Is Conscious Uncoupling just a trend? (October 2015)

Conscious Uncoupling become present in the media when Gwyneth Paltrow called her separation a conscious uncoupling rather than a divorce. She has tried to illustrate how fantastic divorce can really be. Yes, fantastic. It certainly seems like a stretch, but more and more couples are exclaiming this to be true. Paltrow’s blog says: ‘You’ll see that although it looks like everything is coming apart; it’s actually all coming back together.’ The marriage and family therapist, Katherine Woodward Thomas, who coined the phrase “Conscious Uncoupling”, created a program for individuals to work through who are going through separation or divorce. (See more at: Conscious Uncoupling, Katherine Woodward Thomas )

The idea is that individuals who complete the program will come through separation with positive change and happiness. She created the program based on her own experience and learning in her own separation. One concept behind it is delaying the asset division and final decisions until the emotions have subsided to avoid making permanent decisions out of anger or loss. Couples will then make temporary financial arrangement and put off any larger decisions. Couples considering Conscious Uncoupling could use mediation to reach temporary financial decisions, including expenses, cashflow, temporary custody, temporary living arrangements. The temporary financial decisions could be memorialized in a written legal agreement pending a final agreement. While this program will not address how to divide assets, debts, custody and support, it certainly will make those decisions easier when the time comes.

Conscious Uncoupling broadens the black or white concept of whether to divorce or not. For years we have assured clients that they can in fact craft their own version of what works for them. Many couples uncertain of their future together chose to create a postnuptual financial agreement, finding that this alone can actually help support the marriage reducing some tension off of financial conflict. Other couples may chose to file for divorce, have a financial contract prepared and filed with the court, but then delay closing their actual marital status. Some couples complete a traditional divorce and yet remain in partnership with one another, living together or sharing finances together. Every couple’s and family’s circumstances are unique and there are creative solutions for every situation. Looking into these creative solutions can often take a lot of the pain out of a black and white divorce.