TMZ was first with the news, followed by People, US Weekly, E! and others citing anonymous sources that Garner and Affleck filed papers Thursday, without the aid of lawyers and in a manner suggesting a coordinated legal strategy. That will likely mean a mediation instead of an all-out fight in court.
Together, Garner filed a divorce petition and Affleck filed a response. Both cited irreconcilable differences, both are seeking joint physical and legal custody of their three children under the age of 11, and they are negotiating a financial settlement, according to the reports and the Associated Press.
Unlike some recent celebrity divorces, such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Garner and Affleck appear to be on the same page despite dissolving what would be a 12-year marriage in June.
“We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children,” Garner and Affleck said in a joint statement at the time they announced their split, in June 2015. “This will be our only comment on this private, family matter.”
Despite some early bad headlines (was Ben dating the nanny?), the two actors have managed to maintain a friendly, kids-focused relationship since they announced they intended to divorce, profusely praising each other in public and in interviews.
They have spent holidays together with the kids, and they have been seen together in public. When she was filming a movie in Georgia, he stayed with them at her rented home. All this led People to assert last month that their sources said the divorce had been called off, for now.