Latest Scandal – Gossip Girl Divorce

By Joryn Jenkins

Good morning!

Gossip Girl here.

Your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite. Did you hear about actress Kelly Rutherford? Kelly just filed for bankruptcy! She spent everything she had on her divorce, purchase plus some! And you won’t believe the juicy details, all of which you can find on-line in the court files!

And who am I?  That’s a secret I’ll tell!  I’m a trial lawyer gone rogue; I’ve switched to the collaborative side.

Imagine!  $1.5 million in legal fees in a courtroom divorce and custody battle. Notice we call it a “battle.” That’s because traditional divorce is war from the get-go, commencing with a race to the courthouse to be the first to file that petition, usually including at least one battle of the experts, and ending when the first spouse runs out of money! Money that could have been spent on family needs.

Rutherford started divorce proceedings while she was pregnant with her daughter by ex-husband, Daniel Giersch.

Reports are she said then, “I don’t want any money, I don’t want anything, let’s figure out a great plan for the kids.”  Too bad she didn’t know about collaborative law…  Now she says “[t]he relationship was obviously not working. And four years later, this is where I am.”

According to sources, she is still fighting for her children, Hermes and Helena, to live with her in New York. They currently live in Monaco with their father, and Rutherford’s finances probably will not allow her to afford the travel to visit them.

In fact, Rutherford is staying in a friend’s apartment out of necessity, as she “spent every penny. Every penny from ‘Gossip Girl,’ my pension, my stocks has been spent fighting for my children.”

So how might this story have unfolded differently?  Collaboratively?  How would that have worked?

In a collaborative divorce, Rutherford would not have filed her petition first.  Instead, she and her husband would both have consulted with lawyers trained to collaborate, and all four would have made a firm commitment not to litigate and to keep matters out of court.  They would have resolved to focus on problem solving in a confidential, private setting.  They would have hired financial experts and mental health professionals, also trained to collaborate, to assist in preserving the financial and emotional resources of their family.

But they did not.  And now Kelly is in bankruptcy, her dirty laundry is airing in public, and her kids are living a world away….

I’d hate for this to happen to you.

You know you love me 😉

xoxo Joryn

Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.

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