As we all know, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen were recently divorced.  It was clearly a newsworthy event as both spouses are famous public figures.  But what was most shocking about the news was the fact that they got divorced so quickly.  In fact, it was almost shockingly quick, given that their collective net worth was reportedly about $650 million.  How is it possible that a couple with so many assets could have divorced so quickly?  One would have expected a long, drawn-out divorce battle that spanned years.  But no, mere weeks passed from the time it was announced that they were divorcing to when they finalized things.

Having no involvement in the case, I can only speculate as to how this proceeded.  But I do know that they reportedly filed for divorce as an “uncontested divorce”.  In other words, when they filed for the divorce, they already had a settlement agreement finalized and signed.  And this is a great way to get divorced quickly and easily.

Very often, clients come to me and explain their situation.  They have some assets, they may have some children, and both parties are well aware of all financial and practical facts.  If both spouses are on good terms and both are acting reasonably, there is no reason for everyone to go through a long, expensive, and very stressful divorce process.  Rather, the two spouses can work together to simply negotiate a divorce agreement before anyone files for divorce.

And we do this all the time.  All it takes is cooperation and a desire for both parties to work it out.  This is not appropriate for all cases, of course.  If the parties don’t know about all available assets, or someone is hiding money, or there are complications with valuing assets (like if someone owns a business), then this process won’t work.  Nor will it work if one side or another is being too unreasonable or too angry to discuss it.  But if everyone can put hurt feelings aside and treat the situation like a business deal, it is very possible to simply work out a settlement agreement, finalize and sign it, and then simply file your divorce as an uncontested matter that is already settled.  This can save the family tens of thousands of dollars in some cases.

But these agreements are still complicated and they usually do require the expertise of an experienced attorney.  You would also need the expertise of an attorney to know what should be negotiated in such an agreement and how to word it so that it is legally enforceable.  So if you are considering divorce, but you feel that you can work out an agreement from the outset, you should absolutely contact an experienced divorce attorney to assist you with this process.

By Dan Levy