Before Gwyneth Paltrow used the term “conscious uncoupling” in 2014 to publicly announce that she and her husband Chris Martin were separating, the concept of conscious uncoupling, or conscious divorce, didn’t extend much past the psychotherapy community.
Since then, the term has been used extensively to describe what was previously called “amicable divorce” or “uncontested divorce.” In 2016, relationship expert Katherine Woodward Thomas wrote the book Conscious Uncoupling, and she now offers a five-week program of therapy designed to help individuals make a healthier transition from marriage to singlehood.
According to Thomas, while there is no precise definition of conscious uncoupling, it basically involves reframing divorce from a traumatic experience into one that focuses on the positive opportunities a split offers for personal growth and spiritual development. The goal is to end the relationship in a truly cooperative and respectful manner, which can have tremendous benefits for both the couple and their children.
It’s important to note that conscious uncoupling has no legal effect on the marriage. Rather, it’s about maintaining a positive mindset that seeks to mitigate the often terrible effects divorce can have on our emotions, family, and finances. In order to actually terminate the marriage and resolve all of the legal consequences that this entails, couples must still undergo a divorce. This is one reason many people often use the term “conscious divorce,” instead of conscious uncoupling.
Based on numerous reports from therapists and couples, we’ve laid out the primary benefits conscious divorce offers those seeking a more compassionate and mindful way to end their relationship:
1) A focus on the positives
Reframing a divorce from a traumatic experience to one that is ultimately positive is a process of adjusting one’s perspective, which can be extraordinarily powerful. Therapists who work with people at the end of life often report their patients wish they’d dissolved past relationships more amicably instead of focusing so much on the blame and pain involved.
That’s why one of the goals of conscious divorce is to move away from the “blame game” model to one that acknowledges that romantic relationships often end for a variety of reasons, not necessarily because it was anyone’s failure or fault. Like other changes in life, the best way to deal with divorce is to accept the loss of the relationship as a simple part of life’s natural roller-coaster ride of ups and downs.
The key to this mindset is to focus on all of the things you’ve gained through the relationship rather than what you’ve lost. You’ve undoubtedly shared some amazing times and learned a great deal from being married and by focusing on these aspects, you can not only experience less trauma, but also be better prepared to move into your new life beyond the relationship.
2) Puts the children first
When you’re tempted to keep arguing, choose your kids over being right. Don’t fight in front of your children and never talk negatively about your spouse with them. No matter what happens, you will always be a family, so keep this in mind when making your decisions. While conscious divorce seeks to minimize the pain and hostility for the couple, the most important reason behind such a mindset is to protect your children. By doing this, your children are far less likely to be seriously damaged by the divorce, and it will set the stage for everyone to move on to the next chapter in their lives in a healthier manner.
3) Avoids a contentious court battle
If you have ever witnessed a seriously contentious divorce proceeding, you can probably attest that such public battles should be a true last resort. Not only do these courtroom dramas take a toll on a family’s mental health, but they also can drag on for months or even years, unnecessarily draining bank accounts.
Conscious divorce, on the other hand, can not only dramatically minimize the time, cost, and emotional toll of divorce, it lays the groundwork for the new non-traditional family to interact and function once the court proceedings are over. This is a huge benefit for establishing a healthy co-parenting relationship, and showing both your children and yourselves that marriage can still be “successful” even if it ends in divorce.
As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can help you navigate the more contentious aspects of divorce in a “conscious” way by supporting you to find the right counsel to guide you. We’ll also help you restructure your assets properly after your divorce. If you’d like to end your marriage in a more positive manner, while ensuring that your children suffer as little trauma as possible, contact us today.
This article is a service of Levi Alexander, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session, ™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.