Casual man watching tv on his sofa at home in the living room

As the TV series the Split continues to captivate audiences across the UK, including our very own family team, we saw the programme touch upon many family law issues from financial arrangements, facing your ex-partner in the court room and fertility law.

The drama ran high in relation to the plot involving Jaynie, a self styled lifestyle guru and cancer survivor and the devastating reveal that her husband had only given consent for the embryos to be stored because he thought she would die.  As she left the court room in tears emotions ran high.  Fertility law is extremely complex and it is vital that advice is taken at an early stage if you are thinking of freezing embryos. This will help avoid conflicts later if your situation changes and a relationship breaks down.

Perhaps for me the most resonant issue was when the characters Hannah, Nina and Rose confronted their mother Ruth, about letters and presents which their father had sent to them over the previous 30 years since their parents’ separation but which they had never received.  The impact this revelation had on the adult children is perhaps not so far from real life.

Keeping in touch when relationships break down

Often the adult emotion when a relationship ends can permeate down to children in an extremely damaging way. Sadly, during my years as family law solicitor it is not uncommon to see the blocking of one parent’s relationship with the children by the other parent.

All is not lost however, if you are in a similar situation, there are things you can do to prevent this happening.

Steps you can take to ensure you keep in contact with your children

Speak to a solicitor.  They can make applications to Court on your behalf which deal with;

  • Specific issues – such as schooling, health and holidays
  • The time you spend with the children
  • Whether the children should live with you.
  • Indirect contact  – such as cards, letters, telephone calls (including Skype, Facetime)
  • Change of name

What is clear is that the opinions of both parents and the children have to be taken into account.  Had Oscar taken legal advice he would have would have been better aware of his options as the separated parent who does not live with the children. This would have hopefully allowed him to nurture his relationship with his children and play an active role in parental responsibility.

We can’t wait to be thoroughly entertained again next week as we keep up with the Defoes.

Mark Smith is a partner and specialist family solicitor with a specialism in disputes involving children. Our family law team advises families across the South West on the best solutions for them. If you would like to get in touch to discuss contact with your children contact the team by telephone 0345 450 5558 or email