VIP Legal III: Celebrity in Court—Family Issues
November 9, 2008 5:24 PM
This is the final installment of a three-part blog series addressing the influence of celebrity in legal issues.
In the two previous blogs, I built the case for and against the power and pull of celebrity in legal issues. Since those blogs were posted, O.J. Simpson has been found guilty of kidnapping and robbing two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a casino hotel room. What happens from here is anyone’s guess, which seems to be a theme in the life of O.J.
There is, of course, the usual assortment of other celebrity legal news to which we can apply the power question. Will Lindsay Lohan get her request to keep her deposition off camera at her girlfriend’s upcoming trial? Fortunately Paris Hilton seems to be sufficiently preoccupied with running for “fake president” and hasn't gotten into any legal trouble lately.
For this, the final installment of “VIP Legal,” let’s shift the focus to some of the most personal and often nasty Hollywood cases to play out in court—family court cases.
In his new book, actor Alec Baldwin accuses the family law system of favoring women over men and states that the system doesn’t work. It’s understandable that he would have strong opinions on the subject as a former litigant in the system in his divorce and child custody cases. But does his opinion count as legitimate, objective proof that the system is broken?
The sole purpose of custody cases is to determine what is in the best interests of the child. It is not to give parents what they feel they are entitled to or to settle all their personal differences. In these big-money cases especially, are parents putting their hatred toward each other first and their child’s best interests second?
People can go back and forth complaining about the legal system, the psychologists and the endless costs involved, but keep in mind that either involved party can say “stop” at any time. It’s hard to complain that the legal system is broken when it’s the litigants who are controlling the lawyers. Anyone in the world can call off their lawyers, celebrities or otherwise. Once that happens, there is no more legal wrangling or maneuvering.
The fact is that in family custody cases, the courts don’t like to get involved unless the parents can’t agree or if there is neglect or abuse. Unfortunately, when the big green monster gets involved—I’m referring to money, not jealousy—parents sometimes forget that their only priority should be to protect their child’s best interests.
As a friend of mine says, “You have to love your child more than you hate each other.” Case closed.
What do you think about the power of celebrity in legal issues? Sound off in the comments below. See you in court!