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Kids and Divorce, Lessons From Jennifer Garner

With all of the fanfare surrounding the academy awards in recent weeks, it’s hard to miss the bevy of news coming from Hollywood involving the most high profile celebrities. This month’s Vanity Fair Magazine features Jennifer Garner on the cover, discussing her divorce from Actor, Ben Affleck.  The article goes into a lot of detail surrounding their relationship, but one piece really jumps out, and that’s how she describes the cordial relationship that she and Ben Affleck have maintained.

 “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.”

What a great perspective and certainly one that takes an incredible amount of maturity. Sure, the cynicism in us all can all poke holes in this image. Perhaps financial concerns and other stresses that one might assume are removed from this divorce scenario may make for a friendlier environment.  That being said, there’s that old American saying,  “…don’t judge another until you walk a mile in their shoes.”

To be friends with an ex is a leap, but how do you take the first step towards this end?  

  1. Take the time you need . Prior to starting anything new, it’s important to move beyond the current state of a relationship. Time will allow a new perspective to set in, opening you up for a fresh start.
  2. Be respectful.  It takes less energy to be positive than negative. Be a good example for your children and take the high road whenever possible. Give the benefit of the doubt and always give the other person a chance to explain themselves before jumping to conclusions.
  3. Be clear in your intentions. Don’t waiver with your feelings and don’t treat this new friendship like you did your relationship. Maintain a distance and stay firm on boundaries.

Although building a true friendship with an ex-spouse can be a long and difficult road, making this commitment is a lifelong gift that you’ll give yourself and your family. Teaching your children how to be respectful, to have a sense of humor and to work hard to build important relationships will provide them with a positive, stable environment, during what can otherwise be a rocky road.

If you are considering divorce, contact an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney to discuss your personal situation.

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