The Split – Seeing beyond just a legal drama

The Split – Seeing beyond just a legal drama

This is my second blog about the popular television drama, The Split. I’m resisting the urge on this occasion to correct the many inaccuracies in terms of the law and the daily life of a family lawyer.

What captivates me is the vulnerability of each of the characters.  They each have their inner turmoil, despite an outwardly privileged life. The series shows the importance and strength of human connection and chemistry.  It also demonstrates the power of love and the utter devastation of unrequited love.

Life as a family lawyer is not glamorous. It’s full of pressure.  We work with many who are often at their lowest ebb in life. They need a lot from us and take a lot of our emotional energy. This series delivers the complex truth of family separation and that is what sets it apart for me.  It shows the emotional pain of divorce and separation, often exemplified when there is infidelity.  The strength of rage, anger, grief, sadness and regret is all consuming. The impact it has on families and children is evident.   

We see Hannah’s daughter struggling to manage, reaching out and seeking attention from her school teacher and smoking weed.  It seems that she is crying out for attention, acutely aware of what’s happening between her parents, despite them trying their hardest to hide it.  We see her quietly watching the interaction between her parents and it is clear she sees the devastation and understands what is going on.  When her mum was upset her reply was ‘has he done it again?’

We see the fall out of family breakdown and it’s devastatingly sad to watch on screen.  However this is the reality of what our family clients are dealing with when they go home and have to co-exist with their spouse and manage the day to day minutiae of getting through a divorce.

The law cannot and does not address how our clients feel, their emotional needs or holistically the impact on the wider family, including grandparents but most importantly on children.  Family mediation addresses the law but it also tackles, gently, the emotions and grief.  The emotions one feels cannot be hidden in a face to face process, nor should they be in my opinion.  Letting your feelings be seen and heard in a safe setting can be enormously helpful in being able to move forward and face the uncertainty that follows divorce and separation.

After all, as a society we are trying to look after each other by being kind and taking care of how we feel.  I feel passionately that we also need to do this more on divorce or separation.  Checking in on how it impacts, acknowledging the emotions that flow and taking care to ensure that children are not caught in the middle will mean better divorces and outcomes for those families. What do I mean by better? Less acrimony, less solicitors’ letters, less financial cost and less emotional cost.  This will create more focus on working towards a mutually acceptable outcome which takes into account everyone’s needs and enables families to move forward with communication intact and emotions acknowledged and addressed, with appropriate professional help, so that the trauma of divorce doesn’t continue years after involvement of family professionals has ended.  After all, The Split demonstrates so clearly what is truly important, what we need and the real trauma of family separation and that’s why I will continue to champion in the work I do for better divorces.   

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