Hillary Duff and Mike Comrie Split: a Model Couple for Divorce Mediation
By Snyder & Sarno on January 16, 2014
The Huffington Post reports that former Disney Channel actress Hillary Duff and former NHL star Mike Comrie have separated after more than three years of marriage and that divorce is imminent. Sources have explained that the divorce will be amicable, that Duff and Comrie will remain best friends, and that they have already agreed to joint custody of their 22 month old son, Luca.
If both parties in a divorce are thinking clearly and reasonable heads prevail as it seems is the case with Duff and Comrie, the issues incident to a divorce such as custody, parenting time, alimony, child support, and the distribution of assets and debts, can all be agreed upon and determined between the parties without resorting to litigation. Once agreed upon, the parties can enter into a written document setting forth all of the details and terms approved by both parties. This Agreement would be incorporated into any Judgment of Divorce.
In order to resolve an issue amicably, parties and attorneys often utilize alternative dispute resolution, which includes mediation. Mediation is a process which allows the couple to negotiate the terms of their divorce themselves with the assistance of a mediator and possibly their attorneys, rather than having the terms imposed on them by a judge. During the mediation process, a neutral third party (the mediator) will be present in order to help the couple to negotiate the terms of their divorce. Frequently, both parties retain counsel to assistant them and advise them during the mediation process. Each party’s lawyer can explain the legal consequences to the individual, explain what a Judge may do in that situation, and can look over the settlement before it is signed in order to further protect the individual.
There are many benefits of choosing mediation rather than proceeding with litigation. Litigation is adversarial, which can create a lot of stress and tension between spouses. Litigation is also expensive and time consuming. Alternatively, in mediation, spouses cooperate with each other to come to an agreement. Neither party will received 100% of what they want, as they will have to compromise, but they will be able to control the outcome and creatively resolve their matter. This is often much more advantageous to both individuals than having a Judge, who does not know their case as well as they do, decide the issues. Moreover, the Judge can be limited in what he/ she can order the parties to do. However, in resolving the matter between them, there is no limit to what the parties can agree. It is important to note, however, that there can be no resolution to a matter in mediation unless the parties agree to same. In the end, if the parties are able to reach an agreement, mediation can lead to a much faster resolution.
In a case similar to Duff and Comrie’s, mediation may be the best choice. It is clear that the couple is able to cooperate, as they have already decided on joint custody and have agreed to remain friends. However, if during the mediation process a couple is no longer amicable and is unable to cooperate, the couple can choose to pursue the litigation instead. No one is bound to continue with the mediation if the couple no longer desires to utilize it.
If you are interested in utilizing the meditation process in your New Jersey divorce, please contact Snyder & Sarno. Our experienced attorneys can represent you at your mediation, or if you are already represented, our office can provide you with skilled mediators such as the Honorable Thomas P. Zampino, J.S.C. (retired) and John J. Trombadore, Esq. If you would like further information about our mediation services, please call us at (973) 274-5200.
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