Chris Martin Discusses "Uncoupling"

After what could be called the most famous “uncoupling” ever, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin is now stepping forward to talk about his divorce from Gwenyth Paltrow.

Chris Martin Discusses “Uncoupling”

When Gwenyth Paltrow announced her separation from husband and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, she described it as a “conscious uncoupling,” seemingly marking and describing this new trend in mind-thought regarding divorces. Though the two have been able to remain friends for the sake of their kids, Apple, 11, and Moses, 9 — when Martin sat down with the Sunday Times he admitted that he’s dealt with feelings of failure.

“You can come at it very aggressively and blame and blame,” he said. “Or you can put yourself in the garage, so to speak. Take yourself apart and clean off the bits. Reassemble.”

“It’s always out there in the media, but I have a very wonderful separation-divorce. It’s a divorce but it’s a weird one,” he said. “It’s funny. I don’t think about that word very often — divorce. I don’t see it that way. I see it more like you meet someone, you have some time together and things just move through … I’ve lived a lot of life since then.”

What is Uncoupling?

Rather than a hostile break in a relationship, “conscious uncoupling” is more of a gentle un-linking. The announcement, which ran on Paltrow’s lifestyle site, was posted alongside an essay about “conscious uncoupling” written by Drs. Habib Sadeghi and Sherry Sami. The two specialize in integrating Eastern and Western medicine. Their argument is that expectations for a lifelong marriage need to evolve along with humans’ expanded life expectancy. You could define “success” in a marriage by looking at how meaningful and fulfilling the relationship is for both partners, rather than how long the marriage stays together.

Divorce and legal experts have weighed in on the phrase, saying that “conscious uncoupling” might signal a non-combative and collaborative way to think about the divorce process, especially if there are children involved.

Reasons for Calling it “Conscious Uncoupling”

Psychotherapist, marriage expert, and creator of the Neuman Method, M. Gary Neuman, feels “conscious uncoupling,” acknowledges that the couple is the center of the family (often seen as single unit to the children). Thus, uncoupling from your partner essentially de-centers the family and is “an act that will have a profound, lifelong effect on children, no matter how it’s done.”

Paltrow and Martin committed to “coparent” their two young children in their separation announcement.

Lawyer Nathalie Boutet also notes that from a legal standpoint, “conscious uncoupling” could indicate that Paltrow and Martin desire to engage in a collaborative, not combative, divorce.

Amicable, collaborative divorces allow couples to avoid unnecessary conflict and the kind of legal combat that only prolongs and makes public the negotiations, explained Boutet.

But “conscious uncoupling” could go beyond the legal process, said 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.”

Collaborative Divorce

Lawyer Nathalie Boutet considers that from a legal standpoint, “conscious uncoupling” is indicative of a divorce. As she explained, amicable and collaborative divorces allow couples to avoid any unnecessary conflict. This type of conflict prolongs and publicizes negotiations, explained Boutet. According to her, “[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.”

During a collaborative divorce process a team of four people—lawyers for each spouse, a mental health coach and financial professional – work together to create a workable solution for each spouse regarding child support and visitation, spousal support, and marital property division. Because the collaboration is done face to face, each spouse is able to voice his or her own opinion. The process allows people to come to an emotional, financial, and legal solution.

Less Expensive and Less Time Spent

Collaborative divorces can also mean less money spent on the divorce process. According to Jenkins, when a divorce goes to trial, you can pay $100,000 just to get to the courthouse steps. But an average collaborative divorce costs about $32,000. “People are raiding their retirement accounts just to pay for divorces,” said Rackham Karlsson, an attorney. “Going to court can be more expensive, more time intensive and corrosive for children.”

The average collaborative divorce takes three to four months to reach a settlement whereas divorce cases that go to trial can drag on for years. Because it’s up to a judge to come to a final decision, there is little control over timing and outcome when it comes to a divorce case that enters divorce court.

Alternative to Standard Divorce Process

There are numerous reasons why collaborative divorce is a perfect alternative to a standard divorce. If a couple is capable of working through a divorce through collaboration and working with various professionals, they are, in the long run, able to save time, money, and a lot of headaches.

Irreconcilable Differences

Paltrow and Martin were married for 11 years and are expected to be citing irreconcilable differences as their reason for ending their marriage.

In most states, “irreconcilable differences” is a reason for which a person is able to file for divorce. Filing “irreconcilable differences” typically means there is no hope the couple will be able to resolve the problems they have and save the marriage. Some states use the term ” irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” It’s important to note that each state has different requirements regarding filing for divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences. You will want to work with an attorney to learn your state’s specific laws regarding grounds for marriage.

In California, which is a no-fault state, irreconcilable differences serves as grounds for divorce. “No-fault” means that neither party is at fault for the end of the marriage. So neither spouse is able to be found “guilty” for committing any sort of extenuating act, such as adultery, abandonment or extreme cruelty.

It makes sense that Paltrow and Martin are citing irreconcilable differences as the couple seems to have maintained friendly relations despite the end of their marriage. This is extremely important for couples that share children.

Co-Parenting with Uncoupling

Co-parenting is a crucial part of ending a marriage. It seems that the parents of Apple and Moses have managed to work out a co-parenting relationship.

What is co-parenting and how can you do it effectively? It’s often the child or the children that take it the hardest when it comes to divorce. Co-parenting is a completely new way of living your life. You might need to consult a therapist or lawyer to work out an arrangement. Regardless of what you decide, you’re going to have to dig deep and find an approach to this new way of life.

Kids Interests First

To be a successful parent, and thus “co-parent” you will need to put child’s best interests above your own and forge an amicable relationship with your ex. You two don’t need to be besties, you just need to find a way to make this new relationship work.

This can be done in a number of ways:

  • Work out a method of communication – via text or email
  • Remove the emotion
  • Work out a schedule
  • Be flexible
  • Commit to cooperating

Once you have an agreement regarding your co-parenting situation, just know that it will not always be easy.

Working With a Family Law Team

Divorce can be an emotionally difficult time. An attorney can help. An attorney will be able to help you through various aspects, including drafting a separation agreement, decisions on children, determining spousal support, and dividing marital property should you decide to divorce. Your attorney will also be able to advise you on your state’s specific laws regarding property division, child support, and alimony.

If you decide to hire an attorney to help with your divorce, it’s important to choose one that will be a good fit for you and your situation. When considering a lawyer for a collaborative divorce, you’ll want to align yourself with one that will represent you in the way you want to be represented. That can either be in an aggressive fashion, or more laid back. You will want to look at your situation and all the aspects of your marriage that will need to be decided and agreed to. A lawyer will be able to advise you on all the things you might not be aware of. This includes marital property division, child custody, and how these decisions will also affect you when it comes to tax season. They can advise on co-parenting schedules and how to work out child custody and alimony agreements. Working with an attorney will help you receive a fair divorce settlement.