In a day and age where life throws its everyday challenges at us, it is safe to say that most of us want someone in our lives to be able to share those daily triumphs and tribulations with. Dare I say it, we want our own real-life version of a fairy-tale love that Walt Disney opened our eyes to from our childhood films.

Sadly, as with most things in life, love does not always work out. No matter the fight and inner strength we may have to make love and, indeed, a marriage last, life (and sometimes other people) just get in the way. People can grow apart, and divorce is suddenly looming. Those dreams you had to get married to the then, love of your life, turn into a nasty case of reality, where you want nothing more than to get shot of the person causing you grief and heartache.

In December 2019, Netflix released a poignant film that seems to have made an impact. A Marriage Story depicts how a couple with varied lifestyles, interests and different personalities fell deeply in love and married. Like something out of a movie, right? Cliché. Things then spiral downhill and with a child adding to the mix, the couple find themselves unable to make ends meet and eventually enter divorce proceedings. Whilst this is an American film, what A Marriage Story depicts is the universal struggle couples face worldwide when their marriage irretrievably breaks down and there is no scope for reconciliation. It also depicts all factors of the divorce process – highlighting the sheer importance of mediation and couple’s counselling, through to finding a divorce lawyer who will fight their corner without being aggressive or governed by fees.

The film also engages in portraying how finances within marriage are dealt with and who gets what as well as who the children will reside with and what contact arrangements will be put in place. It also demonstrates that couples may start off trying to settle and part with each other in the most amicable way, but this may not necessarily be achieved if both parties are not willing to cooperate.

The process of a divorce can seem daunting and the division of assets of the marriage can prove even more difficult than initially envisaged. Parents can then have to deal with divided loyalties and mixed priorities in both wanting to have the children of the marriage reside with them as opposed to their partners but also wishing to follow their children’s wishes. Sometimes we can forget that we are dealing with someone we once loved and wanted to share a future with. With common sense and logic being clouded with emotions running high, one can often use divorce as a way to get revenge on their partner.

What A Marriage Story brings home is the importance of finding the right solicitor for you. You want to be able to trust your solicitor and feel reassured that they will support and back you. Initiating divorce proceedings is never easy and takes personal courage and strength. To then face hurdling through finances and children arrangements, the overall process of a divorce can really challenge you. At rhw Solicitors, we pride ourselves in providing quality legal services whilst being approachable, understanding and empathetic. Divorce can never be an easy decision or process and you want to find a lawyer that will put in groundwork and approach your situation empathetically and with genuine care. A Marriage Story proves that finding the right lawyer can really change the way in which your case pans out.

A Marriage Story captures the reality that many couples face dealing with the difficulties of divorce. A divorce can break a family, but if you both can work in cohesion with each other and not against each other, you can reach a working agreement that will allow you both to move on and seek that “clean break” from one another that you may just need. With the Government’s proposed intent to remove the element of the blame game in divorce proceedings where one party blames the other, the new Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill first discussed on 7th January 2020[1], is coined to be the biggest change to divorce laws in the last 50 years. The purpose of the new law is to “ease impact of unnecessary conflict on couples and children”[2]; and will allow either spouse or the couple to be able to make a statement that their marriage has irretrievably broken down. A further helpful addition is that the laws shall remove the ability for a spouse to contest or defend a divorce initiated by their spouse. This proves not only more cost effective; but can also prevent abusive partners from trying to exert control by defending a divorce.

At every stage, rather than fighting tooth and nail, perhaps taking a step back and remembering the importance for both of you to move on with your respective lives will help you find agreement and mutual understanding. The UK court system requires couples to consider if mediation can be sought to prevent court intervention if possible, particularly where children and finances are concerned. It is therefore essential you find a solicitor who will advise you and negotiate a settlement for you, without pressing on with court proceedings, if it can be avoided. – Clare McNeill

Contact our friendly and efficient family law team at rhw divorce solicitors in Guildford. Let us assist you in helping you get past a potential pitfall in your life. A divorce or breakdown of a marriage does not mean your life has to come to a standstill. We’re here to help you. Email  or call us on 01483 302000