“Conscious Uncoupling” – can ordinary couples separate like Gwyneth Paltrow / Chris Martin?

 On 25 March 2014, Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin posted the following entry on Ms Paltrow’s website www.goop.com

Conscious Uncoupling

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.

Gwyneth & Chris

Much has been written and debated about the notion of “conscious uncoupling” and perhaps the phrase is too “American” for us to digest – but at its core perhaps it simply means trying to separate in a way that will focus on the children’s best interests or a financial settlement that will benefit you both as much as possible, and acknowledging that whilst you may no longer be in a romantic relationship with your ex-spouse, you will have some ongoing involvement in each other’s lives through your children.  Is this an avenue only open to celebrities or the rich and famous?  Can ordinary couples “consciously uncouple”?  Yes – if the separated spouses have the ability to embark upon an amicable and respectful separation.

So the question then arises, can you have this “conscious uncoupling” and still see a family lawyer and get the advice you require? Or does attending upon a lawyer send up smoke signals that World War III is about to commence?  The answer is yes, and no.  You must choose your family lawyer carefully, and if you are hoping to experience an amicable and respectful separation and resolution of property and parenting matters, than consider consulting with a lawyer who is trained in mediation or collaborative law.  Our family law team offers 2 collaboratively trained lawyers – Head of our Family Law Department and Partner, Sophie Pearson and Senior Solicitor Rebecca Barron.  Nicole Fitzgibbon in our family law team also has experience in negotiation and mediation, despite not having formal collaborative training.

If you wish to discuss your family law matter, please contact our office.