In this slim debut, financial planner Sewell puts forth a new way of negotiating divorce.
According to Sewell, divorce is a game, but its players shouldn’t be spouses opposing one another; rather, the author contends, divorcing couples must view themselves as a team taking on the costly and soulless divorce industry. The book begins with an outline of current divorce models, from those negotiated entirely without lawyers to those dragged through the overburdened family law courts. Sewell outlines the basic structures and drawbacks of each, and she’s particularly against taking divorce to court, telling court-bound couples to “open your wallet, hug your kids, and hold on. You’re about to enter one of the worst legal processes we’ve created.” Though the author acknowledges that court or other standard methods of divorce may be the best choices for some couples, her central argument is that, for most people, there’s a better way: fair negotiation through financial planning. Of the financial counseling business she runs, Sewell writes: “We strongly encourage you to do something radical and get your complete financial analysis and several scenarios before going to see an attorney.” Through a series of examples and anecdotes, she builds a convincing case for making professional financial planning the centerpiece of a successful divorce. However, the book does little beyond persuading readers to hire a financial professional, and much of it feels like an extended advertisement for the author’s profession. The book includes some outlines of the financial documents and variables that divorcing couples need to consider, but these concrete details are too briefly discussed and too haphazardly organized to be of much use. Additionally, short sections on forming co-parenting plans and healing after divorce feel rushed and out of place, as if only serving as reminders that these issues are important. Though Sewell’s arguments are uniformly rational and persuasive, the book itself doesn’t provide all the tools and information necessary to put her conclusions into practice.
A solid starting point for building a better divorce, but not a comprehensive resource.