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Mediation as an alternative to litigation in divorce

California media outlets have been full of reports that actors Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are divorcing. The two celebrities have three children, and according to a statement they released, they are going to use divorce mediation to make the process easier for their offspring.

Mediation is often chosen by celebrities over litigation for privacy reasons. This case is rare in that Garner and Affleck have specifically said that they are doing so because it is better for their family. Parents who are angry at their spouses and anticipate a long and litigious divorce as revenge might consider whether they could use mediation instead. This form of alternative dispute resolution often results in children being closer to their parents after the divorce.

Property division is another issue, and people may think they need tough litigation in order to protect those assets. However, Garner and Affleck have many assets as well, yet they are still pursuing mediation. In some cases, the cost of litigation may deplete those assets anyway.

A divorce done through mediation may set the stage for effective communication and co-parenting in the future. Mediation acknowledges that divorce has at least as much to do with emotions as with legalities and finances, and it may make the emotional part less difficult for the entire family.

A parent who is going through a divorce may want to speak with an attorney to discuss whether mediation might be appropriate. In some cases, such as in an abusive relationship, it may not be in the best interests of either the parent or the child to enter mediation. However, even contentious divorces may benefit from that process. Couples who feel they have insurmountable issues might be surprised to find that there are solutions that they can agree upon that seem to be in everyone's best interests, and their respective attorneys may be helpful in that regard.

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