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Is Marriage Story a Realistic Portrayal of Divorce?

Critics describe awards-darling, Marriage Story (2019), as “heartfelt” and “phenomenally crafted,” but anyone who is facing the possibility of divorce might be wondering something else.

If you are asking yourself “is this movie realistic?” the answer you get will depend on which part of the movie you are looking at.

What Is Marriage Story?

Marriage Story is a 2019 drama directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. The film tells the story of Nicole and Charlie Barber and their 8-year-old son, Henry, as the family endures a painful bi-coastal divorce. Throughout the movie, Nicole works with a high-profile divorce attorney, played by Laura Dern.

The performance earned the actress high praise, along with several awards and nominations, but has received a mixed reception among real-life attorneys.

The Most Realistic Moments

Many lawyers recognize the pain depicted by Baumbach as the most realistic part of the movie. Divorce is difficult for both spouses and any children they have together, but, like Dern does in the movie, a good attorney can make the process easier for their client and their child(ren).

For one celebrity divorce lawyer, the moment that rang the truest was when the divorce papers were served to Charlie by Nicole’s sister. Like in California and most other states, Missouri requires the initiating spouse to serve the other with divorce papers, but the official serving must be done by a third party – similar to the movie.

The same lawyer also pointed out the veracity of Dern’s style. Nicole’s divorce attorney was friendly and compassionate when giving her advice, but aggressive and strong during legal proceedings. Additionally, Dern’s character gave Nicole appropriate legal guidance and helped create stability for Henry while building her case.

Henry went to school, had play dates and friends, celebrated holidays with his cousins, and felt comfortable in his environment and with Nicole as the custodial parent.

If you are going through a divorce or custody battle, your attorney should pay close attention to the details of your life, give you valuable advice, and help you document them with a journal or other technique. At Smith Law Offices, LLC, you can expect this kind of one-on-one attention and personalized legal guidance.

What the Movie Gets Wrong

In the movie, Nicole takes Henry from New York City to Los Angeles at the start of the divorce. Under most matrimonial laws, you cannot move your child out of the state (or jurisdiction) without the other parent’s explicit consent. In real life, if Nicole took Henry to LA, Charlie could have immediately filed paperwork to have him returned to NYC. Similarly, the divorce proceedings would likely have taken place in New York, not California, because the family resided in NYC.

Another problem real-world attorneys have pointed out is that Dern’s character seems more focused on winning her case than on the best interests of her client. In reality, the most effective lawyers are dedicated to finding the best solution for their clients and protecting the best interests of the families and children involved.

Fortunately, you can always trust our attorneys to have your best interest at heart.

Create Your Own Story with Smith Law Offices, LLC

While Marriage Story may be a reasonably realistic portrayal of divorce, no two divorces look the same. If you are looking to make a change in your family, our lawyers at Smith Law Offices, LLC can help you write your own story by offering personalized support and litigation that meets your unique needs.

Tell us what you’re going through today at (636) 400-1177 – and don’t forget to request a consultation.

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