By now, many people in Illinois have likely heard of the term “conscious uncoupling.” Coined by actress Gwyneth Paltrow upon announcing her divorce, it describes an approach to divorce that is thoughtful and child-centric. Although many people have poked fun at the term, Paltrow and her soon-to-be ex may be on to something.

Call it whatever you want, but taking a conscious and level-headed approach to divorce or separation can be very beneficial — especially when children are involved. When a couple lets negative emotions dictate their decisions in divorce, they may not end up with the best resolution possible.

When you are angry with your ex-spouse, it is often tempting to funnel that anger into your divorce proceedings, and maybe even into your parenting — whether you mean to or not. Resentment, spite and hatred are powerful emotions that can be all-consuming. They have led some couples to resort to deep blows to get a piece of property, and others to use their children as pawns. Although these feelings are normal during a divorce, keeping them in check can make the process go much smoother.

Instead of focusing on your anger toward your ex, try focusing on your children instead. What is best for them? Should they get to spend just as much time with you as with your ex? Will talking about how much you resent your ex in front of your kids have a negative effect on them? Maybe the idea of conscious uncoupling isn’t so strange after all.

Of course, in some cases, a peaceful resolution is very difficult to achieve. In either situation, it is important to work with an attorney who is familiar with Illinois family law.

Source: Huffington Post, “Conscious Uncoupling: Helping Divorced Parents Avoid Unconscious Un-Parenting?” Rosalind Sedacca, April 9, 2014