July 1, 2015
Affleck, Garner Live Together Despite Divorce? Jennifer Garner's Kids Not The First Co-Parenting Experiment

If Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner live together after the divorce as rumors claim, then it is very possible they may be doing right by their children. Multiple divorce studies about co-parenting have come out in the last year, and although divorcing is never good for the kids, at least they seem to be trying one of the best options based upon the opinions of doctors. It also turns out that if Affleck/Garner live together over the long term that it would not be the first time a divorced couple has tried this unique type of co-parenting.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, when Affleck and Garner issued their joint release statement, they did not specify a reason for the divorce, but they did specifically say they planned on trying out co-parenting in the short term.

"After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce," wrote the Hollywood couple. "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. Thank you for understanding."

Multiple sources have confirmed that we will likely see Affleck/Garner live together within the same home they purchased several years ago for the entire family. They have three children, Violet, Seraphina, and Samuel, but they also live in a mansion with over 8,000 square feet of living space. As such, Ben Affleck's home will be on the property, but not necessarily within the main house.

"It's obviously a very sad time for both of them," a source said. "They have been trying to save the marriage for years, but they know it's the right thing for their family and for them. The kids will continue to come before everything."

If Affleck and Garner live together, it may be a fairly unique living situation since the majority of divorced parents who try co-parenting usually maintain separate households. The popular view of co-parenting suggests that children of divorced parents who frequently move back and forth between households are more stressed. But a study from the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health suggests the opposite is true.

This is an important factor since reports claim Ben Affleck has been living out of a hotel prior to the recent divorce announcement. This means Jennifer Garner is essentially allowing her soon-to-be ex-husband to live closer to the children.

Dr. Malin Bergström, researcher at the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Stockholm, believes having regular contact with both parents seems to be the biggest factor when it comes to long term success.

"We think that having everyday contact with both parents seems to be more important, in terms of stress, than living in two different homes," Bergström explains. "Only having access to half of that may make children more vulnerable or stressed than having it from both parents, even though they don't live together."

The co-parenting study looked at 150,000 Swedish children ranging in ages from 12 to 15 years. Researchers evaluated the participants on psychosomatic health problems, including sleep problems, concentration difficulty, decreased appetite, headaches, stomachaches and feelings of tension, sadness, and dizziness. In short, researchers found that kids who spent time living with both parents had significantly lower problems than those who spent time living with only one parent.

"Children will do best if they know that their mother and father will still be their parents and remain involved with them even though the marriage is ending and the parents won't live together," the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry notes.

Paulette Gray, family attorney with Gray & Gray LLC, says the "best thing for children whose parents are going through a divorce is to have a consistent schedule." The Washington Post notes that a "parenting plan" ensures "that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents, and that both share in the responsibilities of raising their children."

"Parenting plans may be crafted from scratch, or they may be customized from a menu of templates and sample plans available from court or private organization websites. Parents often negotiate these plans by themselves, with the help of a mediator, or through counsel. The plans should be flexible but fairly detailed, describing each parent's area of responsibility in providing for the child's residential and physical care as well as emotional well being, both at the time the plan goes into effect and as the child ages and matures."
When Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner live together after the divorce, it could even be seen as a case study. Divorced couples living together is certainly an oddity, but in modern times, the recent U.S. recession has made it a necessity for some Americans. Others have also found the living arrangement can be less stressful than finding news homes.

For example, Clark and Valerie Tate are divorced yet they still live together in the same home while taking care of their son Jason. The husband had been divorced before and he says the living arrangement is actually better.

"I've been through that road before, and I knew the other side of it. I knew that wasn't exactly what I wanted," Clark explained.

His ex-wife agrees, noting that as long as they stick to certain rules this type of co-parenting works for them.

"We weren't considering really changing the structure of our family unit," Valerie said. "We give each other private time. Maybe Jonah and Clark are out of the house, or vice versa. But most of it is private time spent elsewhere."

What do you think about the co-parenting method being attempted by Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner?

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