Season 3: The Split – the themes explored and how might they apply to you

There was many a theme in the most recent series of The Split. It’s one of those dramas that received mixed views amongst family law professionals. Whilst there were some questionable elements (such as the main lawyer turning up at a client’s house to intervene in a psychological assessment, and said assessment being carried out by the new partner of the soon to be ex-husband of the said lawyer) I think that there has to be an element of creative licence for the good of a TV drama which shouldn’t be over-analysed – but note that this couldn’t be allowed to happen in real life!

Notwithstanding, there were some important themes explored throughout the series – I have dealt with the three that stood out most to me.

The concept of a ‘Good Divorce’ – what is it and can it be achieved? 

I don’t think this can be strictly defined. It will mean something different for everyone. Is it acceptable that marriage, for some, is finite and that being recognised as separating and remaining friends? Is it being able to put aside ill feelings towards one another for the sake of ensuring a united front and focus on your children? Is it working together to decide what will work for you, your ex and your children being two homes instead of one? Is it putting aside the idea of ‘fault’ for the greater and longer-term good?

A Good Divorce can be one, all or a combination of the above. It may be none, it may be something entirely different. What starts in less than friendly circumstances, may evolve as everyone processes their emotions. The emotional process most often happens at different times, as one of you already knew that change was needed, and the other is playing catch up. However, the concept itself cannot be understated. It is without a doubt that in whatever form it is achieved for you and your family, it can set the path positively for getting through what will be one of the most emotionally challenging times of your life.


‘Nesting’ is a family arrangement where it is agreed that the children will remain in the family home whilst the parents rotate between houses. Sounds simple, right? One can see how this might appear an attractive option, at least in the short term, but in my view will be very circumstance specific and does require a good deal of accord, mutual understanding and respect between separated parents for it to be successful and a positive experience for the children (let alone the parents!). Certainly, not the time to (a) have your new partner ‘stay over’ or (b) make big announcements. Child arrangements are such an important part of the process of separating, and decisions made need to be carefully considered as to how they will work for your family and your children – not only logistically – but how they will meet the emotional and physical needs of children of different ages.

The concept of ‘Nesting’ and the court’s view on it is a blog in itself, so keep an eye out.

New relationships

In the show, this theme cuts through the episodes and evolves rather quickly and intrinsically into the lives of the main family. It may have dug a little deeper into your core if personal experience also involved a pregnancy. It may have raised emotions – shock, upset, anger, resentment, hurt – to name only a few. It may have undone some of the legwork and emotional resilience you put into getting things moving on the right path. 

There is never a ‘right’ time to disclose a new relationship to your ex or your children. A new person in your children’s lives, a baby at a time when everyone is still working through the idea of a change in the existing family unit, let alone new partners and half-siblings. What is important is recognising that whilst one of you may have taken that step, the other may be somewhat behind the curve. Try not to ambush, and don’t make unilateral decisions about when and what the children should be told. Be mindful of everyone’s feelings and that children of different ages will take the news of a new relationship very differently. Try and have an agreement with your ex-partner as to sharing this news to enable you all to manage the information that is given and, best support yourselves and the children whilst you navigate new waters.

As a final thought, a quote that stood out for me during Episode 1 was ‘Family lawyers thrive on conflict’. Without a doubt, there are some that do, but I have been a family lawyer for over 12 years and in my experience, the vast majority of us want to help and support our clients, and by extension their families, through these times in the most constructive, least destructive way we can. Of course, it takes two to tango, but that is most certainly the goal.

If any of the issues raised in this blog resonate with you or someone you know, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We are always happy to have an initial chat to see how we may be able to assist you.

By Emma


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