22 Sep 2017
Further commentary on the current series of Dr Foster is prompted by Tuesday nights installment of deranged family interaction.
Our hero, or more accurately, anti hero, Dr Foster remains preoccupied by her nemesis former husband believing that he is turning their son Tom against her in an overwrought bid for revenge.
The reality turns out to be a bit more complicated. Dr Foster thinks that her husband doesn’t care how his behaviour has affected his child and as it panned out in the course of this episode, neither parent covered themselves in glory in that regard.
While Tom demonstrated worrying teenage behaviour of his own, were his actions as a result of his parents' separation and his front row seat at their warped interactions? Who can tell how parental separation dealt with this badly can damage the children at the epicentre.
The dramas recent series of events has agitated the General Medical Council enough that it has issued reassurance that Dr Foster's professional conduct would definitely not be tolerated and that she would be struck off for the litany of misdemeanors which include.....well we don’t know where to start! Just as we don’t know where to start with the list of behaviours damaging to poor Tom demonstrated in just one episode!
From a family lawyers perspective, despite the series’ obviously demented character, the protagonists’ continuing handling of their separation and their mutual destruction is alarming.
At every twist and turn we are considering what advice we would offer to moderate these family relations in such a way that Tom could become the priority.
The whole scenario plays into the hands of the received wisdom of many people who believe that upon separation, children will and should automatically remain with their mother and that it is rarely in their best interests to stay with their father as their primary carer. This is not a presumption recognised by Scottish courts.
In Scotland, contentious matters relating to children are reluctantly decided by the courts who would always rather the parents of the child reached an amicable agreement with a child’s interests presumed to be best served by their loving parents.
Mr Foster’s dastardly behaviour and dismissal of his son at the end of the third episode demonstrates that this isn’t always the case.
Sometimes, family relations can break down to such an extent that they just cannot be put back on track without professional assistance.
If asked to decide matters, while the court may raise an eyebrow, or even disapprove strenuously of some of the more reprehensible conduct of parents, they try to cut through any high drama and see all children at the heart of the warring family as they are now, as they have been and as they may be in future.
The court has to try and take the long view in all of its difficult decision making and the views of any child caught in the cross fire are taken into consideration with the age of the child being central to the influence their views will have.
If you are experiencing difficulties in relation to the care of your children due to family conflict, we can help you.
Aberdein Considine offers such family law services throughout Scotland, a steady hand designed to help avoid the horror of the Fosters’ dysfunction unravelling on our screens every week.
Our offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Stirling and Glasgow all have dedicated family lawyers specialising in all family difficulties.
They are able to offer a complete family service from initial advice designed to explore all options and outcomes from negotiated settlement to potential mediation, collaborative resolution and if absolutely necessary, litigation.
If you would like to speak to one of our solicitors, click here.