Jennie Garth: Peter Facinelli and I Are 'Great Parents Together'
updated 03/31/2012 AT 05:00 PM EDT
•originally published 03/31/2012 AT 09:35 AM EDT
"We are great parents together," Garth, who is mom to Luca, 14, Lola, 9 and Fiona, 5½, tells PEOPLE, "so when it's about the kids, it's wonderful."
The actress, who has raised their daughters on the couple's ranch in Santa Ynez Valley, Calif., for the past 1½ years, says she made sure their daughters knew their decision to split was not easy.
"They know the heartache that's behind all of this," she says. "They get it. They're doing surprisingly well."
"We make it very clear to them they don't have to choose sides," she adds. "They can go wherever they want and be with whom they want."
Garth is even considering giving up life in the country and moving back to Los Angeles, where Facinelli currently resides. "I want the girls to have more access to their dad," she says, "and I like him to be able to pick them up from school. I just want everyone to be healthy and happy."
For more on Jennie Garth's life as a single mother, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now