Olivia Wilde served onstage with court custody papers: the damage is already done


On April 26th, Olivia Wilde was served with court custody papers while she was on stage, addressing a full audience at CinemaCon, the Las Vegas Convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners. The papers were just the start of custody proceedings involving her two children, Otis and Daisy, with her ex-fiancé and Saturday Night Live and Ted Lasso star, Jason Sudeikis. TMZ.com has published a video of the event.

A divorce and the resolution of parenting issues does not end the interaction between the parents. To the contrary, it’s just the beginning of a new parenting dynamic, co-parenting. Particularly when there are children involved, the resolution of divorce and family issues should not aggravate the tensions between the parents. The process, itself, should not hamper their ability to co-parent when the process is finished. Serving Ms. Wilde onstage, although handled by her extraordinarily well, nevertheless can cause embarrassment, humiliation, tension, anxiety, anger, breach of trust, etc.

As reported on Today.com, sources close to Jason Sudeikis claimed:

Mr. Sudeikis had no prior knowledge of the time or place that the envelope would have been delivered as this would solely be up to the process server company involved and he would never condone her being served in such an inappropriate manner.

I do hope Jason Sudeikis’s denial is true. Even if so, he must earn back the trust and get through the other emotions experienced by Ms. Wilde so that the their ability to co-parent can move forward. Any damage just done must be added to the issues to be resolved. That can’t help the parties; or their children.

There are certainly times when litigation is necessary, even vigorous or aggressive litigation. However, the parties do not control the process or the people charged with moving it forward. The process is in the hands of the lawyers who are not charged with the responsibility and commitment to resolve the issues amicably and to enhance to ability of the parties to work together after the litigation is over. The parties do not control the process server or other persons who will move the case forward. The parties do not control the judge who will provide a timetable for the case, make interim rulings, and, if necessary make final decisions. A set of rules and effects are part of every step along the way. The Judge, and each “side,” acting separately, will determine the pace and what steps will be taken and how.

Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis

Among the advantages of using Mediation or the Collaborative Process to resolve parenting and other divorce-related issues are privacy and minimizing further damage between the parties. Respect, not humiliation, is the order of the day. The resolution process can begin setting the tone for after the issues are resolved. It is the beginning of the new type of family. It is the transition to a different type of co-parenting.

Another advantage of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) is control. The parties, working together with the Mediator, or their Collaborative Team, will control the pace. Communication by the parties can actually be improved; the parties can move forward on the road to trust.

On the other hand, control and trust can be lost the moment Litigation is begun.