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New divorce film covers split from child’s point of view

Hollywood frequently churns-out films on the subject of modern family life and the recently-released movie What Maisie Knew exemplifies the strife that can result from a contentious divorce. In the movie, a 6-year-old girl observes her parents’ bitter split and subsequent custody dispute. The movie involves each parent focusing on their own desires, rather than their daughter’s needs.

Instead of choosing an alternative like mediation or collaborative law, both of which are available in Texas, the parents in this film choose to battle it out. The movie itself has timeless themes of domestic discord. It is based on the 1897 novel by Henry James. The story is also told from the child’s point of view, which helps viewers put themselves in the shoes of those most vulnerable in a divorce.

In any divorce involving children, parents can become overwhelmed with the legal, financial, and emotional upheaval that can accompany a breakup. In What Maisie Knew, the father impulsively marries the child’s nanny, while the mother retaliates by jumping into a relationship with a bartender. Ironically, it is the bartender who becomes most genuinely concerned for the little girl’s well-being, while the parents are caught-up in trying to hurt each other. The film doesn’t demonize the parents, though, and allows them to demonstrate a humanity that many divorced couples can recognize.

Parents going through the same turmoil in Texas may want to consider divorce mediation as a way to focus on the most important matters at hand. These issues can range from child custody to property division. Every couple’s situation is unique. Divorce mediation allows the individual couple to reach their specific goals. In mediation, couples are guided through their family reorganization by professionals, whose experience helps the couple separate legal issues from emotional ones.

Source: USA Today, “’Maisie’: child’s eye view of divorce is sad, stirring,” Claudia Puig, May 23, 2013

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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