CHARLESTON, South Carolina (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford and his ex-wife Jenny have agreed to mediate parenting issues and other concerns in their contentious divorce, a South Carolina family court judge said Monday.
Five years ago, while South Carolina governor, Sanford disappeared from the state for five days, famously telling his aides that he was out hiking along the Appalachian Trail. When he returned, he confessed at a tearful news conference that he had been in Argentina and had been having an affair with Maria Belen Chapur, to whom he later became engaged. But in a rambling Facebook post last week, Sanford announced that he was calling off the engagement because of the contentious issues arising from his divorce.
Attorneys for Jenny Sanford have asked the family court to limit the Republican lawmaker’s visitation with his youngest child and to have the lawmaker undergo psychological tests and take anger management and parenting courses.
A hearing on the motion had been set for Monday but was continued.
“The parties have agreed to submit the issues to mediation,” Family Court Judge Daniel E. Martin, Jr. told reporters. He said he would sign a consent order and mediation would then begin within 30 days.
Both sides have also asked to have the court record sealed and Mark Sanford’s attorney wants both sides banned from talking about it.
Martin said those requests are still before the court.
After Sanford confessed the affair, Jenny Sanford moved out of the Governor’s Mansion and filed for divorce which was granted in 2010. She has four sons with Sanford, the youngest of whom is still a minor.
In a special election last year, Sanford was re-elected to the congressional seat he held for three terms in the 1990s.