Over the past few weeks, "Normal People", a new series on the online streaming platform Hulu, has been capturing the attention of many viewers and television critics. I, perhaps predictably, have been watching a different show on that web network: "The Split", a British series about divorce lawyers.
Although "The Split" is entertaining viewing, its depiction of the life of a well-known lawyer is far removed from the reality. The show's main character, Hannah Defoe, is, as I am, a matrimonial lawyer with vast experience in divorce cases and custody settlements, including those of high net worth individuals. The way she goes about business, however, is pure fiction. One of the key plotlines in the series, for example, revolves around the tension between a talented lawyer and her younger sister, who is also a divorce lawyer. They serve on opposing sides of the same case with deep seated familial resentment fueling their strategies. In real life, family members like that wouldn't be arguing against each other, with a view to avoiding just that sort of conflict of interest.
The show is nonetheless fun to watch, with its hyper-dramatic story lines and catty interplay between some characters. It's well acted as well, with a cast that includes popular English actors like Nicola Walker and Stephen Mangan. But don't rely on it for more than entertainment. If you're going through a divorce -- or thinking of getting divorced, as so many people are right now in the close quarters of social distancing -- seek the advice of a well-respected lawyer with extensive knowledge of matrimonial law, not someone who plays one on tv.