Gwyneth Paltrow brought the term “conscious uncoupling” into the public eye with her divorce to Chris Martin. At the time, she said “I know it’s a dorky term, but it’s very worthwhile. I wanted to turn my divorce into a positive,” said Gwyneth. Yes, she’s right. It’s a dorky term. But maybe it’s a good idea. Evidently it’s good enough for Chris Pratt and Anna Faris who have decided to use the theory in their divorce, involving six-year-old son, Jack.

Collaborative Divorce: The Kinder, Gentler Separation

Though it doesn’t sound as warm and fuzzy as “conscious uncoupling,” “collaborative divorce” is the legal name for this sort of arrangement. The concept, according to Forbes writer Jeff Landers, is that divorce isn’t a “one size fits all” sort of thing. It should be customized to fit each different marriage, and that often isn’t available in traditional divorce court proceedings.

With collaborative divorce, each spouse hires an attorney trained in the collaborative divorce process. The attorney advises the client, and then the clients/spouses negotiate their own agreement with one another. But at some point, all four do come together to work out a legal deal, and bring it in front of a judge to sign. Sometimes financial planners and therapists get involved. Whatever it takes to get to calm.

The Down and Dirty on Collaborative Divorces

All of this is lovely, but collaborative divorces aren’t for everyone. All financial disclosures are voluntary in this sort of divorce, and if there’s any reason to think one side won’t fully disclose, or is hiding any money, this isn’t for you. Also, you have to be your own best advocate using conscious uncoupling. So if you think you can’t adequately stand up for yourself to your future ex, this is definitely not for you. And lastly, Landers says that collaborative divorces are not a good option if there is a history or threat of domestic violence or drug/alcohol addiction. So, this probably wasn’t an option for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Rumor has it this is the process Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have been using. I guess that explains why it took over three years to officially divorce.

If you want to try your hand at conscious uncoupling, contact a local divorce attorney and ask about collaborative divorces. Makes sure they are formally trained in this process, and see if it’s right for you. If not, you can always get down and dirty using traditional styles.

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