Book Reviews Butt Facebook Twitter Your Divorce Advisor
View Our Blog
Share |

Book Reviews

Your Divorce Advisor

Praise for Your divorce advisor

"This is an excellent book by two outstanding professionals in their respective fields who have taken an extremely complex topic and made it easily understandable by both professional alike.

It is one of the first works I have found which effectively intertwines the emotional, legal, and financial aspects of divorce in such a way as to allow the client or attorney to successfully manage all the diverse aspects of a given case...

If you are looking for a handbook which will help you focus on successful divorce litigation with a minimum of animosity and a maximum of results, this is the book for you. Likewise, if you are in or about to enter to throes of divorce, this should prove to be a "good read."

In the short time I have had "Your Divorce Advisor" on my bookshelf, I have found it to be an extremely effective resource for my clients and myself.

I keep a second copy handy to give to new clients to help them understand the maelstrom they are about to enter and to help them better understand the emotional needs that must be met in order for the pain of divorce to eventually dissipate....

If you are a practicing family law attorney, this is a "must buy" for your professional library and a bargain at only $14.00 a copy.

-Jerry E. Shiles, attorney with the Law Firm of Brown & Associates, P.L.L.C. Read his full review

"Your Divorce Advisor, written by a seasoned lawyer and psychologist team, is a gem of a guidebook that empowers divorcing adults to take control of their own divorce - legally, financially, and emotionally. It walks the reader through the divorce process, step-by-step.

Vital information about financial matters and state-of-the-art research about the needs of children allow the reader to make constructive decisions for themselves and for their children, setting them on the pathway towards solutions that work for everybody involved. All of this is presented in a manner that is compassionate, sensible, and most comforting."

-Janet Johnston, Ph.D., Executive director, Judith Wallerstein Center for the Family in Transition and author of In the Name of the Child

"We know that divorce creates problems -- for the couple, their children, their family, their friends. Mercer and Pruett have done something other experts have failed to do: they have created rock solid solutions based on their recognition that financial and legal decisions are inextricably influenced, even governed, by emotional feelings.

The result: they offer a rare combination of legal, emotional, personal and financial advice that makes this guidebook must reading, not only for anyone going through divorce, but for anyone knowing someone who is."

-Nancy Dunnan, author of Dunnan's Guide To Your Investments, 2001 (Harper Collins)

"Your Divorce Advisor brilliantly and compassionately deals with the common challenges facing anyone going through a divorce.

If your marriage is in trouble, you should buy Your Divorce Advisor before you hire a lawyer.

Lawyers and therapists should recommend Your Divorce Advisor before the very first client meeting."

-Forrest S. Mosten, President, Mosten Mediation Centers

"Your Divorce Advisor is the most comprehensive divorce book on the market. It covers the legal issues extensively and is the only book to also tell you what you can expect to feel along the way. It offers an invaluable strategy for coping with the emotional demands of divorce, and has the best advice on talking with your kids about the divorce that I've read anywhere. It is the one book I will recommend to my divorcing clients."

-Louis Parley, author of The Ethical Family Lawyer

Your Divorce Advisor is the first book of its kind-a complete legal and psychological resource all in one volume. By learning how legal and psychological issues are enmeshed and intertwined, readers will gain new insight into why divorcing couples can lose marital assets to finance fights over issues which will seem totally unimportant within a year or two.

This book will help readers understand how to keep marital assets in their own hands and how to keep the feuding to a minimum. And, if they take it to heart, I'll be out of a job.

-Nancy A. Noyes, Esq. 22-year Family Law litigation practitioner, New Haven, Connecticut

Can Divorce Be Painless?, Parade Magazine, March 4, 2001, Review by Lyric Wallwork Winik

This year, 1.4 million American families will face divorce, and it can be daunting trying to deal with everything from the legal system to preparing the kids for the split. "The reality of divorce is harder than people imagine," says Marsha Kline Pruett of Yale Medical School. "In the long term, however, most people don't wind up devastated."

But first, both sides must learn how to “minimize destructive acts," adds Pruett, who co-wrote the book "Your Divorce Advisor” with Diana Mercer, a lawyer and mediator.

Think about what you want your life to look like in five years and make a plan, they advise. Focus on the kids and don't be consumed with fights over things like furniture. Be realistic about financial settlements-and get outside help, like an accountant. "Divorce is not an end but a beginning," add Pruett and Mercer. You can visit the authors' site at Your Divorce Advisor on the web to check out their "10 tips" and other advice.

Books in Brief: More Expert Advice Before the Divorce, American Bar Association Family Advocate, 2001, Review by Carl Gilmore
Your Divorce Advisor, is a comprehensive do-it-yourself guide. A

person who wants to file and work through a divorce alone, should read this book first. The book was co-written by a family law attorney and a psychologist, and it presents a useful mix of legal and psychological issues. The book offers an excellent discussion of the emotional problems that often accompany divorce.

Whether one decides to use an attorney or not, Your Divorce Advisor, includes helpful checklists. For example, if you think you have an uncontested divorce, review the settlement checklist on page 89.

If you think you have a 50/50 division of assets, look at page 92 for the checklist of factors regarding distribution of property. Page 101 provides a pension information form to complete and give to an attorney if pension issues surface in the divorce.

The section on contested cases is excellent. Starting on page 233, the authors explore what will happen in a contested custody case. It counsels against a contested fight over custody unless "you feel the child will be exposed to physical or sexual harm…and if the situation cannot be mediated or ameliorated with outside help..."

