A seasoned family lawyer and mediator reduced to tears watching a fictional drama about divorce? Does that ever happen? Apparently so. I began watching the split and like many family lawyers active on twitter, I initially sat there angrily shouting at the screen at how inaccurate the storyline was.
Aside from the lawyers hurriedly changing into their killer heels before Court (that was me many a time), I felt annoyed that the drama did not reflect the reality of life as a family lawyer and would not help a profession where generally most people (wrongly) think that family lawyers are out to make money out of people’s sadness.
What struck me as the series progressed and I was able to see beyond the factual inaccuracies, dated legal terms and the way the lawyers conducted themselves was the strength of love and loss and the devastation when things don’t work out. I became engrossed in the rawness of emotions, brilliantly acted, and how that drives people to behave the way they do.
It really hit home again the impact of loss and how great a loss it is to lose a loved one, a life you have worked hard to create, a family and all the hopes and dreams that follow.
The emotional journey people go through when they suffer the loss of a relationship and it’s impact upon the children can never be underestimated. As lawyers it is all to easy to get lost in a legal process and the genuine desire to get the best outcome for a client. We all want the best for our clients and to help. As a mediator I see all too often the rawness of emotions playing out in front of me, often preventing couples from being able to move forward and make sensible decisions. These emotions can impact a persons life long after a legal process has ended.
The scene where the girls found the letters which had been sent to them by their dad over a number of years when they were led to believe he had abandoned them and the relief when they realised he has not left them was so painfully sad but is a reality for many children and parents who have lost contact with their children for whatever reason. Those words ‘he left you, not us’ resonated. I have said many a time to clients in that tough situation that one day their children will decide for themselves whether they want a parent to be part of their life and to see this portrayed so delicately with grace and grit in this programme hit home to me.
Yes, it was only a drama but it impacted me and I’m sure will have done for so many who are going through or facing these traumatic times. You may think it takes a lot to reduce a family lawyer who has seen thousands of divorces to tears but in reality we are all human and the ability to help those going through the most difficult time of their lives and see them through is a privilege.