The debut of The Split, a new TV drama on BBC One about the legal battles of divorce solicitors, has caused controversy amongst many family law practitioners over its artificial portrayal of the divorce process. In this article, our family solicitor Rachael Haine discusses her views on the programme, what it really means to be a divorce lawyer and the reality of getting a divorce.
Like many family law solicitors, I was intrigued about the BBC’s new legal drama, The Split, which explores the world of divorce and divorce lawyers.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the programme is exciting and full of drama, of course, it needs to engage its audience. But, it is also a very misleading and factually incorrect portrayal of the divorce process and the way in which family solicitors work – not to mention the number of ethical breaches!
I’m sure other family law practitioners were shouting at their TVs when the wife turned up at her solicitor’s office with her husband’s bank statements that she had found, which the solicitor happily accepted!
The Split portrays the world of divorce lawyers as highly glamorous, with bullish solicitors fighting their client’s case with antagonistic roundtable discussions or marching into court hearings with little compassion.
However, the emotions shown are all too real – the hurt, the anger, the betrayal, the deception, the pain and the fear. These are emotions that family lawyers deal with every day. It is for this reason that we need to be compassionate so our clients can feel comfortable with us. Divorce lawyers work with people who are experiencing one of the most traumatic and emotional events of their lives, so it is important to offer empathetic and strategic legal advice.
The Split ignores the fact that, in reality, family law solicitors spend most of their day working through piles of documents, or calmly acting as a mediator to help clients amicably agree on their financial deal or child custody matters. Many family lawyers are members of Resolution, which promotes a non-confrontational approach to divorce and family matters that aims to keep the heat out of the situation.
As divorce lawyers, we work tirelessly to find the best approach to help our clients through any dispute and to exit the relationship with as little pain and stress as possible. We are dealing with people’s lives and emotions; relationship breakdown is enormously painful for those involved, and worse still for the children involved. These are REAL people, not a TV drama.
Of course, every divorce solicitor will fight their client’s corner, but it has to be managed in a compassionate way. We have a responsibility to give our clients honest and clear legal advice about the prospects, and as there are several different reasons and grounds for divorce, this advice must be tailored to suit the needs of each individual case.
People going through the emotional turmoil of a family breakdown have enough to handle, without being misled about the divorce process. Those contemplating divorce should be reassured that not all family law solicitors are as lacking in empathy and compassion as those portrayed in The Split.
Find a divorce solicitor in Essex
Divorce doesn’t have to be a lengthy and costly ordeal. Whether you need support making child custody arrangements or want to draw up a settlement agreement, we will work with you to find the solution that is best for you and your family. Visit our website to find out more about our divorce services.
Our family lawyers at Giles Wilson Solicitors can offer dedicated, compassionate advice throughout the divorce process. So, if you are currently going through a divorce, or if your relationship has broken down, click here to get in touch. Alternatively, you can pop in to visit our family law solicitors in person at one of our three offices in Essex.