National Football League head coach Sean Payton and his wife of almost 20 years have recently filed countering divorce petitions. While other options for mediation may have been considered before the point of needing a divorce, it appears that a long battle lies ahead for the couple. Maryland couples who have been married for many years may have complicated assets or circumstances, which may make mediation a better alternative to litigation.

Payton and his wife will more than likely go through the traditional court process. Because they are not settling their differences outside of the courtroom first, the divorce process may bring added stress.

Payton filed his divorce petition on June 14, requesting to divide assets between himself and his wife. He also asked for joint custody of his two children. On June 26, Payton’s wife filed a counter petition requesting primary custody of their children. She also wants Payton to pay child support and medical expenses for the children but wants to make all decisions involving their well-being on her own.

While the Payton family’s move back to Texas didn’t affect Payton’s 2011 season with the New Orleans Saints, it is unknown whether his family absences may hurt his custody requests in court. Had the couple considered mediation, they could have potentially saved time and may have helped to find a more consistent family life for the children as their divorce moves forward. Maryland couples who are considering a divorce may also benefit from considering collaborative alternatives to divorce.

Source: Associated Press, “Saints’ coach Sean Payton, wife file divorce petitions,” July 3, 2012