The recent separation of Gwenyth Paltrow and Chris Martin sparked many questions. But this celebrity announcement was unlike all others – instead of having us question “Who was to blame?” or “Was infidelity involved?”, it had us pondering “What is ‘Conscious Uncoupling’?” Even with our vast experience in the area of Family Law, we were as curious as everyone else.
While the term “conscious uncoupling” may be new to us, the legal concept behind it, collaborative divorce, is something that we have been practicing for years. According to an essay by Drs. Habib Sadeghi and Sherry Sami, which Ms. Paltrow posted on her website Goop.com alongside her announcement, our society’s expectation that marriage is a lifelong commitment is flawed in that it is unrealistic in an age where life expectancy has increased so dramatically to expect couples to remain happily married for life. “Because we believed so strongly in the ‘until death do us part’ concept, we see the demise of our marriage as a failure, bringing with it shame, guilt or regret. Since most of us don’t want to face what we see as a personal failure, we retreat into resentment and anger, and resort to attacking each other instead.”
In the “Conscious Uncoupling” approach, both parties take responsibility not only for their actions, but their own happiness. Theoretically, this should keep things amicable in a divorce situation, as both parties are feeling guilty and responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. During the collaborative divorce process, the lawyers assist the parties in resolving their conflicts by utilizing cooperative techniques rather than adversarial strategies and litigation.
Divorce is not easy for anyone, but for those parties who are committed to the process and are on relatively amicable terms, the “Conscious Uncoupling” of a marriage via a collaborative divorce, might be the way for them to resolve their issues with the least amount of disruption and stress to their family, as well as save time and expense.
Our attorneys at Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie LLC are experienced in working collaboratively to achieve the best possible results for our clients, including utilizing a “conscious uncoupling” approach.