In case you’ve been stuck under a rock for the last week, the latest buzzword in separation and divorce is ‘Conscious Uncoupling’, cited as the method of choice for Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin when they announced their recent split.
The idea of ‘Conscious Uncoupling’ has made waves in the press as a ‘new form of divorce’, but while it certainly raises awareness of the potential for non-antagonistic separation processes, the attempt to find a solution to dispute resolution that minimises damage to families is nothing new. There are several established alternatives to court divorce that offer exactly this kind of method of separation, putting the well-being of parents and children at the forefront of the legal process, and aiming to reduce stress and conflict for everyone involved. Mediation and collaborative family law provide ways for you and your partner to work through issues in your marriage so that you can separate with dignity and mutual respect, providing a solid base for your family as you move into a new life. The theories behind ‘Conscious Uncoupling’ are similar, and while some may be put off by the ‘floaty’ phrasing, there are many positive elements within this kind of process.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Katherine Woodward Thomas – psychotherapist and creator of ‘Conscious Uncoupling’, explained the approach: “Conscious Uncoupling is a way to break up that’s really characterised by goodwill and generosity and respect. It leaves both people feeling respected and appreciated for all that they shared – it actually leaves them feeling valued. And they also agree to do their best to minimise the damage to themselves, to their children, […] and to each other.”
In a blog post on Paltrow’s website Goop, an explanation of the method suggests that as our life expectancy increases, long-term marriage becomes less and less realistic: “Social research suggests that because we’re living so long, most people will have two or three significant long-term relationships during their lifetime,” the article states. In an attempt to adapt to this new way of looking at marriage, finding a positive way to end a partnership that has run its course is at the core of ‘Conscious Uncoupling’. The approach has been slated for its spiritualist elements, but the fundamental message of the method seems to be that by realistically managing your expectations of your relationship, making a break needn’t be unnecessarily painful, complicated, or stressful.
And when it comes down to it, isn’t that what we’d all like separation can be? We wish Gwyneth and Chris all the best in finding their way through the uncoupling process, and if you’d like to know more about alternative methods of divorce, please get in touch with one of our down-to-earth solicitors at Frances Lindsay & Co.
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