What is Conscious Uncoupling?

Last week Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced the end of their marriage in the following statement on her website Goop.com:

“It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate. We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate. We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been. We are parents first and foremost, to two incredibly wonderful children and we ask for their and our space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time. We have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and coparent, we will be able to continue in the same manner.”

As a family law attorney and follower of all things celebrity, I was intrigued by the phrase “conscious uncoupling.” I was not the only person as it turns out. Blogs, talk shows, national news, morning TV, you name it have been discussing the phrase conscious uncoupling ever since Gwyneth Paltrow released her March 25, 2014 statement.

This morning, the Today Show interviewed psychotherapist Katherine Woodward Thomas, the creator of the concept “conscious uncoupling.” The phrase was created in 2011 as an approach to divorce in a “no drama” fashion that protects the children and avoids finger pointing. As explained this morning by Ms. Thomas, conscious uncoupling is “a break up that is characterized by good will, generosity and respect and a process that leaves both parties feeling valued and appreciated for what they shared. It is a process where two people are striving to minimize the damage that they do to themselves and their children.” Does conscious uncoupling appeal to you? Ms. Thomas offers online courses on the subject.

The bottom line is divorce is difficult. There will still be the division of assets and debts and issues relating to the children such as child support and possession schedules. Only time will tell if Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin will be able to separate and divorce in a manner termed conscious uncoupling.

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