Settlement Agreements a la Madonna and Guy Ritchie

Madonna and Guy Ritchie have apparently reached a settlement agreement. It is rumored that she has agreed to pay him $60,000,000.00, and also to give him title to certain pieces of real property, namely a castle in the English Countryside, and a pub they co-owned in the heart of London. There has been no word yet about the custody of the three children, but my hunch is that Madonna will be the custodial parent, or it will be joint. Madonna is not going to give up her children without a fight. Since there is no fight, then I think they agreed to give her custody.
In New York, many divorces, including high profile ones involving celebrities and high net worth individuals, settle. Those that do not settle are usually in for long and protracted fight. There is often a corresponding loss of privacy, huge legal bills, and a lot of anger on both sides when this happens. That is not to suggest that going to trial is a bad idea. Sometimes you have no choice but to go to trial. You have no choice but to stand up for your rights and for your fair share, even if it means losing your privacy, and a bit of dignity. Pride feels no pain, but if you are being shafted in a settlement, you should go to trial.
After all, it is not every monied spouse who is as reasonable as Madonna seems to be. And sometimes it is not even about the money. People are just angry and they have an ax to grind. Or they are disappointed. Or they are hurt and the only way they feel vindicated is to put the other party through a public flogging. Nobody else has to agree with it. It is a totally personal decision. If the angry party is my client, I make a point of not passing judgment. I always advise clients, “You are the one who lived through this marriage. I will do what you want me to do – so long as it is within the purview of the law.”
But there is no question that a settlement agreement is a favored outcome in New York divorces in lieu of a trial. The judges prefer it and many of the parties prefer it. And some lawyers prefer it too. Lawyers make a considerable sum from defending a trial (trials are really expensive, folks,) but often times the emotional fall out is considerable, and they (some lawyers) would probably much rather work collaboratively and cooperatively with the other side to reach a settlement that works for both parties.