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02/10/2017

A Hard Pill to Swallow

It’s back with a bang and once again Dr Gemma Foster has us hooked. I cannot help but be glued to her ever so slightly disconcerting and crazed mission to destroy her ex, the philandering Simon who has returned, two years on and living on millionaires’ row with his mid-twenties wife and small child. Let’s face it, she’s a woman scorned and not even a dalliance with her new man can ease that pain. Admittedly, choosing her son’s teacher was not ideal, leaving poor Tom with headphones in, refusing to acknowledge her presence.

Of course, it may entertain from a far and the sanctuary of the sofa but the sad reality is that the issues portrayed will resonate very strongly with many who have been through a difficult breakup. Stuck right in the middle of the squabbling, mind games and manipulation some two years on is Tom. At 14, he is clearly impacted greatly by his parents’ on going war of words. He has been thrown from his father’s home and removed into hiding by his mother who luckily still had ample grasp over the situation so as to remove the cigarette poised in his mouth when she found him on the park bench.

Whilst the hope is that viewers will not be taking life lessons from the programme itself and as much as it gives an ill-advised and unrealistic portrayal of how to go about things during and post separation, what it does do is show the taxing, unfair and long-lasting impact on a child or children when they are placed in the middle of their parents’ disputes. Often we associate these problems with the time of separation itself but can see from the programme that the impact on Tom has and is to be long lasting. The boy needs help but so do his parents.

I would like to think that had they had sensible advice at the beginning they would not be in this mess or at least, their problems would be eased this far down the line and they would be able to communicate as parents to Tom for the benefit of all. Even now, they are not a lost cause with support and specialist services available to help families work through difficulties and move forward.

The advice of the family team at Howes Percival is discrete, friendly and commercial. We are all members of Resolution and trained Collaborative lawyers who work with our clients in a constructive manner to achieve a child focussed and fair resolution of the issues arising from separation.

If you have any questions regarding the above or in relation to family law issues generally, please contact Lucy Steele.