The Politics and Privacy Issues of Celebrity Divorce in Arizona

Q: Can a public couple divorce in a private manner?

No one enters a marriage expecting less than happily ever after. Sadly, family law attorneys— and divorce statistics–indicate that that isn’t always the long-term outcome.

While divorce is tough on any couple, when celebrities divorce, it’s extra stressful to have your personal business aired in public. And we’re not just talking about couples on the “Brangelina” level– but local celebrities as well.

Recently, Phoenix Vice Mayor Kate Gallego and her husband, U.S. Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), took to social media to announce that the process to end their six-year marriage has started. Understandably, they requested that their privacy be respected and don’t plan to elaborate on any further details regarding the end of their marriage.

Couples who are able to agree on all the terms of their divorce without handing the decision-making power over to a judge can maintain a greater level of privacy than those who must resort to filing a traditional divorce action. But that can be hard to do at such an emotional and stressful time.

In addition to being a local political “power couple”, the Gallegos are expecting their first child in January and the mother-to-be indicated that preparing for his birth and “being the best mother she can be” are her major priorities.

While couples without children can divorce with no further ties (other than possibly spousal support), people with children can look forward to a co-parenting relationship with each other at least until the children are grown—if not forever. In Arizona, “child custody” and “visitation” are referred to as “legal decision-making” and “parenting time”, respectively.

Unlike existing children who will have their daily routine of living with both parents under one roof disrupted, an expected child like the Gallegos’ baby will be born into a two-family household with a legal decision-making and parenting time arrangement. The courts look favorably on both parents financially supporting and spending time with their children as that is generally in the best interests of the children. In addition to custody and visitation, other issues to iron out include child support, possible spousal support, and the division of a couple’s marital property and assets.

Couples can attempt to amicably and more privately work out the terms of their divorce through various means including negotiation, mediation, and collaborative divorce. These methods often involve lawyers or mediators, but do not involve a referee or judge managing the divorce. However, many parties are not able to agree on all terms and wind up commencing a traditional action for divorce—effectively rolling the dice and leaving the decision-making to a judge.

If you are considering divorce, Cohen Family Law in Phoenix has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of family law matters and can help you with mediation, collaborative divorce, or traditional divorce. Call us at 602-714-8898 for a free consultation. We understand a couple’s desire for privacy as well as the emotional and mental toll the divorce process places on a family and have been helping families throughout Arizona since 1982.