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It’s January, a new year and the beginning of what’s known as “divorce month.” But when you file for divorce doesn’t really matter — what matters is how you divorce, especially if you have young children. Say what you will about Gwyenth Paltrow and her vaginal jade eggs, and Goop’s $290 sweat set, but there’s one thing the actress-entrepreneur really gets — divorce.

Since she and Chris Martin consciously uncoupled in 2014 and divorced in 2016, the two have worked hard to maintain a good and close relationship for their kids, Apple, 13, and Moses, 11.

“I honestly think Chris and I have contributed something positive to the culture of divorce,” she said last year.

I do, too,

Recently, the couple and their kids vacationed in the Caribbean. According to what a source tells E! News:

They always keep it very amicable around the holidays and they have remained good friends. Gwyneth and Chris try to keep things as normal as possible for their children, and always have a good time together as a family unit. They try to plan at least one family vacation together per year for the sake of the kids. The children are used to the family dynamic now and love when they are all able to be together.” tweet

According to another source:

They only want the best for one another and are very supportive,. They have moved on from being married into this new phase of their life. It’s unconventional, but it works. They made a commitment to always put their kids first and do what’s best for them and that’s exactly what they are doing. That means spending the holidays together, traveling together, and being a family. A lot of Gwyneth’s divorced friends go to her for advice because she has made this transition look so easy. She says it’s not easy, but you just do it because you want what’s best for your kids.” tweet

Children tie parents together

Divorce, of course, is a new phase of a couple’s life. But, if they have kids together, here’s one thing that doesn’t change — they are still parents and that ties them together forever, and their kids still want love, time and attention from both of them. That doesn’t mean you have to take vacations together, but why not?

As law professor Patrick Parkinson says, “The experience of the last forty years has shown that whereas marriage may be freely dissoluble, parenthood is not.” Divorce is no longer the end of a relationship; it’s a “restructuring of a continuing relationship.”

Why is spending time together as a family so “unconventional”? OK, my former husband and I haven’t done that. But we have celebrated holidays and birthdays and graduations together with our boys. Not only do our kids appreciate that, but it has shown them that there are many ways to be a loving family, even if Mom and Dad no longer love each other.

The new modern family

Canadian journalist Brandie Weikle, founder of the The New Family website and podcast, found a way to make her divorce work: her former husband, Derek DeCloet, moved out of the family house and moved in next door. They share meals and holidays together with their two children, and now that DeCloet’s married again, his new wife is part of their family time together. “We are still very much enjoying raising the kids together,” Weikle says.

You can bet the kids enjoy it, too.

So, yes, Gwyneth — you and Chris have “contributed something positive to the culture of divorce,” influencing a number of other newly divorced celebrity parents like Sienna Miller, who admits to doing the nightly bedtime routine together with former partner and father of her daughter, Tom Sturridge, and Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, who also take vacations together with the kids.

This past Thanksgiving, Gwyneth posted an Instagram of Chris and her fiance, Brad Falchuk, around the dining table with the hashtag “#modernfamily.”

Modern families are not as “unconventional” as you think, and that’s a good thing.

Most of us end romantic relationships with anger, hurt, accusations, resentments and often vengeful thoughts, with kids stuck miserably in the middle. We know from studies that it’s conflict, not divorce per se that hurts children. If you’re divorced and hope to have a new romantic relationship one day, wouldn’t it be better to make it as peaceful and loving and conflict-free as possible for you and your kids?

Want to know how to have a parenting marriage? (Of course you do!) Then read The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels (Seal Press). You can support your local indie bookstore or order it on Amazon.


One Response to “Gwyneth Paltrow knows how to do divorce right”

  1. Rob says:

    Do the smart thing and don’t get married in the first place — problem solved!

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