The long-running custody battle between former NFL star Deion Sanders and his wife resulted in a jury decision that awarded primary physical custody of two sons to the father. The results of the child custody case included a decision that mother and father will share custody of their daughter.The decision came about as the result of a side issue regarding primary physical custody of the children and does not affect child support or other divorce issues. Attorneys for the children's mother claimed that the football veteran did not have the parenting skills to raise the children alone. Lawyers for Mr. Sanders claimed that the mother was simply vindictive and had tried to poison the children against their father.
So-called "gray" divorces, those between spouses over 50 years of age, now make up one-quarter of all divorce filings in the United States, including Illinois. The percentage of older divorcing couples is expected to rise in the future. For older spouses, divorce mediation may provide a way for the partners to protect their own interests and still reach an equitable agreement.
The more assets an Illinois couple has, the more likely it is that their divorce process may be vulnerable to lengthy and protracted arguments and, ultimately, high costs. However, divorce mediation is helping some well-heeled couples divorce quickly, cleanly, and at a much lower cost than is usual in high-profile cases. The savings of these fees is no small matter. In New York, for example, a divorce that goes to trial can easily cost at least $100,000, whereas a mediated divorce might cost only $1,000. Mediation also affords the couple more control over the divorce process and allows for creative solutions to problems that might otherwise be decided by a judge.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act was passed Jan. 1, 2013, in order to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" that would have resulted in deep cuts to the federal budget and increases in taxes. However, the Act, while staving off the worst of the cuts and tax increases, may still have an effect on the negotiation of settlement agreements. Some provisions of the Act could affect such items as spousal support and division of property.