Jennifer Garner on Divorce and Remaining Friends with Ben Affleck

In her recent interview with Vanity Fair, actress Jennifer Garner discusses a very complicated issue that arises for divorcing couples all over the world: the relationship between former spouses following divorce, particularly when children are involved. When news broke of Garner and Affleck’s decision to divorce, after three children and ten years of marriage, it was accompanied by the theory that the marriage was ending due infidelity by Affleck. In the typical situation involving infidelity and divorce, the assumption would likely be that there is no way that Garner and Affleck could ever be friends post-split. However, Garner makes very clear in her interview that such is not the case. In a very open interview, Garner discusses her divorce but not in the terms that one expects. Instead of bashing Affleck or placing blame and displaying hostility, Garner talks about the love that remains post-separation even when there are some tender emotions and pain understandably involved.

Perhaps the most commendable statement made by Garner in her interview is when discussing something that is rarely thought about or discussed by divorcing couples. That is, her future with her future ex-husband. Garner states, “The main thing is these kids — and we’re completely in line with what we hope for them. Sure, I lost the dream of dancing with my husband at my daughter’s wedding. But you should see their faces when he walks through the door. And if you see your kids love someone so purely and wholly, then you’re going to be friends with that person." Without a doubt, Garner’s approach to her divorce is both thoughtful, graceful and full of hope.

There is truly something to be learned from Garner’s interview. It is so common for couples to get caught up in the emotions that are so frequently associated with divorce: anger, betrayal, fear and loneliness. Although these feelings are both normal and often warranted, they can result in a divorce that takes up years of the couples’ lives, draining them both financially and emotionally. While every divorce is different, it can certainly be said that taking an approach similar to Garner’s, especially when children are involved¸ might make a divorce a little less painful.

At the end of the day, Garner appears to reflect on the very thing that people lose sight of in divorce: that at one point in time there was love and respect. Now, not every couple will be able to remain friends, nor can it be said that every couple should remain friends. However, it is important for divorcing couples with children to keep in mind the needs of the children. To remember that kids need love and support from both parents and that all kids deserve to witness relationships that are filled with respect. Garner and Affleck appear to be providing just that for their children, and hopefully can inspire other divorcing parents to continue to do the same in the midst of divorce.

Here at Mello & Pickering, LLP with over 28 years combined experience, we know the ins and outs of the divorce process. We believe in helping our clients through their divorce by taking an approach that helps parties maintain respect and civility in their divorce while ensuring that our client’s legal interests are protected.