Conscious uncoupling – what does it mean and how will it work for Gwyneth & Chris?

This phrase has been brought into the public eye following the decision by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin to separate. They have made a particular point of stating, that although their relationship is at an end, they and their children will still be a family and, importantly, they intend to maintain a form of relationship that will allow them to co-parent. 

Conscious uncoupling is not a process but is more of a concept. It suggests that we should not go into battle mode when a relationship ends. It says that, albeit a relationship has come to an end, in the vast majority of cases there have been many positives and each party has learned from the other. The whole ethos behind the concept is that after the relationship has ended, the couple will be able to maintain a relationship. That relationship will clearly not be the same as the original but will be of a different kind which will allow couples to communicate with each other and, significantly, to make decisions together as to what is best for their children.

The second relationship is an idea that is very much supported by collaborative law. Using this process, the parties agree to resolve their issues in a series of meetings, to work together for mutual benefit and not to go to Court. Both parties are represented by a trained collaborative lawyer and there is no damaging correspondence between solicitors.

The husband and wife are encouraged to make their own decisions about the welfare of their children and to work out an agreement in relation to the finances that works for both of them moving forward. While it is not suitable in all cases, it is a process that protects the second relationship and hopefully that will work for the benefit of both parties and for the benefit of their children.

If you wish to know more about the collaborative process, please contact our HM Family Team on 0141 227 9545.

Alan Susskind, Amanda Masson and Alexis Miller are all trained in collaborative law.