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Nearly a year after announcing they would split up, actors Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck have
officially moved forward with their divorce proceedings.
According to news reports, Garner filed the petition in the Los Angeles Superior Court, and
Affleck quickly responded. They both cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the
dissolution of marriage, and they will seek joint physical and legal custody of their children. A
spokesperson for Affleck said that the two of them continue to have a very amicable relationship,
despite the decision to part ways.
The majority of divorces today get resolved out of court, with spouses engaging in alternative
means to sort out issues like the division of marital assets and debt, child custody, child support
and spousal support. A peaceful transition for families is more likely to occur in settlement
negotiations than in court trials. There are three alternatives to traditional litigation: Mediation,
Arbitration, and Collaborative Law, all of which are alternative methods to the court making
very personal decisions.
Through mediation, you and your spouse sit down with a trained mediator who serves as a
neutral party. The mediator can be an attorney but does not represent either side. You would
then discuss the key issues related to a divorce such as support, child custody, visitation, and
property issues. The mediator’s role is to guide this discuss by informing the parties of their
legal options and/or provide resources. This allows each party to express their wishes, explore
their options and make an informed choice when making an agreement and resolve the divorce in
a way you both consider amicable.
If you and your spouse simply cannot come up with an agreement but still don’t want to go
through the court process then Arbitration may be the solution. Arbitration is similar to a court
hearing in that each party submits their idea of a fair settlement to a third party. An Arbitrator
can make binding decisions on divorce-related issues.
Collaborative Law is like the mediation process but each party has their own attorney. For issues
that are a little contentious, you and your spouse may find comfort in each party being
represented yet all four participants have agreed not to take the matter to court.
Reaching an agreement
Mediation, Arbitration and Collaborative Law may require several sessions for the parties to
come to a final divorce agreement. Once both parties have come to an agreement, the proper
paperwork can be submitted to the court for approval. In almost all cases, the judge will approve an agreement spouses have reached outside of the courtroom.
Although it remains to be seen how the divorce of Affleck and Garner will play out, all
indications point to a peaceful, amicable parting of ways. If you are headed towards divorce, and
would like to explore arbitration or mediation options, speak with a skilled and experienced
Fresno County family law attorney.