Jennie Garth, Peter Facinelli: Case Study in Amicable Divorce

As of this Tuesday, actors Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli are officially unmarried in what some in Hollywood are billing as the “nicest” divorce ever.

The couple moved to end their marriage last year when Facinelli, best known for his starring role in the Twilight series, filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences. Garth later filed her own petition for divorce. The pair have three daughters: Luca, 15, Lola, 10, and Fiona, 6.

In a statement issued at the time they separated, Garth and Facinelli said: “While we have decided to end our marriage, we both share the same deep love and devotion to our children. We remain dedicated to raising our beautiful daughters together.”

Of course, we all know that these kinds of statements are made all the time when public figures or celebrities divorce. But in the case of Garth and Facinelli, they seem to really mean it! Looking over reports of the pair’s unusual divorce settlement, here are some reasons why they may have been able to achieve such an allegedly amicable divorce.

1. They put their kids first. When couples divorce, animosity and hurt feelings between spouses can often overshadow the shared commitment two people have towards their children. This can lead to arguments over who is the better parent, or attempts to punish the other parent by putting up a custody fight, rather than work on a fair solution for parenting time disputes.

According to reports, in their divorce settlement, both Garth and Facinelli have agreed to share child custody of their three daughters. Celebrity magazines over the past year have shown photos of Garth and Facinelli showing up at various school functions together, which seems to imply that they are comfortable being apart, but together in supporting their kids, and sharing their time.

2. They respect each other’s finances. It’s not clear whether Garth and Facinelli had a prenuptial agreement, but it appears that neither made a claim for spousal support. These are two high net worth individuals with busy careers. In their case, determining support can be different then it is for a typical middle class couple. However, it is notable that neither party made an attempt to “drag out” the divorce by putting in a claim for support as a way to fight the prenup or simply to battle the spouse who contests this claim.

3. They acknowledge their continued link. When couples, especially couples with children, divorce, there are lingering issues that may dictate both parties remain in contact with one another for years to come. Does this have to be misery? If you were able to use the divorce process to establish a more positive relationship with your former spouse, you will probably find yourself in a better position to calmly and peacefully communicate with this person.

In the case of Garth and Facinelli, there really haven’t been any ugly “he said/she said” moments, even though the gossip magazines have certainly been on the lookout for them! According to reports of their divorce, the couple have come up with a plan to each deposit equal amounts of money into a joint bank account for their children (presumably to pay for college), with both having full access to the account.

Is this kind of financial closeness good for everyone? No. But it does point out that divorce doesn’t need to be a war, or even a battle. You really can come out on the other side with a friendly, amicable relationship. Or at least no longer feeling so much anger!

Would you describe your divorce as friendly?