The high-profile lawyer, best known for handling splits for stars including Kim Kardashian, thinks everyone should rethink the stigma when it comes to getting divorced
Celebrity divorce lawyer Laura Wasser had a very busy 2023.
For the most part, those splits were handled just the way she prefers: quietly and behind closed doors.
"Usually I can settle a case outside of the court," Wasser tells PEOPLE. "But it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes the opposing attorney doesn't have client control, or are not good voices of reason. Which is what family lawyers really need to be."
"Also, as you can imagine, divorce is very emotional. When people are thinking with their emotions instead of a business-like manner, you run into problems," she continues. "It's crazy, crazy expensive to go to trial."
Which is why she really suggests all couples (celebrity or not) do their best to mediate if they're splitting up.
In 2018, Wasser launched the website divorce.com, which provides plenty of resources for both parties to learn about what to expect during the divorce process, how to file online, how much they'll have to pay in legal fees, questions about about assets and property, and of course, the best solution for the children.
"There's just no reason to throw a giant chunk of your joint income at a divorce," Wasser says. "Of course, lawyers make more money when there is more conflict, but that's not great for the couples or their kids."
She not only thinks the current legal system is outdated, but says the way people still stigmatize divorce is outdated. She particularly dislikes the term "failed marriage."
"The term 'failed marriage' implies like, 'Oh, you just couldn't make it work. You failed. You couldn't keep 'em around.' And I think the term 'failed marriage' is something that is something we should kind of try to get out of our vocabulary," she says.
"It's not a failure, it's a marriage that ran its course. You likely took some great things from it, and hopefully you're able to extricate yourself in a way where your spouse is still a friend, still a family member. If you have kids, you're going to be dealing with that person not just until your kids turn 18, but probably for the rest of your life. So figure out a way to make it so that it isn't a failure, but rather that it's just an evolution or a change or next chapter."
She understands, of course, that there will be grief and hurt feelings to contend with along the way.
"I get it. Breakups are sad. I was just at a wedding and they're so happy and there's so much hope when people are starting a life together. So it's the opposite of that. The breakdown of a marriage isn't exactly fun or something to be celebrated," she says.
"But at the same time, you have to weigh that against, 'Do I want to stay in a relationship where i'm not evolving? Where we're not happy, we're not making each other happy, and we're perhaps damaging our kids by virtue of our interactions in front of them? Sometimes it's just not working out. The good thing is, we now have so many more tools and resources at our disposal."
Wasser, who has two children from prior relationships, says that her own kids are well-adjusted and happy, despite growing up in a two-family household.
"Kids are more likely to have resentment towards you if they grow up in a house with two parents that aren't communicating properly, that aren't showing love to each other, that aren't showing respect to each other," she says. "I think that that is probably more of a detriment to kids than going through a divorce."
As far as whether she expects any more major celebrity breakups this year?
"This year will be busy too," she says with a laugh. "But hopefully a lot more low-profile."
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