Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner Seek Amicable Divorce and Co-Parenting Strategy

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsBen Affleck and Jennifer Garner, who made headlines after announcing the end to their 10-year marriage this past summer, have chosen to take the mediation approach to their divorce.

Media reports have described the divorce as “not contentious,” with the Hollywood actor couple choosing to settle their divorce amicably out of court for the sake of their three children — Violet, 9, Seraphina, 6, and Samuel, 3.  They are working with a mediator to resolve financial, property and custody issues and expedite the divorce process. Affleck, 42, and Garner, 43, will share joint custody of their children and intend to co-parent as equals.

In a joint official statement, the couple said, “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.” According to media reports, Affleck and Garner plan to continue living together on the family’s property in Brentwood, California, but in separate houses in order to effectively co-parent and focus on consistency for their children.

The decision to seek mediation is unusual as many divorcing celebrity couples tend to become involved in drawn-out court battles that often turn ugly. Mediation takes the drama out of divorce and keep things efficient for the sake of the family.  Adopting smart co-parenting strategies can ease the burden of divorce on children. Contentious divorces place the focus on seeking revenge, while amicable divorces involve setting egos aside and making children the top priority. Couples who manage to take a sensitive, selfless approach will ease the stressful nature of divorce on children, especially young ones.

Besides parenting issues, the couple also faces the task of dividing their assets. They are estimated to have combined wealth upwards of $115 million. The media has speculated that Affleck and Garner purposely announced their split one day after their tenth anniversary due to California’s spousal support laws. In California, a marriage that crosses the 10-year mark is considered long term, which affects the amount and length of spousal support. However, many of the state’s courts do not prefer to award lifetime spousal support if they feel that the lesser-earning spouse is able to support themselves. If the divorce involves a prenuptial agreement or decisions made during mediation, the judge may not even have to rule about spousal support.

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To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”