We’re just a few weeks away from season two of Big Little Lies! The award-winning HBO drama is set to premiere on June 9th. Believe it or not, it has already been more than two years since we last saw Madeline, Celeste, Jane and the rest of the Monterey, California community. Need a refresher on the characters details and plotlines? Now is the perfect time to queue up HBO and binge watch the first season (if you haven’t started already).
The team at Atlanta Divorce Law Group is also excited about the return of Big Little Lies next month. To accompany your re-watch, we’ve created a blog series to help unpack some of the first season issues related to family law. (Click here to read our previous recaps of episodes one through four). For those who have not watched season one yet, spoiler alert! This blog series covers many of the plot developments, and we don’t want to spoil anything for new audiences. Also, as with the television series, the content here is for mature audiences as the blog addresses topics that are often violent and sexual in nature.
Big Little Lies Season One – Episode Five “Once Bitten”
PLOT: Season five begins with a nightmare. Madeline (and her friend/powerhouse attorney Celeste) has gotten the O-K for her local production of Avenue Q. However, Madeline dreams of Renata pushing her and the puppets off the Monterey cliffs. Jane, in an attempt to deal with her own nightmares, is spending the morning at the gun range – where she happens to see Madeline’s ex-husband, who is also at target practice. Meanwhile, Renata’s morning routine is interrupted when she observes more bite marks on her daughter Amabella, which leads to an argument with her husband about how to handle the problem. Celeste’s morning also takes a turn when her husband Perry comes home from tennis early and their sexual encounter once again becomes aggressive and violent.
The episode jumps back to Madeline’s house, where she and Ed are having a sexual encounter of a different sort – an impromptu and somewhat awkward experience which is interrupted by their daughter Chloe. Madeline leaves her house to meet Celeste and Jane for coffee. At the coffee house, Joseph (the director of Avenue Q) asks Madeline to leave with him so that they can discuss their affair. While the pair drive away, they are hit by an oncoming vehicle, and both are rushed to the hospital.
Later in the day, a family dinner at Celeste’s house becomes a nerf gun fight between Perry and the twins. Jane is back at her house, investigating the potential identity of her rapist. Madeline, who was released from the hospital, talks to Ed about the accident – lying to him about why she was in Joseph’s car in the first place.
The next morning, Madeline goes to the hospital to see Joseph (who was more seriously injured) but instead bumps into Joseph’s wife. At Celeste’s house, a conversation about picking up the twin’s toys leads into another violent incident where Perry beats Celeste – we see the disturbing images in flashbacks as Celeste verbally recounts a tame version of the incident to her therapist. Despite the horrific scene earlier in the day, Celeste and the twins meet Perry at the airport as he returns from a business trip. Meanwhile, while Madeline drives home from the hospital, she is reliving the affair and the car wreck. Her obvious anxiety is interrupted when Jane calls her, asking her to pick up Ziggy after school. Jane is headed out of town (gun in tow) to meet someone she believes may be her rapist. When it turns out not to be him, Jane lights up a joint and speeds back home.
FAMILY LAW THEMES: The fifth episode of Big Little Lies presents the audience with several themes related to family law. Today, Atlanta Divorce Law Group is focusing on Infidelity. Main character Madeline is having a relationship with her director Joseph. It’s not clear the exact extent of the relationship, but we see Madeline and Joseph kissing at the theater, and there are flashbacks to them kissing in a car sometime in the previous year. (In subsequent episodes, we will learn more about the affair as Madeline reveals details to her friends and to her oldest daughter). Madeline shows anxiety, guilt, and remorse for the relationship and how it affects her marriage to Ed.
As it relates to family law in Georgia, the word infidelity is sometimes referred to as adultery, which is when a married person “voluntarily has sexual intercourse with a person other than his [or her] spouse.” While Georgia is a state that allows for no-fault divorces, adultery is one of the twelve at-fault grounds for divorce. Courts may grant a total divorce if the spouse can prove that the other party committed adultery during their marriage. If the infidelity is proven, it can financially impact the divorce in terms of alimony (the spouse who committed the adultery may be barred from receiving alimony or spousal support) and/or the equitable division of marital property (taking the affair into account when deciding the division of assets). It can also impact impending custody hearings. Some couples, in attempt to protect their assets, address the issue of adultery in their prenuptial agreement. It is very common to include a clause about the consequences for infidelity, such as a financial award for the non-offending spouse.
In addition to infidelity, the other family law issues in this fifth episode include domestic violence (Celeste), rape (Jane), therapy (Celeste), and maintaining or managing “passion” in marriage (Celeste, Madeline, Renata). For full discussions on blended families, domestic violence, and therapy, you can read our previous episode recaps.
Be sure to check out our blog next week, as we discuss Big Little Lies episode six “Burning Love.” In the meantime, if you or someone you know needs help with your family law case, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at (678) 929-5719 or via our website.