The description of the court process shows that a contested case involves a dissection of your life. My only addition would be a discussion on the difficulty of proving sexual or physical abuse. Statements made by children are quite often inadmissible. Proving abuse is not a simple matter.

The book is also helpful in deciding whether to handle the case pro se (on your own) versus hiring a lawyer and in considering mediation. No book can provide "the answer. "The issue is whether a pro se litigant can prove the case and be as comprehensive and effective as an attorney. These important decisions must be made on an individual basis in light of the facts and circumstances of the case.

I recommend Your Divorce Advisor for anyone thinking of filing a pro se divorce, and I recommend some self-analysis. Attorneys are trained to handle the hidden complexities of that appears to be a "simple" divorce case. Anyone who uses Your Divorce Advisor as a how-to guide, may well find him or herself overwhelmed and unable to present the case.

But as a background reading before consulting an attorney and as a guideline for what to expect in a divorce case, it is an excellent resource.

Book Review: Your Divorce Advisor, The California Therapist, November/December 2001, Volume 13, Issue 6. Review by Kristi Kanel, Ph.D

As a practicing LMFT, I regularly work with people going through divorce. I have a good idea about what families experience during this stressful time based on the complaints and symptoms reported by clients when a marriage ends.

After reading this book, I believe I have gained competence in guiding clients through a divorce. I have begun to utilize many ideas presented in this guidebook with clients I am treating. In fact, this book will sit on my desk next to the DSM-IV.

The information is extremely valuable and practical. Legal dimensions and the emotional and psychological impact of divorce or who have begun the divorce process, and counselors who treat families going through divorce are encouraged to acquire this gem of a book.

This book provides narrative description of what a person should expect during a divorce, personal assessment questions, and an appendix with current legal forms, deposition questions, checklists of information needed for attorneys, and relevant web sites and books.

The authors suggest an amicable and cooperative divorce that encourages making decisions best for children and each spouse. Every chapter reiterates the importance of rational decisions versus emotional responses in order to minimize hurts and losses for all involved.

Throughout the book, there are lists that I will copy and give to clients to put on their refrigerators. For example, one section provides a list of Emotional Guideposts.

This would be helpful to clients who are emotionally distraught and need concrete guidance to aid them in behaving more appropriately with their children. Most of the advice and lists regarding emotional issues may seem common sense to therapists, but many clients could benefit by seeing in print what they are going through. I remain doubtful, however, about the benefits of this book for clients with severe personality disorders.

Clients with moderate ego strength and maturity would benefit most. It is not unlikely that those who really need to read this book might not seek our counseling and therefore would not have knowledge of its existence. Perhaps attorneys of such individuals could recommend the book by emphasizing the legal aspects and persons would become more rational because of exposure to the emotional ideas presented.

The authors provide specific pitfalls involved when financial issues become heated, and encourage when possible, for spouses to strive for financial independence before ending a marriage.

Personal assessments at the end of each chapter are well suited for individuals needing direct guidance during periods in their lives when they may be feeling disorganized.

The section about how to deal with children is outstanding. It strongly encourages parents to make the divorce as predictable as possible and to reassure children that it is not their fault. Specific suggestions about how to help children, based on developmental age, are presented along with an educational section on normal child development.

Parents are discouraged from contesting custody and encouraged to adjust to joint custody. A brief section on parental alienation syndrome may help some spouses think twice before they make negative comments about their spouses to children.

Domestic Violence issues such a restraining orders and realistic danger to spouses who divorce a batterer is discussed realistically. Overall, I find the entire book helpful, practical and easy to read for the average client and for counselors. It will remain on my desk where it can be easily accessed for my families going through divorce.

How-To Book Blends Feelings with Finances, Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 4, 2001, Review by Michael Jordan

While 1.4 million people in the United States will be affected by divorce this year, the questions remains: What can yet another divorce book cover that hasn't been covered? Surprisingly, "Your Divorce Advisor" is the first to address both the psychological divorce and the legal divorce.

Written in a style that anyone can understand, it's a complete, well-organized handbook for the clients with questions about the legal process, such as: What is a deposition? What do I need to prepare for a contested custody trial? How do I calculate the value of my property? Does "fault" matter in a no-fault state?

More interestingly, it mergers the psychological implications of the legal decisions, directly with the legal process, step-by-step. It therefore helps clients with questions such as:

When and why should I settle for less than I think I deserve? How and when do I tell the kids we’re getting divorced? What is an appropriate parenting schedule for my kids' ages and needs? What should I consider when deciding whether to keep or sell my house?

The authors start from the critical beginning point, when reciprocal sacrifice ends and hopelessness sets in, and take the spouses all the way to making contact and possibly rebuilding relationships with ex-in-laws after the tension subsides. Throughout each phase of the case, personal assessment checks keep the reader mindful of maintaining maturity and responsibility.

The most remarkable aspect of this book is the balanced approach to deciding on legal strategy and helping the couple's emotional stability as they separate.

For instance, while affairs often are part of divorce scenarios and parties often feel the need for confession, the authors point out the harm that could follow such a disclosure. At the same time, if the matter comes up at trial, complete candor often is required to maintain credibility.

"Your Divorce Advisor" is detailed enough to guide spouses through each state of the divorce. Relevant evidence and court procedures are explained in digestible bites, with accompanying helpful lists of sample deposition questions and tax consideration. The best parts are the frequent hypotheticals, which quickly illuminate common pitfalls.

For family law practitioners, the book is an interesting resource for recognizing the psychological phenomena which go along with the divorce process, as well providing some of the most up-to-date information available on child custody. Pruett, a psychologist, is one of the country’s leading researchers in children’s issues in divorce.