THE DIVORCE HAND-BOOK: Your Basic Guide to Divorce by James T. Friedman

THE DIVORCE HAND-BOOK: Your Basic Guide to Divorce

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Very much a cookbook (225 questions and answers, plus checklists aplenty, worksheets and outlines)--but very useful for anyone heading toward a split and having trouble getting his or her act together. Divorce lawyer Friedman stresses the fundamentals and the mechanics: how to find a lawyer; what to do about bank accounts; child custody and visitation; discovery; the trial itself; and settlement. The catechism-like Q & A format, though somewhat numbing for cover-to-cover reading, lets a perplexed spouse turn quickly to a specific piece of information (e.g., ""If I leave the house voluntarily, can I get back in?"" ""May I leave the state with the children?"" ""Do courts make temporary property divisions?""). Wisely, Friedman avoids detailing various states' statutes, since these change often and one's lawyer should have the specifics (Friedman does not favor the do-it-yourself approach). Perhaps less wisely, Friedman deliberately downplays the tax intricacies in divorce, though this omission does not seriously affect the book's utility. Talking to a potential lawyer? Friedman offers no less than 19 good questions to ask. Concerned that your spouse might have squirreled away hidden assets? Friedman has a checklist to foil the most devious ex. Thinking settlement? Friedman provides a five-page summary of points to cover in a written agreement. As a plus, there are: interview information sheets (what you may be asked by your lawyer at the first interview); general child support and maintenance schedules used by Chicago and San Francisco courts; a layperson's guide to the rules of evidence; and short trial outlines indicating information relevant to issues of support and custody--all of which are helpful for the parties themselves, and much of which might be beneficial for lawyers who haven't handled many divorces. Straightforward and handy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Random House