After months of tabloid speculation, a rep for Hollywood power-couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner recently confirmed the couple has decided to divorce. The news comes just a day after their tenth wedding anniversary.
Ben and Jen Divorce Statement
In a statement released by the couple, Affleck, 42, and Garner, 43, had this to say: “After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce. We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children, whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time. This will be our only comment on this private, family matter.”
According to a source close to the couple, Affleck and Garner have been working with a mediator. The source had this to say: “This isn’t going to end up in a dramatic court case, they are trying to resolve it as quickly and easily as possible. Ben and Jennifer have been separated for more than six months. They have been seeing counselors for years. The situation is that people change and they grow apart.”
Mediation, when employed at an early stages of divorce proceedings, has proven to be beneficial for both parties looking to avoid substantial litigation costs and the adversarial nature of a drawn out separation and divorce process. It’s not uncommon for mediation to allow for cases to be settled before they go to actual trial. Because if its more harmonious nature and the fact that costs are usually lower in comparison to drawn out litigious cases, the mediation process is becoming increasingly preferred.
Resolution of conflict between spouses is a delicate process and requires a skilled Divorce and Family Law Mediator to serve as a neutral buffer between the high emotions of a couple on the verge of divorce. The attorneys at the Southern California Law Offices of Divorce Law LA can assist you through the process of deciding whether a divorce settled through mediation and collaborative law is the right choice for you, or if full litigation is required to adequately settle your divorce.
Affleck has been sighted staying in hotels over the past few months. Yet, it seems the couple has decided that he will remain on the property of their Brentwood home, though he will not share the main house. It’s unclear if this is a permanent or temporary arrangement.
Love, Marriage, Children, Divorce
The couple met on the set of “Pearl Harbor” and went on to star alongside each other in the movie “Daredevil,” which was released in 2003. “That’s where I found my wife,” Affleck said in a Playboy magazine interview. “We met on Pearl Harbor, which people hate, but we fell in love on ‘Daredevil.'”
Shortly after, in 2005, they were married. During the wedding during a private ceremony in Turks and Caicos, Garner was four months pregnant with their daughter Violet. The two share three children: Violet, 9, Seraphina, 6, and Samuel, 3.
Children Changed the Marriage
Garner has spoken to Yahoo! Parenting about how children changed the couple’s marriage: “You just go on a ride together because you don’t know who you’re going to be when you first have a baby and you don’t know who [your partner] is going to be. You have to just hang in there while you figure it out — and have a lot of patience for each other.”
Children can bring unavoidable and unspeakable changes to a relationship and marriage. while you might have thought a child would fit neatly into your life, that is not seemingly ever the case. Having a new addition that needs you constantly can mean big changes for you and your spouse.
In an interview with InStyle magazine Garner said: “When we had our first [child], we had only been together a year. We were babies. It happened so fast, I hardly remember what we were like before the kids got here.”
During the same interview she went on to say she and Affleck had a “mindful” marriage.
“You can’t expect to be courted all the time, and I don’t want to court him right now; I don’t have the energy!” she said. “But we’re definitely in a very mindful place where we’re making an effort to be together, do things at the same time, and be loving.”
It seems the two were realistic about their marriage. When Affleck accepted his best picture Oscar in 2013 for Argo he thanked his wife for “working on our marriage,” adding “there’s no one I’d rather work with.”
Timing of Divorce – Just After 10th Wedding Anniversary
Though it seems odd that the two would announce their divorce just after their tenth wedding anniversary, this is a fairly common time of year to divorce. While January seems to be the big month for divorce (often times couples try to hold things together through the already stressful holiday season), the summer school break is also quite popular. It often makes the most sense for re-locations (should a spouse decide to move) to happen over the summer in case schools need to be changed.
Child Custody and Visitation
While it’s unclear how Affleck and Garner will handle the custody of their children, it is most likely they will share custody. Courts often tend to award joint custody when they can, as long as its in the best interest of the children.
There are various forms of child custody: physical and legal, sole and joint.
Physical Custody: The parent has the legal right to have a child live with him or her.
Legal Custody: The parent has the legal right and the legal obligation to make decisions about a child’s upbringing.
Sole Custody: The parent has either sole legal custody or sole physical custody of a child, or both. Usually courts only award sole custody if one parent has been deemed unfit due to alcohol or drug dependency or charges of child abuse or neglect.
Joint Custody: Both parents share the decision-making responsibilities for, and/or physical control and custody of, their shared children. Joint custody can be joint legal custody, joint physical custody (where the children spend a significant portion of time with each parent), or both.
In a joint custody arrangement parents are asked to work as part of a co-parenting arrangement. In this arrangement, both parents must create a schedule based on each parent’s work requirements, housing arrangements, and the children’s needs. If parents are not able to come to an agreement when it comes to co-parenting, a court will impose an arrangement.
Various arrangements include:
- alternating weeks, months, six-month periods, years or
- spending weekends and holidays with one parent and spending weekdays with the other
- “bird’s nest custody” or “nesting” during which the children remain in the family home while the parents take turns moving in and out. This can be successful because it does not disrupt the children’s lives that much – they are able to remain in one home and do not have to alternate between their parents’ homes. During the time away from the children the parents each live in a separate apartment or home of their own.
Parenting During Their Relationship
Garner had this to say of the couple’s parenting abilities:
“For better or worse, I tend to be the one who says, ‘This is what needs to happen.’ I know who wants what lunch, and I’ve done all the school paperwork and filled out the emergency cards. Ben doesn’t know that stuff exists,” she said.
“He is in charge of laughter. No matter how much I tickle them or toss them or chase them around, it’s not the same. If I’m the slow, steady drumbeat, he’s the jazz.”
Co-parenting after a divorce can be difficult. As long as both spouses are able to keep the best interests of their children in mind it can be successful.
Signs of Trouble and Legal Separation
Marriage is not easy and can take a lot of work. This can often mean working with a relationship therapist. Couple’s often decide to separate prior to their divorce, as a way to test the waters and determine if they truly want to be apart from each other. It’s advised that even if you do not decide to seek a divorce, that when you do separate, you file for legal separation. Legal separation is a legal process where the couple receives a court order that says they are separated, but does not mean the couple has actually divorced. Often times couples will obtain a legal separation as an alternative to a divorce, because of moral or religious objections to divorce.
Legal separation also does not automatically lead to divorce. There have been numerous times where couples have decided to reconcile and continue their marriage. Should they wish to proceed with a divorce after a legal separation, the couple will still need to file for divorce explicitly.
Working with a Family Law Attorney
Whatever your reason is for divorce, you should consider working with a family law attorney. They will be able to advise you on any number of issues, including: child support, spousal support, marital property division, child visitation, etc… A lawyer from the expert law firm of Divorce Law LA will be able to guide you through the divorce process. The Divorce & Family Law Offices of Divorce Law LA will provide you with the highest level of expertise and professionalism from our skilled attorneys. Our Divorce and Family Law Practice spans a wide spectrum of areas that include: divorce, high net-worth divorce, marital property division, child custody and visitation, and child support.
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