Monthly Archives: April 2014

Alaina L. Storie selected as Fellow to the MSBA Leadership Academy

Ms. Storie was honored to be selected to the 2014-2015 Class of the Maryland State Bar Association Leadership Academy, which is a 12 month program designed to assist lawyers to become better leaders, offer opportunities for future leadership roles in the MSBA, and develop and implement a public service project.

Conscious Uncoupling – A New Approach for Divorcing Spouses; Is this a Realistic Expectation?

Conscious Uncoupling. This phrase has been recently popularized by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin following their separation, and received many a smirk, groan or eye roll in response. However, this term has apparently been around for years. Conscious uncoupling is used in place of the dreaded “D-word”. This alternative term implies approaching divorce from a more objective standpoint – you tie up the loose ends of the relationship, transition into your future, and make it a healthy, cathartic process. But is that a realistic expectation when the breakdown of a marriage is fueled by so much negative emotion? Is there such a thing as a “healthy divorce?”

The answer to these questions is yes…well, maybe. We already have various alternative dispute resolution options – mediation, settlement conferences, collaborative law and collaborative divorce. In the end, it is still the “divorce process,” but we would not have these options to resolve a case if they did not prove to be successful. As family law attorneys, we are hired to take the pieces of a broken marriage and equitably divide them, whether that be through negotiation or litigation. We are tasked with managing our client’s emotions and expectations, and we work hard to settle our cases so the parties are in control of their fate, not a Judge. But, ultimately how we get to that end result is dependent on our client. If our clients “consciously” choose to look at their divorce as the wrapping up of a relationship arc, perhaps that could set the tone for an amicable outcome. I doubt there will be a check box option for “Conscious Uncoupling” when asked by the Court if my case is appropriate for referral to an alternative resolution dispute process. But you never know; Gwyneth and Chris may be on to something.

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