I take to the woods when I need a dose of nature to balance life. While I’m a pretty experienced hiker, my friend, Karen, is a much better hiker than I am (read: less afraid of falling down the side of the mountain!) She’s the kind of hiker who sees hawks where I see tree limbs, who can spot animals as soon as she hears the crackling of a branch, and who knows her way back out of the woods (and without whom, I would certainly not).
I am really good at climbing up hills and rocks, but fairly terrible at making my way back down. I feel like there is less ability to balance on the hike back down, and you need to have faith that the rocks and branches will support you.
Karen and I took a new hike recently in Skippack. It was absolutely beautiful and the views overlooking the woods and creek were well worth the climb. However, this meant the path was full of sections where we had to “make our way back down.” By the time we had to hike back down, it had started to rain a bit. The rocks were slick, the leaves were slicker, and I tried to hide my discomfort as we started on our way.
I did not say a word to Karen about my fears. Karen forged the path ahead of us and, once she made it down the rocks first, turned to me with her hand out and offered me support. She did not say a word to me, either — no direction, no judgement; she just held her hand out, offering support when I needed it most.
This is part of what your divorce attorney should do for you. There will be ups and downs along your path. There will be days you feel like you can climb the mountain, and other days when you’re afraid of what the path back down will bring. As your lawyers, our job is to turn to you and offer support — not judgment — when you need it most. You know how to navigate the woods and the path ahead of you. Making your way through this process is hard work. But remember — the best views come after the hardest climbs.
“Can there ever be the good divorce? A laying down of arms. Sanguine recognition that not all divorce is failure. Simply some marriages are finite. Why do we place so much weight on the idea that things must last? Surely what constitutes a successful relationship is knowing when it is over. Being brave enough to call time. The desire of two people who have spent their lives together, good lives together, who are not willing to throw it all away for a few months of pain. Isn’t that what also constitutes a good divorce? One where memories are left to exist untainted, where children are guided through the storm, where two people can say we did it well, we took care of one another even if the marriage is no more. Be brave. Don’t be afraid. Who knows what you might find on the other side?”
So begins the final episode of the final season of The Split, a British drama that explores the concept of a “good divorce.” As a divorce lawyer, I tend to avoid television shows that focus on divorce, often because many shows try to find humor in divorce, or try to make this incredibly complex process ‘simple.’ As our divorce and family law clients know too well, this process is never simple. But The Split, in its emotionally poignant, relatable, and touching way, demonstrates that there can be a “good divorce.”
What a “good divorce” means is open to interpretation. On The Split, we follow the lives of a beautiful, loving, intact couple who, through a series of life transitions over the three few seasons, find their marriage fractured. We share in the characters’ love, their confusion, their regret, their confidence, their fear, and their transformation. Some days, we want them to reconcile; others, we want them to leave. Anyone grappling with the decision whether to divorce, or whether to leave a partner, knows the repeating cycle of the painful back-and-forth only too well. As viewers of The Split, we share in their confusion and their disappointment.
I recommend this beautiful show for anyone contemplating divorce or anyone who has been through a divorce. I recommend this show to fellow divorce lawyers who strive to offer clients a “good divorce.” I recommend this show to anyone searching for the definition of a “good divorce,” or striving to design a “good divorce” for themselves and their children.
“Be brave. Don’t be afraid. Who knows what you might find on the other side?”