15th May 2018

‘The Split’ – divorce fact and fiction

Aired on Tuesday evenings, the new BBC drama centres on a family of female divorce lawyers, their cases and their own family dilemmas.

The life of a lawyer is often glamorised when portrayed on screen.  I would love to compare my training to that of Elle Woods (female trainees of my generation will most certainly know I am alluding to the protagonist of ‘Legally Blonde’) or the drama of ‘Suits’. However, I can reassure you that my legal career thus far is a little more down to earth than the aforementioned portrayals of lawyers.

So, while ‘The Split’ may be proving popular; the series premier attracted some 4.3 million viewers. Does the show stick to the letter of the law, or is it just a flight of fantasy? Let’s dispel some myths…

1. ‘You will litigate, and it will be a war’ – It may add to on-screen drama, but litigation in financial settlements on divorce is not the only option. Though in some cases asserting rights through the courts is important, there are other avenues to explore when reaching a financial settlement.

At Berwins we encourage clients to consider the options that are most suited to you as a family. This could be through mediation or collaborative family law. Collaborative family law is a future focused approach which puts a greater emphasis on maintaining contact after the divorce, essential if children are involved, and generally comes at a lower financial or emotional cost than litigation.

2. Using child access arrangements as a bargaining tool in your financial settlement – Put simply this is incorrect and wrong. Children matters and financial settlements are separate legal processes. It is generally advisable to also keep these matters entirely separate for the benefit of any children who may end up caught in the cross fire.

3. ‘Who doesn’t love a circus’ – A good solicitor certainly doesn’t! Avoiding the ‘he said, she said’ when discussing issues around divorce and finances with your solicitor is practical advice and often cost effective for you. This may be difficult when certain incidents arise but keeping your focus on the bigger picture and the future outcome will be beneficial to you.

4. Oh and walking to work in six inch heels – impossible!

I will be watching tonight’s episode as the drama unfolds and no doubt I will be closely scrutinising the legal matters as they arise.


Charlotte Carroll is a Trainee Solicitor at Berwins. She is currently working within Berwins’ top ranked Family law team.

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