The divorce of celebrities Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner has made big headlines in recent weeks. Some have commented that the breakdown of the actors' seemingly-solid, 10-year union makes the rest of us question whether our own marriages are stable enough to survive rocky times.
According to a recent news feature form People, Ben Affleck was seen in Atlanta for the weekend spending time with his estranged wife, Garner, and the couple's children. The paparazzi were on hand, and Affleck arriving at the couple's rental home on Friday. The next day, the couple and their children went to lunch, to a local mall and to see a movie together.
Much to everyone's surprise, Affleck was still wearing his wedding ring. This has lead to speculation the couple is trying to work out their differences and get back together. However, sources close to the couple are saying this was only a weekend for the family, and the couple was still trying to work out the details of their separation.
The couple had been married for a decade prior to Garner filing for divorce, and have three minor children together, all under the age of 10.
Since filing for divorce, Garner has moved to Atlanta with the children, though Affleck has been down to visit several times. Around the same time the divorce was announced, it was reported Affleck was having an affair with their family's nanny, though Affleck is strongly denying this occurred. However, one source alleged that, for Garner, this latest accusation was the “final straw” for her, and she soon filed for divorce.
As our Birmingham divorce attorneys can explain, there is nothing wrong with a couple who has filed for divorce to decide they want to get back together, but it is important to speak with your attorney about any steps you are taking toward saving your marriage, as they may cause unintended legal consequences.
For example, certain fault and no-fault grounds for divorce require the parties to live separate and apart for a certain amount of time, depending on the specific ground asserted. However, it is understandable that many people cannot afford to live in a physically separate residence while a divorce is pending, and, in many cases, even after a divorce is made absolute. For this reason, courts have decided that living separate and apart means not living as a married couple, even though both spouses may be living under the same roof. This generally involves separate bedrooms, but even this may not be enough. The true test involves cohabitation, which, essentially, is a legal term for having a sexual relationship.
The reason this is relevant is because, if the parties try to work out their differences and decide to have a romantic weekend together or otherwise end up engaged in a sexual relationship, this may reset the clock on many divorce grounds and prevent the couple from getting divorced for quite some time, if the reconciliation doesn't work out.
It is also important in cases involving fault grounds, such as adultery, because, if you are seen as having “forgiven” a spouse for committing a marital offense, you may be precluded from proceeding with the divorce on that ground.
Ben Affleck Continues Wearing His Wedding Ring While Reuniting with Jennifer Garner and Family in Atlanta, August 9, 2015, People, by Adam Carlson