BBC’s The Split the final episode – is it possible to have a ‘good divorce’?


13th May 2022

Does a 'good divorce', or even a 'perfect divorce', exist?

My previous blog on The Split focused on the issue of a notice to show cause application. The final episode in the final series ended with a wedding, and a podcast interviewing the divorced-but-still-friends Hannah and Nathan.

We continue to watch The Split with the expectation that for those not working in Family Law, the profession appears glamorous and dramatic. Although family lawyers undoubtedly have memorable cases, sadly, the ease with which matters are seemingly resolved on-screen is not always true of many real-life cases.

The final episode gave rise to several interesting points, but the outstanding one perhaps was contained within the opening few minutes – is it possible have a ‘good divorce’?

Ruth Defoe had asked the question hypothetically on her podcast. It appears that the answer was provided at the end of the episode, with Hannah and Nathan being interviewed together for the podcast following their divorce being finalised, and a financial agreement reached.

The previous episodes had demonstrated what divorce lawyers see all too often during their clients’ divorce; bitterness, anger, insults and unreasonableness, to name a few. This is understandable in such difficult circumstances. They also demonstrated how outside influences can affect the way in which a divorce is conducted. Lawyers can only act on their client’s instructions, so how do we help people reach an outcome more like last-episode Hannah and Nathan?

Really, the Code (which is not new) embodies the concept of a ‘good divorce’. Practically, this means that we will use our skills to encourage families to put the needs of children first, to understand financial and emotional consequences of decisions, and guide clients through the options open to them. Further though, as lawyers, we are able to advise clients whether the agreements they may reach with their partner are fair, achievable within the remit of the law, and in line with what a Judge might order at a final hearing.

In doing so, we are keen advocates of routes to resolution that do not require the Court to become involved. We have in-house mediators and collaboratively trained lawyers, and regularly point clients in the direction of services that may assist them, including family consultants, financial advisors and contact centres. We consider that this enables clients to work together as much as possible to reach an agreement that is workable for everyone involved.

For various reasons, it is not always possible to have the ‘perfect’ divorce, whatever that might mean to those involved, but as Ruth said, who knows what’s on the other side? Whilst her divorce from Oscar took place prior to Series 1, at the end of the final episode, she finally married Ronnie, and happily drove off into the London suburbs. (Did she have a pre-nuptial agreement? One for another blog perhaps!) The definition of a ‘good’, or even ‘perfect’, divorce should therefore be in the judgment of the participants, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

If you would like any information on the above, please contact one of the Family team.

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