Gwyneth Paltrow’s and Chris Martin’s ‘conscious uncoupling’

Posted by Naomi Hayward

Senior Associate & Collaborative Lawyer

Media jargon or a fresh approach?

As Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announce their separation after 10 years of marriage you could be forgiven for thinking that their joint statement about the split is full of Hollywood nonsense and jargon.

They announce “we have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and co-parent, we will be able to continue in the same manner”, is this actually something we could all aspire to if we are similarly faced with a separation?

Many of us will know that facing a separation can be one of the most difficult times of a person’s life and it can be full of challenging decisions and high emotions, particularly when children are involved.

However, if separating partners are able to agree at the outset to reach an amicable agreement about financial matters and the arrangements for the children then this could avoid the stress, animosity and expense of a stereotypical divorce.

The statement released by Gwyneth and Chris appears to be largely focused on the children, which is also the Court’s approach in the UK.  It also indicates that they are committed to reaching an agreement rather than resolving matters through the Court system.

One way that you could try to “consciously uncouple” is to agree with your ex partner at the outset of your separation that you will try to reach an agreement through mediation.  This is a process where the separating couple have several meetings with an independent and impartial mediator in an effort to reach an agreement in an amicable environment.

An alternative option is to agree to use the collaborative law process which is a process where you and your ex partner each instruct separate collaboratively trained lawyers and agree at the outset to meet altogether, face-to-face to work things out and reach an agreement.  You would each sign an agreement at the outset indicating your commitment to resolving the issues outside of Court.

As family law in general encourages couples to explore these alternative methods of resolving issues following a separation, you too could aspire to and achieve a “conscious uncoupling” just like the A-list celebrities by adopting one of these approaches.


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