CSI: Dividing the Empire

The creator of the television show "CSI", Anthony Zuiker, is in the midst of finalizing his divorce with his wife Jennifer. As such, TMZ has reported that the "CSI empire is getting split right down the middle". In Ontario, many cases are not settled through litigation, but, are resolved through the negotiation of a Separation Agreement.

The Canadian legal system has had a recent shift in ideology. That is, any legal dispute in the past would often be adversarial in nature and litigation was the only means to reach a resolution. Now, however, there is an increased emphasis placed on "alternative dispute resolution" (ADR). The concept of alternative dispute resolution includes processes such as mediation, arbitration, negotiation and collaborative law. These processes are advantageous as they can cost significantly less that litigation and provide the means to reach a win-win outcome.

When a dispute is resolved through the courts, not only are costs high but the result may not be satisfactory to both or either one of the parties. That is, courts will provide a win-lose result. This result is determined by a third party, a judge, who is largely a stranger to the parties. In sharp contrast, alternative dispute resolution emphasizes the participation of all parties to come to a mutual resolution. ADR processes provide parties with more control over the end result of their dispute.

Over 90% of divorce cases are resolved without a trial. Thus, it is clear that these other method of resolving a dispute, have become the primary means of reaching a settlement in family law matters. The divorce process now has become more dependent on "family law bargaining", as opposed to litigation. In the area of family law, this was a crucial step in the right direction, as the parties of a dispute must often continue to co-exist and cooperate in an effort to co-parent their children. ADR provides parties with a less adversarial atmosphere where the relationship between the parties is not further strained by court proceedings.

The Agreement between Anthony Zuiker and his wife provides that she will receive half of the money earned by him from the 3 "CSI" television series he created. In addition, she will receive a percentage of his earnings from "CSI: Cyber", which does not premiere until sometime next year. However, the agreement also provides that Jennifer will not receive any spousal support. Further, Anthony agreed to pay $10,000 a month in child support for the three children of the marriage.

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