Thoughts x
gavel in an article about family law
Don't trust what you see in the movies. (Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash)

Once again, the entertainment industry doesn’t quite get it right.

Movies and TV shows make us think that family law is always characterized by screaming and big scenes by two hostile parties in the courtroom. It seems, if the entertainment industry is to be believed, every instance of family law practice usually ends up in court.

Obviously, as with everything else, real life is extremely different when compared to the movies. Even when it comes to the wonderful city of Las Vegas, things are still not as dramatic as in overexaggerated movie scenes. A Las Vegas family law attorney probably deals with much fewer Elvis impersonators than one would expect.

The Structure of Family Law

According to various family law professionals, real-life family law is more structured and procedural than what we see in movies. The screaming of the spouse is replaced with arguing or debate between the two parties and their lawyers.

Obviously, screaming and yelling doesn’t happen in real life because a judge would stop things like that. Such things might happen however when the two parties meet out of court however.

The Truth of Family Law Cases

To contradict one more thing that TV has taught us, statistics show that up to 90% of cases get settled without the two parties having to be present in a courtroom. This means that only 10% of all cases related to family law have the chance to end up like they do in the movies.

Ultimately, the chance of seeing a movie-style divorce case is very low. Even then, the cases that do end up in court do so just because one of the parties is being unreasonable in their demands or requests (not due to other exaggerated or dramatic reasons).

The Winner of Family Law Cases

TV shows still make us believe that no matter the circumstances, the mother will always win a family law case when custody is involved. This is not true to life.

Fortunately for all of us, reportedly there is no gender bias in the court of law. This is mainly because the job market has changed and a man has just as many opportunities to provide and care for his children as a woman.

In fact, according to some data, fathers are winning more custody cases than mothers at the moment.

The Trauma of Family Law

We’ve often wondered, why on earth do they let children testify in divorce/family law cases or, even worse, choose between one of the two parents (on TV)? This is more than just a traumatic experience, especially if the child or children are very young.

Luckily, this doesn’t happen in real life. Reportedly, children never go on the stand to make a choice and, if they can provide valuable testimony, it will be gathered from them out of court so that they don’t have to be present.

The Bottom Line

With the four points above in mind, one can safely say that TV family law is nothing like it is in real life. There may be a couple of shows that get it right but, for the most part, family law cases in movies are used mainly to increase the show’s drama levels — and usually nothing else.

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