimes find unexpected areas of agreement and, in so doing, help lower the volume in a break-up spinning out of control. That is why is it important to have an attorney with whom you are comfortable – one who will tell you the uncomfortable things you may have to hear, but who will also defend your interests in whatever manner you have decided is best for you.

The New York Times: Divorce, in Style