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Divorce with Decency

Divorce with Decency: The Complete How-To Handbook and Survivor's Guide to the Legal, Emotional, Economic, and Social Issues. Third Edition

Bradley A. Coates
Copyright Date: 2008
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  • Book Info
    Divorce with Decency
    Book Description:

    This completely revised and updated third edition of the award-winning Divorce with Decency includes the most current research, statistics, and insights on the effects of divorce on spouses, their children, and society overall. Written by a prominent divorce lawyer with more than thirty years of experience, it is the most comprehensive treatment of the legal, emotional, economic, psychological, and social aspects of marital relationships and divorce available anywhere in a single volume. Initial sections look at the dynamics of divorce: the causal factors, the common "stages" from initial separation onward, and the complications surrounding each stage for older and younger couples and children. Important information on spouse abuse is also included. The book discusses key criteria in selecting an attorney and gives expert advice on directing and monitoring the course of a case efficiently and economically. Detailed background on critical legal issues is given, followed by case histories highlighting key points of divorce law. New and extensive sections have been added to the Third Edition that provide key tips on preserving, improving, and possibly "saving" marriages. The final section, "Life after Divorce," looks at the newly divorced as they face single parenthood, new relationships, and remarriage. Informative yet highly readable (and occasionally amusing), Divorce with Decency has proven to be indispensable to anyone involved in a divorce, whether directly or indirectly.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6221-3
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  5. CHAPTER 1 The Need for Divorce with Decency
    (pp. 1-4)

    The very manner in which a divorce case is handled as it progresses through the legal system will be a major factor in determining how the parties will feel about themselves and one another afterward. If the parties can successfully handle their dissolution in an above-board and mature fashion, the stage will be set for them to maintain better communication between themselves and their children in the years following the divorce. This, in turn, greatly increases the likelihood that the divorce experience can serve as a springboard to something more positive in terms of each of their individual personal growth...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Some Basic Background
    (pp. 5-33)

    Over the last couple of decades the phenomenon of divorce for many Americans has turned into something akin to a rite of passage. Various milestones in individuals’ lives have always been around. The first tooth, first communion, first diploma, the first time you went “all the way,” first job … you get the idea. For my father’s generation, one of the biggies was going off to fight World War II. For my generation, it was the draft and Vietnam. These are milestones that irrevocably change the way a country and its individual citizens define themselves. Nowadays, for the lives of...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Dynamics of Divorce
    (pp. 34-74)

    Let me begin this section on the causes of divorce by taking a quick look at Hawai‘i, where I practice, to see if we can’t divine some general insights. Hawai‘i has a major problem with divorce. In fact, our beautiful islands are probably on the cutting edge of the overall nationwide problem.

    Transients and hedonists. Why is the marital dissolution situation so severe in Hawai‘i? For starters, we have an unusually high number of transient residents passing through our state. They, in turn, seem to feel much less restrained in their personal behavior by what would otherwise be the more...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Kids in Crisis
    (pp. 75-98)

    The number of children involved in divorce has tripled in three decades. More than a million children are now affected by a divorce each year. Twenty-eight percent of kids under eighteen now live with only one parent—this compared to only 12 percent as recently as 1970. Recent estimates suggest that over half of all children being born today can expect to experience some aspect of marital disruption, either because their parents will divorce—or will never marry.

    Compare this with prior generations. In 1900, about 22 percent of all children would experience the death of a parent during their...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Into the Courtroom
    (pp. 99-109)

    There are two dramatically different types of divorce cases that can be processed through the family courts. Simply put, your divorce can be either contested or uncontested. This is an absolutely crucial difference for clients to understand.

    Keeping divorces uncontested. If you are able to achieve an uncontested divorce, you reap the following benefits: (1) you save lots of money; (2) you avoid lots of stress; (3) you get your divorce completed within two to three months; and (4) you salvage some sort of decent relationship with your former spouse. This last issue is especially important when ongoing relations with...

  10. CHAPTER 6 The Legal Issues
    (pp. 110-168)

    Nowadays divorce is no-fault. Hawai‘i, where I practice, is a no-fault divorce state, as are almost all other states in the country. This means that you no longer have to make the kinds of sensational “fault-based” accusations against your spouse (such as mental cruelty, desertion, alcoholism or adultery) that many of us may recall from oldL.A. Lawepisodes. You do not have to find fault or place blame on your spouse’s personal conduct in order to get a divorce.

    Marriage is a great institution, but I am not ready for an institution.

    Mae West

    The legal grounds for divorce...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Case Histories, Anecdotes, and War Stories
    (pp. 169-194)

    We have all heard them, the truly horrible stories of just how nasty—how literally insane—divorcing couples can get on their way out of the marriage. Divorce is a time when people’s emotions go into overdrive. We’re talking high drama here. When divorce madness grabs hold of some folks, they go to great lengths to apply the old “Don’t get mad, get even!” adage entirely too literally. Many spurned spouses, in particular, often refuse to just go away quietly.

    This does, of course, make for great theater. Think of the hatefilled duel played out between Michael Douglas and Kathleen...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Life after Divorce
    (pp. 195-214)

    Studies indicate that it takes women an average of three to three and one-half years, and men two to two and one-half years, following separation to re-establish a basic sense of order in their lives. In my personal experience, I have watched some clients manage to successfully regroup in about half that time. However, a minimum of at least one year seems to be required before even the strongest people can successfully stage a rebound.

    Most of the clients I encounter during the years following their divorce tell me they felt their divorce “had to happen” and that it was...

  13. CHAPTER 9 Conclusions, Predictions, and Prognostications
    (pp. 215-236)

    No-fault divorce may have become increasingly popular as a legal doctrine, but when I listen to my clients talk, it is obvious to me that they are a long way from truly accepting almost any divorce as being “no fault.”

    Many authorities have now come to question the entire philosophical underpinning of the no-fault divorce movement. No-fault was originally considered to be a breakthrough divorce reform, but it seems to have had many unanticipated and negative effects for society in general, and especially for women. The end result is that, in many respects, divorced women are worse off today than...

  14. Glossary
    (pp. 237-240)
  15. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 241-244)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 245-250)