Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her Coldplay-frontman husband Chris Martin made waves earlier this year when they announced their intention to – "consciously uncouple" (aka "divorce"). Though divorce in Hollywood is nothing new, nor is it exactly newsworthy around the country, with an average of 50 percent of first marriages ending, the method by which Paltrow and Martin plan to split has garnered headlines across the country.
Though the phrase"conscious uncoupling" may sound silly, pretentious or just plain weird, it is actually a well-respected and proven method to end a marriage in a non-adversarial, amicable way. The process involves both spouses being cognizant of the feelings of their partner, recognizing the value of respect, understanding the need to co-parent in the future and looking at this time as more of an opportunity than a setback.
"New age" as it may sound, the basic principles behind "conscious uncoupling" are very similar to those underlying other cooperative divorce methods, particularly divorce mediation and collaborative divorce. Both of these involve the couple working together with the common goal of peaceful conflict resolution without the interference or intervention of a family court judge unfamiliar with their family's unique dynamics.
Many divorce attorneys will now suggest mediation or another non-adversarial method before going the traditional litigation route since, though it may garner the attorney a bigger paycheck, the toll on all parties involved is much more difficult. Litigated divorces tend to take longer, cost more, leave the final decision in the hands of a judge, foster a spirit of conflict instead of a spirit of collaboration, and take a higher toll on children of the marriage.
Source: New York Post, "Ordinary folk take Gwyneth's lead to 'consciously uncouple'," Kate Storey, May 27, 2014.