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Country star Trace Adkins and his wife have come to a settlement agreement in their divorce case.
While celebrity divorces are a dime a dozen, this divorce is somewhat unique. Instead of a long drawn out court battle, the couple decided to work things out in private mediation.
Trace and Rhonda Adkins have been married for 17 years. Last March, she filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences after Trace allegedly cheated on her, got into a brawl with a look-alike impersonator, and entered rehab.
Earlier this month, Rhonda filed for an "order of voluntary dismissal." Some news sources jumped for joy declaring that Rhonda and Trace's divorce was off, and they would live happily ever after. Sadly, that wasn't the case.
Reports now clarify that Rhonda dismissed the case so that she and Trace could work out the terms of the divorce in private mediation rather than in open court. Now that the two have come to an agreement on child custody, visitation, support, and property division, Rhonda will refile for divorce with the terms of the agreed upon settlement. The couple are only waiting for a judge to approve the divorce.
While we think that ugly, contentious public divorce battles are the norm, mediation is actually a common occurrence in many divorce cases.
Whenever possible, judges like to have couples come to agreement among themselves. In some courts, parties can voluntarily request mediation. In some states, parties are sent to mediation as a matter of course. One major benefit of mediation, especially for a celebrity, is that it can be kept private.
At mediation, mediators help parties communicate and facilitate a discussion about the issues of the case such as child custody, visitation, or property division. The mediator is neutral and does not advocate for one side or the other. A mediator's main job is to try to get parties to come to a settlement agreement. However, unlike arbitration and court orders, mediation is non-binding. So, if one party is unhappy with the results of mediation, he or she does not have to agree to a settlement and can continue the battle in court before a judge.
If, at mediation, the parties do come to an agreement, the mediator will help the parties draft the settlement to present to the judge for final approval.
As of now, the terms of Trace and Rhonda's divorce are unknown until the divorce papers are filed in court. Maybe, he's getting custody of the kids every other Friday at five?
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.