Most of the celebrity gossip in the past few days has been focused on the split of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, and understandably so -- but not necessarily for the reason you may be expecting. Yes, they were a celebrity couple which always makes for a good headline. But in this case, it wasn't their status as stars that made the Paltrow-Martin split the center of attention. Instead, it was the phrase Paltrow used to describe their split.
Welcome to the era of "conscious uncoupling."
That was the phrase that Paltrow used on her website to describe their divorce. Though it is an admirable attempt at making divorce seem high-brow, the question still remains: what is "conscious uncoupling?"
It appears that there really isn't anything different between conscious uncoupling and divorce, though the phrase could signify that Paltrow and Martin are looking to use a collaborative process -- such as divorce mediation or collaborative law -- to complete their divorce.
Conscious uncoupling could be a way of rebranding divorce so that it is less offensive to children, of which Paltrow and Martin have two.
In any case though, conscious uncoupling is divorce or separation, and vice versa. There's nothing wrong with taking a collaborative approach to divorce, even if you think you shouldn't have to acquiesce to your spouse on certain matters. Divorce mediation is a great way to handle tough disputes, and it can help a couple get through their divorce in a more amicable and speedy way.
Source: Huffington Post, "What Is 'Conscious Uncoupling'? Experts Unpack Gwyneth Paltrow's Split Announcement," Anna Almendrala, March 26, 2014