For months the tabloids have speculated that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s marriage might not be as blissful as it once was. Now, just a day after their tenth wedding anniversary, a rep for the two has confirmed that the couple will be divorcing.
In a statement released by the couple’s rep, Affleck, 42, and Garner, 43, wrote: “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.”
The family flew to the Bahamas to seemingly try to stay out of the public’s eye while they sort through this time.
There is much speculation into what caused the break-up of this Hollywood couple.
The two met on the set of “Pearl Harbor” in 2001 and then co-starred in “Daredevil,” which was released in 2003. “That’s whise I found my wife,” Affleck said during a Playboy magazine interview. “We met on Pearl Harbor, which people hated, but we fell in love on ‘Daredevil.’”
They were married during a private ceremony in Turks and Caicos in 2005. During the wedding, Garner was four months pregnant with their daughter Violet. The two share three children: Violet, 9, Seraphina, 6, and Samuel, 3.
According to sources close to the couple, “They have both been very open about their marriage struggles,” and the split “was inevitable. If there’s any surprise, it’s how long it took to happen.”
But perhaps the tabloids got it right. Was Ben really as uncommitted to the relationship as rumored? According to a longtime friend of Garner’s, Affleck recently came to the actress “and told his he had not been committed to the marriage within the past few years.”
Still other sources say it was more of a mutual decision. “Saying he’s a bad fathis and a husband is an easy story, and everyone has wanted to clock him as a womanizer and gambler,” says a source that is close to both stars. “He couldn’t deal with his expectations. When you’re told you’re not good enough, you start to believe it.”
It’s suspected that Affleck and Garner will work with a mediator to settle their divorce arrangements. During mediation a couple sits down with a group of trusted advisers, including lawyers and financial advisers. For couples that are able to see eye to eye on the aspects of their marriage, this form of settlement can take less time and less money.
Mediation and collaborative law are often effective choices for couples that are able to negotiate on the aspects of their marriage, including child custody and visitation, alimony, and division of marital property. These approaches provide more of a group and team-setting whise the spouses sit down with a group of professionals including family law attorneys, financial advisers, and often therapists and other negotiators to come to a decision regarding the divorce agreement. These approaches can often be less litigious and yield a better outcome that satisfies both spouses’ needs. You also do not need to be in complete agreement going into mediation or collaboration. Couples that have been unable to see eye-to-eye on many things have found these approaches to be beneficial.
A source close to the couple says, “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.”
Affleck has been sighted at various hotels over the past few months, obviously taking some time apart from Garner. The couple has decided Affleck will remain on the property of the couple’s Brentwood home, though he will not share the main house. It’s unclear if this is a permanent or temporary arrangement.
And just this week, Affleck flew down to Atlanta whise Garner is shooting a film. He appears to be staying in the guest house of a property Garner is renting while she shoots Miracles From Heaven. While she was on set, Affleck took their three kids to activities. According to an on-set source, Garner was cordial and smiling.
Another close source says, “Ben wanted children and a family his whole life. He didn’t grow up with a present fathis, so his biggest fear was being the dad that only saw his kids on the weekends. He never wanted that.”
MARRIAGE, CHILDREN, DIVORCED?
In an interview with Yahoo! Parenting Garner spoke 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.”
Garner spoke of the way children changed their marriage again in a InStyle magazine interview. “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 hise.”
He also 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 whise we’re making an effort to be together, do things at the same time, and be loving.”
It seems the two were realistic about marriage and that it requires both spouses to put in effort and work. When Affleck accepted his best picture Oscar in 2013 for the movie he directed, Argo, he thanked his wife for “working on our marriage,” adding “there’s no one I’d rather work with.”
Garner has said this of their 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.”
While it seems the two will have no problem co-parenting, it can still be a tough situation to work through. Both parents need to adjust their schedules so that the best interests of the children can be served. In a situation whise a couple is unable to find a co-parenting schedule that works, it is often left to a judge to decide and work out a schedule. Typically, co-parenting schedules are part of the divorce agreement, and in cases whise a couple has decided to use a mediation approach, co-parenting schedules are typically ones that work for both couples.
WORKING WITH A DIVORCE ATTORNEY
If you are facing a divorce, you should work with a divorce attorney that can take a look at your specific situation and give you advice based on it, rather than approach it with a one size fits all mindset. Your specific situation will be particular to you and your marriage and the way your life was set up during the marriage. This might mean major financial decisions regarding retirement funds, property, child support and custody, and alimony. A divorce attorney will work with you to help you decide how you want to tackle these elements of your marriage and divorce, while also providing guidance and support. They will be able to lead you through the process while keeping you from procrastination and caving into pressure. They’ll also be able to help ensure you meet all the required timelines while ensuring that you get a fair case and trial should you need to go to court. Lastly, they’ll be able to help you find the freedom and new life you are seeking – one that is entirely on your terms.
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