Marriage Story – The reality

14th February 2020

This universally acclaimed Netflix film with recent success at the Oscars (Laura Dern picked up Best Supporting Actress) has been widely praised for the realistic portrayal of a crumbling marriage.

Directed by Noah Baumbach (rumoured to be based on his split from Jennifer Jason Leigh in 2013), the film stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as the ‘Arty’ couple living in New York with their young son, navigating their way through a painful separation.

What starts out as an amicable separation with an agreement not to involve lawyers, “What’s there to fight about? This is going to be easy – we’ll take half each and go our separate ways,” soon turns toxic when Johansson’s character takes a job on the West Coast and is advised to file for divorce by a flamboyant, gritty lawyer played by Laura Dern, although the film never really apportions blame which would be easy to do but instead leaves the audience having sympathy for both characters.

Seek professional legal advice as soon as possible
We see many clients who had hoped for an amicable separation without the need for solicitors, only to have hit a stumbling block some time down the line, perhaps due to differing points of view of how to split assets or where their child should reside (as in the film).  That is why we would recommend seeking expert legal advice as soon as possible to avoid questionable agreements being entered into which may favour one spouse over the other. Entering into an agreement which is not suitable and then reneging on it can often cause more resentment than negotiating a fair and reasonable split from the beginning.

Try to avoid conflict
Although the pair’s lawyers battle it out in the Court room in the film, apparently with some relish and much mud- slinging on both sides, the reality is that most English solicitors do try to avoid conflict from the outset.  All our solicitors at Acclaimed Family Law are members of Resolution, an organisation whose Code of Practice has been adopted by the Law Society, which promotes a non-confrontational approach to family law matters, considering the needs of the whole family including the best interests of children.

Prioritise the needs of children
Admittedly, not all separated couples are going to see eye to eye, but regardless of what issues there are between the parents, the needs of the child must take priority.  Above all, children need stability, security and reassurance that although circumstances may change, the fact that both parents still love them will not change.

Moving forward
The ending of the film shows life after the dust has settled with both parents genuinely having their child’s best interest at heart and working together to effectively co-parent.  There is an obvious respect and affection remaining between the two, which can only be a positive for them all going forward.

If you would like advice about your particular situation and your options please book online or call 0114 399 2355 for a free 30 minute consultation with one of our expert family law solicitors.

We believe in supporting our clients from beginning to end.

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