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Rep. Sanford Experiences Very Public Example of Contentious Divorce

Former South Carolina governor and current U.S. Representative Mark Sanford is in the middle of a contentious divorce with his former spouse, Jenny. It’s one example — and a very public one, at that — of how issues of infidelity and other disputes can get in the way of an amicable divorce settlement.

The problems between Mark and Jenny Sanford began in 2009, when he secretly visited his mistress in South America as aides in the governor’s office claimed he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Mrs. Sanford filed for divorce in 2010, and the former couple have been working through some difficult disputes ever since. In fact, when Mr. Sanford ran for Congress in 2013, Mrs. Sanford practically endorsed his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch.

In the most recent development, the Sanfords have agreed to enter mediation in order to resolve some parenting issues, including Mrs. Sanford’s wish to limit the congressman’s visitation with his children due to what she believes are psychological and anger management problems. Mediation proceedings will be kept private, which will likely help Rep. Sanford put a cap on the negative publicity he has received over the past several years after his very public extramarital affair was exposed.

Even for individuals and couples who do not have the public exposure of an elected official, contentious divorces can be extremely difficult to resolve. Litigation is expensive and time-consuming, and repeated court hearings cause both parties to miss work. Mediation, on the other hand, is private and allows both parties to meet and discuss issues at their convenience and in a more relaxed setting. A neutral mediator oversees the process, helping both sides find opportunities to agree and compromise.

In many situations, mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution is preferable over taking a divorce case to court. To learn more about the options available in Connecticut, consult a knowledgeable divorce lawyer.

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