Conscious Uncoupling: Useful Tools for Divorcing Couples

The shocking realization that your marriage is ending often elicits understandable rage and sadness. You can stay angry or you can start to move forward. People do have choices, and the 2015 bestseller, Conscious Uncoupling: Five Steps to Living Happily Even After, by marriage and family therapist Katherine Woodward Thomas, offers both useful life perspectives and practical tools for moving forward.  These perspectives and tools help divorcing couples to better manage the many inevitable conflicts during divorce, so they can make better decisions for themselves and their children, and then move forward with their lives more quickly and productively. 

The book’s jacket notes provide a good summary:

“Sometimes, for many reasons, relationships come undone; they don’t work out. Commonly, we view this as a personal failure rather than an opportunity. And instead of honoring what we once meant to each other, we hoard bitterness and anger, stewing in shame and resentment-sometimes even lashing out in destructive and hurtful ways, despite the fact that we’re good people at heart. That’s natural: we’re almost biologically primed to respond this way.

Yet there is another path to the end of a relationship — one filled with mutual respect, kindness, and deep caring. Katherine Woodward Thomas’s groundbreaking method, Conscious Uncoupling, provides the valuable skills and tools for you to travel this challenging terrain with these five thoughtful and thought-provoking steps:

Step 1: Find Emotional Freedom

Step 2: Reclaim Your Power and Your Life

Step 3: Break the Pattern, Heal Your Heart

Step 4: Become a Love Alchemist

Step 5: Create Your Happily-Even-After Life

This paradigm-shifting guide will steer you away from a bitter end toward a new life that’s empowered and flourishing.”

In addition to the book, the author offers a series of Internet-based courses for people who wish to uncouple consciously with new-found emotional strength.

Division of Debt in Tennessee Divorce Law

It may be appealing to forget about the marital debt since it can be an unpleasant thought, but the division of debt must be part of the divorce.

Debts are applied against all of the marital assets in divorce to determine the net marital estate. They necessarily reduce the value of the overall assets to be divided.

If one spouse assumes more debt than the other in the divorce, they can be awarded more of the assets to make up the difference. It is important to obtain your credit report, especially if you have not been the spouse in charge of the family’s finances. This way you can make sure of all the debt you have in your name.

Under Tennessee law, you and your spouse are free to divide the debt in whatever way seems fair to both of you, but some of the factors a court would consider are the following:

  • who benefitted from the debt
  • who has the ability to carry the debt payments after the divorce
  • who incurred the debt in the first place
  • what are the tax consequences, if any, of carrying the debt.

Sometimes creative solutions need to be employed to handle the division and disposition of large amounts of marital debt.

Financial and tax experts in concert with your attorney can be helpful in solving complex debt issues, such as when parties owe back taxes to the IRS, or when Qualified Retirement plans might be used to pay off debt.

Please also see the series of TN Law Topics in the web site on the Division of Property under Tennessee law.