Divorce custody cases can be gut-wrenching.

I was involved in a case one time where the fighting between the parents was so inane –  so incessant that, at one point, the judge threatened to have the children live in one house.  Let the parents go back and forth.  When it was “their week”.

It was awful.

It didn’t happen.  I think one of the parents finally gave up.  May even have moved out of the country.  The fight wasn’t about the children.  It was just a continuation of the fighting in the marriage.

Pretty typical.

Last week, Gwyneth Paltrow’s stated intent of trying to divorce amicably, remaining friends with her soon-to-be ex, caused a lot of talk .  It may have been the term she used.

Conscious uncoupling.

For a lot of us, that’s just a little fru-fru.  A little too new age-y.  I felt like I wanted to burn some incense…

I , like many that I have heard talk about it, don’t care what you call it.  Whether you call it mediation, divorce therapy, collaborative divorce.  Or conscious uncoupling.  It’s hopefully a much less volatile and friendlier way to put an end to a marriage.  So that the interests of the children can be paramount in both parents’ minds and hearts.

Frequently, the hardest part of these “amicable” divorces is watching the children grieve.  Watching the effect of the loss on their lives.  Parents have to realize that just because they are okay with it – the children are probably not.  It will take them some time.

I have also noticed a trend in the last 10 years.  Folks don’t call their marriages “marriages” as much anymore.  They call it “my relationship”.  “My relationship with my wife…. or my husband….”.  “I am sick of this relationship”.  Or perhaps more happily, “I have a really great relationship with my husband”.

What’s going on?

It seems to me that we may be avoiding the idea of commitment.

If marriage is just another relationship in our lives, then perhaps we don’t take it quite so seriously.

I am sure there are lots of people who don’t feel this way.  At all.

It’s just something I have noticed.

Ms. Paltrow said it is hard to stay married.  She is right.  It is hard.  To work out your differences and disappointments.

However, I know personally that when your marriage ends, it is also hard to work through the feelings of failure that you experience.  Even if that end is desired.  And agreed upon.  It still feels like failure.

I wish her and her family well.

I admire her intent to try to make her choice to divorce as easy on her children as possible.

May others learn from that choice.



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Photography by Deborah Strauss