HBO Divorce Series: Issues and Commentary
If you’re reading this without the benefit of having read my initial post on this topic, it might be helpful to know that my colleague, Mollie Caplis, and I thought it would be fun to comment on the content of each episode of the HBO Divorce series from the viewpoint of a family law attorney in order to offer our professional perspectives on the show. This post is about the second episode in the Divorce series. If you really love this post and want to read the one about episode one, it’s posted on our firm’s website, which is at wcslaw.com.
In episode two, we find Robert and Frances DuFresne struggling to move through their daily lives while experiencing the turbulence associated with making sense of a failing marriage, all of which is complicated by their confronting Frances’ affair and the utter lack of forethought about how to deal with their children in the process.
Robert is still hurt, at least ostensibly, though he seems to enjoy exploiting Frances’ affair to gain sympathy and at the same time punish Frances at every opportunity. At the same time, Frances is remorseful about the affair and seems willing to end it and work on the marriage, if for no other reason than for the sake of the kids. It is clear that Robert and Frances are not on the same page about the future of the marriage.
While Robert and Frances deal with the madness that results from emotions playing out over the possibility of losing their marriage, the kids take center stage in their struggle. The family’s normal routines are disrupted when Frances is forced to spend the night at a friend’s because Robert has locked her out of the home. Then she spends the next night sleeping with their daughter because Robert is sleeping in the daughter’s room after the parents apparently decided not to sleep together. The next day each parent separately shows up to get the children after school, presumably because each parent wants the opportunity to control the dialogue with the children. Trying to explain all these bizarre behaviors without revealing the underlying marital discord is next to impossible, or at least requires some creative fibbing.
What does all this tell us about a family in the throes of a turbulent ending to a marriage?
If there is any hope of saving this marriage, Robert and Frances will require professional help. A good marriage counselor is imperative. Each of them would also benefit from individual counseling to help address their individual anxieties and help them make the best decision about the future of the marriage. Given the circumstances facing Robert and Frances, it might also behoove each of them to consult (separately) sooner rather than later with a competent family law attorney that is experienced in high conflict custody cases. While one would hope Frances and Robert won’t strongly contest custody, at this stage, it seems like there will be some lingering animosity that could affect how they deal with the children during the breakdown of their traditional family unit.
It is not uncommon for a spouse that anticipates a possible separation and divorce to seek the counsel of an attorney even before the separation materializes. Mollie and I are often contacted by husbands and wives to schedule consultations under those circumstances. Invariably, the client leaves that meeting with a solid understanding of the issues that need be addressed in the event of a divorce and the possible ways those issues might get resolved. This knowledge also often allays fears and uncertainty surrounding custody issues and contributes to a more child focused process than a parent might have contemplated. With the right guidance from lawyers and the support of counselors, spouses can often find ways to resolve even the most conflicted cases. However, if acrimony lingers or if there are issues that can only be resolved through litigation, Mollie and I have the knowledge and experience to take on those cases, as well.
Episode 02: Next Day
Original Air Date: October 16, 2016
– Fred Kobb is a litigator at heart. He first joined Wright, Constable & Skeen over 25 years ago to defend the firm’s railroad clients in serious personal injury cases. His practice quickly expanded into the family law area, where he applied his negotiation and litigation skills to zealously advocate on behalf of individuals whose families were undergoing a life-changing event. Read more >>