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Will public divorce hurt candidate's chances?

Maryland residents' proximity to the nation's capitol puts them near the epicenter of many political scandals. Therefore, they recognize how someone's personal life can haunt or even destroy their political aspirations.

The public divorce of one state's gubernatorial candidate is a prime example of this phenomenon, and it would seem that the candidate's future political career could have benefitted from proactive and non-public dispute resolution.

In private mediation, a neutral party helps a couple come to an agreement. Because the mediator is neutral, both parties usually obtain independent legal counsel. However, unlike court proceedings, couples in private mediation do not need to publicly prove wrongdoing in order to enhance their own bargaining position. This kind of dispute resolution can be especially important for public figures so that personal details can be kept private.

In this specific situation, instead of coming to a mutual agreement behind closed doors, the gubernatorial candidate and his wife accused each other of numerous misdeeds, airing their dirty laundry for everyone to see.

Each claims that the other has a history of affairs. The man claims his wife purposefully made him sick by serving him food that he was allergic to and the man's wife claims that he left her with an unpaid property tax bill.

Although the couple was granted a divorce in November, they continue to fight over finances.

The divorce in this case has become especially bitter, but both may have been served by attempting private mediation to avoid the very public dispute that could damage the reputation of both parties.

Source: The News & Observer, "Messy divorce may hurt Faison's campaign," Craig Jarvis, Feb. 14, 2012

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