Pennsylvania fans of actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner may have followed news of their divorce. They may have also heard that the couple released a statement saying that they were choosing mediation for the sake of their children. While many divorcing celebrities choose mediation because it is more private than litigation, Affleck and Garner are unusual in specifically announcing that they are doing so because they believe it to be in the best interests of their children.
Divorces that are more amicable tend to be less difficult for children than contentious ones, and afterward, children of divorces that do not go into litigation often have closer relationships with their parents. Individuals in a high asset divorce may also feel that litigation is the only way to protect themselves, but the example of Affleck and Garner demonstrates that not all couples with complicated asset situations make litigation their first choice in a breakup.
Litigation that drags on for months or years can be costly, both financially and emotionally. Sometimes, people who enter litigation hoping to protect their property end up spending most of those assets on the divorce.
While there are cases in which parents have no choice but to turn to litigation, couples may wish to consider giving mediation a try first. Even if the divorce is a contentious one, mediation may help couples iron out their differences and come to an agreement. If mediation does not work, litigation is still an option, and in court, a judge will make child custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. While this is generally the aim of parents as well, the disagreement often occurs regarding what those best interests actually are. In mediation, parents may be able to come to an agreement about the child's best interests.