The Tiger Woods/Elin Nordegren divorce has finally been settled, with a settlement that sets a new financial record. Ms. Nordegren, who has sole physical custody of the couple’s two young children, is due to receive $750 million, as well as the house the family shares. This record-setting settlement, the latest disclosure in what has been a very public divorce since news of Mr. Wood’s first infidelity, is already triggering a lot of controversy. At the center of this debate is a part of the divorce process that is often the most controversial – who gets what?
Celebrity divorces have become a part of our culture (along with celebrity dating, celebrity marriages, and celebrity marital trouble, in our constant desire for every little detail about the rich and famous). As Tiger’s behavior shows us, the celebrity lifestyle allows one to go wrong in big ways. And Mr. Woods’ secret life is not so uncommon, given the available funds and time away from home.
What doesn’t change with the tabloid headlines and the extra zeroes at the end of a paycheck are the difficulties which families must face going through a divorce, and the way that those behaviors are often reflected by the divorce settlement. When a spouse has been unfaithful, they are violating the marriage bond they formed with their partner. Marriage is a two way street and so is divorce. We do not know what went wrong with this marriage. What we do know is that Tiger Woods engaged in behavior that sealed it’s end.
But now it comes to the children, and in this arena this couple is doing well.
News reports tell us that the settlement stipulates that Tiger Woods is not allowed to bring any woman around his kids, unless she is his wife. This is a very important point, and one that may curtail one of the major problems that crops up in this situation. His kids will be protected with this stipulation and it is not a bad idea. Let them grow older with less chance of being fodder for the paparazzi’s lenses.
Naturally, everything is complicated by the Woods/Nordegren celebrity status. The large settlement looks like a trade-off: Tiger’s money for Elin’s silence. She can give no interviews or write any books about their relationship as part of the settlement. This is a good thing. Whether Elin got the money she wanted or not, her children need not be publicly exposed in a book or in any public statements. Over the years, it should be up to them to decide how much they appreciate or reject their famous mother and father.
Ultimately, in this and in all divorces, the children’s well-being needs to take priority over any other factor.