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The Split – Hit or Miss?

Last night saw the BBC debut their new drama about a family of female family lawyers in London.

The first episode introduced us to the different characters and showed them both at work and at play.

I watched the programme firstly as a fan of the hugely talented Nicola Walker, and secondly; with the interest of seeing whether it accurately portrayed family lawyers. On the first point I was more than happy. On the second, not so much.

There were some clear breaches of professional conduct and certain legal talk was outdated or misleading. Less than 10 minutes in the so called “doyenne of family law”, who clearly should know better, referred to “access” when commenting upon a father spending time with his child. This was a big disappointment given that the term has not been used since 1989 and the introduction of the Children Act.

This was later followed by comments about a separating wife being “entitled to 50%” which is both inaccurate and an over simplification of the factors of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, which will determine such issues.

Finally a reference was made to a father (not a mother to whom the same principles apply)  having visitation rights to see his child. Unless such arrangements would cause the child harm or potential harm, the child has the right to spend time with each parent, not the other way around.

In contrast to the above, there were however two comments that I thought rather valid. The first is that if a parent is a fundamentally good parent then it is generally always better for the child to spend time with them. The second was that in reference to divorce, “who says it needs to be terrible?”

I shall continue to watch to see what happens, as purely as entertainment I quite enjoyed the show. I would however ask that anyone finding themselves in such a situation, please seek expert legal advice and do not believe everything you see on TV !

Eric Robinson Solicitors has a family law expert in each of our offices. Both fixed fees and hourly rate services are available depending upon your needs and requirements.