As you may know, we are now into week two of the BBC’s new, six-part series, The Split. For those who have not watched this new drama, it tells the story of two generations of female family law lawyers based in London, who now work for two firms, following a dispute between a mother who founded the firm and one of her daughters who left for pastures new when her mother refused to step down.
The number of clients who have mentioned this show to me in the last two weeks has been staggering. Keen to know whether the series replicates life in the world of a family law Solicitor who does this type of work day in day out, the questions I’ve been asked are endless. In all fairness, for me, the portrayal of shifting perspectives on marriage and relationships from people at very different stages of loving and being left, together with the fragility of family is striking and the most readily identifiable to my daily life in helping families resolve their difficulties.
Some of the scenes are however made for television and should stay there. In the real world of family law you would:-
not invite a husband and wife to a meeting, only to watch one person tell the other that their marriage is over
not expect a Court to uphold a pre-nuptial agreement when there is less than a week to go before a wedding ceremony and you have not seen disclosure of assets.
not speak to the other party in private in the knowledge they have instructed a Solicitor to represent them.
not tell a client to litigate for the sake of it, turning your face against settling matters.
A positive from the show that is common in the real world of family law is a round table meeting. As the name suggests, it is a meeting either around one table or in the same building where you, with the support of your Solicitor, can resolve issues. Over the last 20 years whilst I have been doing family law work, this method of resolving disputes has been one of the most effective. It allows an early, effective resolution to issues regarding children and financial matters, in a cost proportionate manner. It is but one of many forms of dispute resolution which families can use to allow them to resolve their difficulties.
With four more episodes to go, let’s enjoy the drama for what it is, knowing that real resolution to any family law difficulty is only a phone call away.
If you and your partner are considering divorce, Farleys’ family law team can provide advice and guidance throughout the process. Contact our experienced team today on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.