Brian D. Perskin & Associates

What is “Conscious Uncoupling”?

Gwyneth Paltrow harnessed the power of social media and announced her " conscious uncoupling" from long-time husband and Coldplay front man Chris Martin on her lifestyle blog earlier this week. Since the announcement, news outlets have been buzzing about Paltrow's unique choice of words for divorce. While some critics are claiming that the actress is being pretentious, experts say the concept of conscious uncoupling isn't necessarily new.

Conscious uncoupling is, in its most basic sense, a collaborative divorce. Both parties are consenting to the separation and they are aiming to have a non-combative divorce process. This hints towards the idea that the couple is splitting amicably and that their divorce is uncontested. It is rumored that Paltrow and Martin had an open relationship and had been living separate lives for some time, so the decision to divorce probably didn't arise overnight.

Paltrow included an essay penned by Dr. Habib Sadehi and his wife Dr. Sherry Sami regarding conscious uncoupling. The two write about the idea that there is wholeness in separation, and that each party can find a lost part of themselves upon divorce. They write, "Conscious uncoupling brings wholeness to the spirits of both people who choose to recognize each other as their teacher. If they do, the gift they receive from their time together will neutralize their negative internal object that was the real cause of their pain in the relationship". The authors believe that once each person begins to heal emotionally and spiritually, that they will be able to take their newfound positive energy and focus it on co-parenting.

Divorce, regardless of the circumstances surrounding it or the nature of the act itself, can be traumatizing to children. In her much circulated blog post, Paltrow mentions how she and Martin are planning to co-parent their two young children. By doing so, the pair will help their children transition into single parent households and better cope with the notion of divorce. Co-parenting is a great and incredibly useful strategy for divorces and separations that involve children. M. Gary Neuman, a psychotherapist and marriage expert, weighed in on the idea of conscious uncoupling in an article posted the Huffington Post. He said, "…When people 'consciously uncouple', it means we're going to have a clear awareness about how this is going to affect the children going forward". Young children, like Paltrow and Martin's, may have a harder time processing that their parents are no longer together, and by co-parenting, the pair are doing their part to ensure that their children flourish in a post-divorce environment.

It has been theorized that by committing to a conscious uncoupling process, Paltrow and Martin are deciding to take the high road in what is usually a difficult time. Emotions typically run high during divorce, but if the pair are to apply the principles that encompass conscious uncoupling, then they are taking strides to not make their divorce one that is filled with tension. Even though it is too early to tell, some experts believe that the celebrities are going to be making every effort possible to not talk about their divorce (or bash their former spouse) publically. Nathalie Boutet, a family lawyer from Toronto, compared conscious uncoupling to collaborative divorce, saying that the two are very similar. According to Boutet, "[Conscious uncoupling] is simply thinking about the consequences of your actions. It's making plans rather than reacting to emotions like fear, anger or revenge".

Divorce can take on a life of its own, but it's up to you and your spouse to decide exactly what kind of life that is. It's argued that divorces involving children are the toughest and most emotionally taxing, but by choosing to take a more collaborative (or, in Paltrow and Martin's case, a conscious uncoupling) approach, you can ensure that the process is as stress free as possible. The law firm of Brian D. Perskin & Associates is comprised of a team of lawyers, who are knowledgeable throughout all aspects of matrimonial and family law. With a combined total of 40+ years of experience under their belts, the lawyers have advocated on their client's behalf in contested, uncontested and collaborative law proceedings, as well as child custody and visitation cases throughout the New York City area. Call (646)-791-3228 or (718) 875-7584 to schedule your initial consultation today!