Netflix Original movie, “Marriage Story (2019)”, won an Oscar and received several Oscar Nominations. It is inspired by a real story about a couple that unfortunately had to go through the painful process of a divorce. However, there are many lessons to be learned.
1. Choose the Right Family Lawyer
When going through a divorce, one must swiftly find and choose the right family lawyer. Charlie (Adam Driver’s character) got rejected by many lawyers because Nicole (Scarlett Johansson’s character) has consulted them first. Lawyers that have been consulted by one party are usually barred from giving legal advice and representation to the other party involved in the divorce.
Those who are going through or thinking of getting a divorce can learn from this – Try to seek legal advice early before your partner consults all the ‘good’ family lawyers. Searching on LegalClarus may save you time and help you find the right family lawyer.
2. Child Custody: Think of your Child First
Charlie and Nicole’s son, Henry, went through quite a change in personality as the process of the divorce moved forward. The way the divorce was handled had quite a negative impact on Henry’s custody. Divorcing couples should think about child custody early.
In Hong Kong, the courts would have regard to the welfare and interest of the child as the first and paramount consideration. It would call for a social welfare report to understand the background of the child, his physical, emotional and educational needs, and the likely effect on the child should there be any change of circumstances. The courts would also consider the respective capability of the parents to meet the child’s needs in all aspects of his upbringing.
It is becoming a trend as is evidenced by recent cases, the courts are inclined to grant joint custody since both father and mother play an indispensable role in a child’s upbringing. Even in a single custody case, the non-custodial parent has the right to be consulted in respect of all major matters that relate to the child’s upbringing.
3. Don’t Underestimate the Complexity and Legal Cost of a Divorce
Early on in the movie, we hear Charlie say:
“What’s there to fight about? This is going to be easy – we’ll take half each and go our separate ways.”
This level of naivety should be addressed early on in the divorce process. It is made clear to Charlie by his lawyer that costs will rack up, not only financial but also the emotional toll. As the movie proceeds, we see this simpleton logic of ‘half-of-everything’ quickly dissolves and escalates to more and more serious legal and court proceedings.
To save divorcing couples from emotional turmoil and cost, they are encouraged to first seek mediation on the matter and reach a consensus on their arrangements as soon as possible. A divorcing spouse should consult his/her family lawyer about the factors that may affect the judges when determining assets distribution. Also ask your family lawyer to leverage any factors in an appropriate manner to achieve better terms on the negotiation table.
Be sure to consult your family lawyer about your rights and make the best plan for your child. Remain as a loving and caring parent even in the downturn of your marriage. If you need help, the family lawyers and/or mediators located on LegalClarus may be able to assist.
Disclaimer: The article is for reference only and should not be construed or relied on as legal advice in whatsoever manner. Please engage a solicitor to seek formal legal advice. LegalClarus does not provide legal advice.