Last Updated on 11.7.16 by Nicola Fraser
The last week has seen contrasting emotions from a marriage perspective in the USA. On the 26th June came the wonderful news that the U.S. Supreme Court had decided to legalise same-sex marriage, becoming the 21st and largest country in the world to do so. Less than a week later, two of America’s most well-known Hollywood thespians announced that they will be getting a divorce.
After ten years of marriage, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, nicknamed ‘Bennifer’, made public their impending divorce plans and made the following statement,
“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.”
The couple, who have three children aged between three and nine years old, want to go forward harmoniously, but in light of the couple’s world-wide popularity and media presence; is it possible for the couple to divorce amicably and remain friendly?
I suspect it will be far from easy for the couple considering the amount of media interest and public speculation as to what, or who, brought about the break-up. “If Ben Affleck can’t save his marriage, how can he save Gotham? #BatmanvsWife” is just one comment I picked up on Twitter when the news broke. Such insensitive comments will not help the couple in what is clearly an emotional and private time.
Despite the press intrusion and public interest in the story, I believe that it is entirely possible for the couple to divorce amicably. Ben and Jennifer would do well to adopt the approach taken by Ben’s ex-partner, Gwyneth Paltrow, and her former husband and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, when they announced their plans to divorce last year.
When the couple announced the breakdown of their marriage, they referred to it uniquely as a “conscious uncoupling”. Together, these two parents could not have dealt with their divorce in a better and more cordial way. It is known that Gwyneth and Chris agreed to ‘co-parent’ their children and remain on good terms; they even went away on a post separation family holiday. According to the press, the couple agreed a fair financial settlement and managed to avoid what could have been an otherwise costly and emotionally draining legal process.
There is no doubt that for some couples, divorce can be wrought with emotions, however, it is wrong to typecast all divorces in this way. It is entirely possible for Ben and Jennifer to follow Gwyneth and Chris’ lead and to come out the other side on good, positive terms and move forward with love and friendship for each other and a commitment to co-parent as they have described.
When separating or considering a divorce it is important to deal with the legal and financial aspects, as well as the child implications, of a separation in an amicable and friendly manner. Not only will this approach benefit the emotional wellbeing of both parties, but in most cases this approach tends to reduce the chances of getting embroiled in prolonged and costly court proceedings. More importantly, it will reduce the strain, stress and upset for any children involved.
There are many ways in which to divorce amicably and as a Family Law expert and a member of Resolution, a national organisation which is committed to the constructive and non-confrontational resolution of family disputes, I am able to offer advice on the various options available.
If you need advice please contact me on 0161 930 5151 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more than happy to help you.
Partner & Head of Family, Family Law