Last month, we welcomed back the heroines of BBC legal drama ‘The Split’ for a second series. Led by powerful, self-made matriarch, Ruth Defoe, played by Deborah Findlay, we continue to follow the personal and professional lives of her and her daughters as their family law firm merges with another, more male-dominated firm.
Sexual politics and personal lives aside (because they are so complicated and demanding we wonder how anyone actually gets the work needed for high-net worth London cases done) the show has been ground-breaking in its concept and line-up, but how has it portrayed the professional world in which it is set?
One the face of it, the emotion and personal situations involved in family law should lend itself to relatable and entertaining drama. The fact that this second series feels more focussed on the personal relationships of its characters than those of their clients, is indicative that family law far more complex and difficult to bring to the screen.
Gone are the hours spent listening, consoling, calming, reassuring, researching, reading, gathering information and dictating letters, in favour of high-octane power-walks down corridors in tailored fashion and towering heels, dramatic face-offs in skyscraper boardrooms and threats of a variety of severe-sounding court orders and injunctions.
This is all perfectly understandable, and there are insightful moments, such as the speech Ruth gives while collecting a lifetime achievement award in episode four in which she references how, at the start of her career in 1970, family law was an ‘unfashionable’ area of the profession until women like her proved they could build outstanding and rewarding careers, and then men began to ‘muscle in’.
However, so far, The Split has yet to portray the progress and developments, fought for many years from within the profession, of family law in recent years. Mediation, Collaborative Law and the calls for No Fault Divorce do not have the same dramatic impact, but are now an important part of creating a less hostile, aggressive and adversarial approach to separation and divorce.
The true failing of the television series has been the missed opportunity to show the diversity of modern family law. The main (and only major client) plot outside the family drama is between Donna Air who plays Fi Hansen, a famous television personality who becomes desperate to leave her professional partner and husband, the controlling Richie Hansen, played by Ben Bailey.
Fi is fragile, confused and fearful of her dominating and manipulative husband, especially when it is revealed he has compromising bedroom footage of her (which is confusing in itself, because many celebrities have built or enhanced their careers with such attention).
Would it not have been more sensational, more interesting and more worthwhile putting the spotlight on a man who was in the vulnerable position of divorce proceedings? Men being subservient, manipulated and dominated is not uncommon, but rarely mentioned in favour of the traditional gender roles within a divorce situation.
It’s a shame that The Split has chosen to follow a stereotypical portrayal of relationship breakdown rather than acknowledge the myriad of circumstances we deal with every day.
Slick, glossy and glamorous, the BBC has created entertaining prime time drama, but is it representing family law? Opinion is Split.
We have set out below a full list of the services our Family Department can provide whatever your circumstances. If you do however have a query which does not relate to any matter detailed below, please do contact our Family team who will endeavour to assist you.
Divorce or Civil Partnership Dissolution
Whether you are the Petitioner or the Respondent within proceedings or whether you are simply contemplating the same we can provide guidance throughout the entire process. We can assist with:
- Drafting of documents
- Negotiations with the other party
- Correspondence with third parties such as the Court
- Advice face to face, by telephone, by email.
Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
Whether you are planning to marry or indeed have now married and wish to formalise arrangements in the event of separation we can advise and assist with the following:
- Drafting agreements
- Negotiating settlement
- Corresponding with all parties
Whether you are married or living together and in the event you decide to go your separate ways we can assist in formally documenting terms of separation. We can assist in the following ways:
- Drafting Separation Agreements whether in contemplation of divorce or whether to simply record the split of a cohabiting couple
- Negotiations with third parties
- Providing you with advice whether face to face, by telephone or by email.
Arbitration is an alternative to resolving disputes through the Court. At Verisona Law we can assist in a number of ways either by assisting you through the Arbitration or by referring matters to our in house Arbitrator. We offer competitive arbitration rates and a member of our team will be happy to assist with any queries in this regard. Please see our current articles on Arbitration for more details about the process.
If you have chosen not to marry but wish to live together you may wish to formalise the arrangements and details for doing so. We can assist in the following:
- Drafting cohabitation agreements/living together agreements
- Negotiations with all parties
- Advising you in person, by telephone or email as appropriate.
Divorce where Business are involved
We have extensive experience in dealing with breakdown of marriage where one or both parties are owners of businesses or indeed it may be the family business. We have experience in providing you with advice and signposting for business valuations and will ensure that the business as an asset is dealt with appropriately within any proceedings.
In addition to being able to provide specialised advice in relation to Public Sector pensions our team at Verisona Law has vast knowledge concerning all pension arrangements and can ensure that they are dealt with appropriately within any divorce proceedings. Please seek advice from a member of our team.
We are able to advise on all aspects of Parental Responsibility including:
- Agreements / Orders
- Exercising your Parental Responsibility rights and duties where appropriate
- Arising out of Parental Responsibility we can advise on applications for a Specific Issue Order to the Court if appropriate.
If you have any queries concerning Parental Responsibility and its impact on you or indeed whether you have Parental Responsibility for your children, please seek advice from a member of our team.
Assisting through Mediation
Whilst we do direct a number of matters through Mediation, this does not mean that you cannot have legal advice throughout the process. We can advise and assist you through the Mediation process and arrange thereafter to draw up formally any agreement reached be this by way of a Consent Order in divorce proceedings or simply to record in an open document the agreement you have reached at Mediation concerning the subject of your dispute.
Whether you are married or otherwise, or indeed simply have an interest in a property owned by another we can provide you with advice and assistance including;
- Applications to the Court
- Negotiations with all parties
- Advising and assisting you face to face, by telephone or by email.
This is an alternative way to resolve family disputes without the involvement of the Court. The Collaborative process requires both parties to have a Collaborative Lawyer and endeavours to resolve any disputes by way of four way meetings. We at Verisona Law can assist you through the Collaborative process. If this is an avenue of resolving dispute that you would be interested in, please contact a member of our team.
We at Verisona Law can provide you with advice and guidance concerning any disputes you may have relating to your child. This may be with whom the child lives, with whom the child spends time with, a specific issue concerning a child or steps that you wish to take to prevent something happening (Prohibited Steps Order). We can also advise you in relation to maintenance disputes with a third party guidance with dealing with the Child Maintenance Service. If you have a query with any issue concerning your child please contact a member of our team.
Change of Name
Please contact a member of our team if you are interested in changing your first or surname to discuss the drafting of a Change of Name Deed. We offer a fixed price for a Change of Name and we can provide you with further information upon request.
I went to Verisona Law because I had been unsatisfied with two previous attempts with other firms. Verisona gave that real sense of service, made.me feel like a client they were happy to assist at all times and ultimately gave the BEST advice and guidance. Dont waste money; go to Verisona FIRST!