Many of us have probably never heard of, or indeed used the phrase ‘conscious uncoupling’ when referring to the separation from our partner or spouse. However, the celebrity couple Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have confirmed in the press that they are to split after 10 years of marriage and stated it to be ‘conscious uncoupling’. They have always been seen as the married couple who never wanted to be a celebrity couple and have tried to live out of the limelight in keeping their family life and private life private.
Whilst most of us are not celebrities or in the limelight, there is no reason why we too cannot follow in the footsteps of Gwyneth and Chris in dealing with matters in a private and dignified manner for all involved.
When a couple announce that they are separating, sometimes the first thought is about divorce proceedings and dividing assets and so forth. Although there are many practical issues that need to be considered and legal issues alongside that, it does not necessarily mean that Court proceedings have to be issued or indeed divorce proceedings have to be considered. There are many other options available to couples which include parties continuing to live separate and apart but resolving financial matters on the basis of entering into a Separation Agreement. Couples can also try alternative forms of dispute resolution to reach a financial settlement or agreeing the arrangements for the children in the form of Mediation or the Collaborative process rather than pursuing matters through the Courts which can not only be an expensive process but also can be time consuming as well as increasing animosity and ill feeling between parties. This is something that most couples wish to avoid particularly where their plan is to co-parent their children and where they would wish to have an ongoing civil relationship with one another both in the short term and the long term. Certainly that seems to be the intention of Gwyneth and Chris.
It is probably a lot easier for Gwyneth and Chris to resolve financial matters between them due to their wealth. In most cases where a couples financial circumstances are modest, it would be prudent for legal advice to be obtained so that the best arrangements can be put in place for all parties concerned and in particular those of the children. Therefore we would advise couples that want to consider alternative options to divorce proceedings and Court hearings, to contact one of our lawyers who would be able to discuss with you the procedures for a Separation Agreement or looking at Mediation or the Collaborative process as an alternative way forward.
If you wish to discuss these issues please contact one of our family solicitors in Ipswich.