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Diana Mercer Book Review of

Your divorce advisor,

by Diana Mercer, J.D. and Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., M.S.L.
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.

Divorce is an extremely emotional event, the pain of which equals or exceeds that felt at the loss of a loved one. This work rebuts the standard logic that the key to success is to attack the other party. Instead, the authors focus on their client's emotional needs first, and only then on their legal and financial needs.

Each chapter is complete in and of itself. Each is broken down into bite size pieces presented in chronological sequence. Chapter One is worth the price of admission all by itself. It provides a traumatized spouse with an overview of the entire divorce process from beginning to end, explaining each step along the way with clear guideposts to mark possible detours or alternate routes. Ms. Mercer and Dr. Pruett have blended their respective disciplines into a concise treatise which is an invaluable addition to any lawyer's or psychologist's library, yet one which is equally helpful to the husband or wife facing the stigma, embarrassment, and fears of an impending divorce. Their use of checklists, the highlighting of key points, and the bold italicized passages make it easy for the novice or professional to focus on those issues of concern to them. The segment dealing with the needs of and interaction with children and extended family members is especially helpful.

The authors do a great job of overcoming the predilection of spouses to go for the jugular, such as by using their children as weapons against the other spouse. They explain the potential risks and consequences of involving the children in what is and should remain a purely private matter between the parents.

The authors make a compelling argument for family mediation. They outline the hows and whys that favor mediation over litigation, including the participants' ability to set their own schedules, select their own mediators, and maintain the confidentiality of their personal affairs. The participants are active players in the process and always retain the right to resort to litigation if the mediation is unsuccessful. Their arguments for mediation are persuasive, especially when coupled with their "how to" descriptions for getting the job done.

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.

Diana Mercer is an experienced family law attorney, litigator, mediator, professor of law, and author. She has been practicing in her specialty for over 15 years. She is a partner in the law firm of Noyes & Mercer, P.C., and the founder of Peace Talks Divorce Mediation Services in Los Angeles, California. She focuses her practice exclusively on family law.

Dr. Marsha Kline Pruett is a Research Scientist in the Law and Psychiatry Division of the Connecticut Mental Health Center at the Gayle School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and the Yale Child Studies Center. She is trained in both Family Therapy and Divorce Mediation, with over eighteen years of clinical experience dealing with individuals, couples, families and children. She is nationally recognized for her research in family law.

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.

The reviewer:
Jerry E. Shiles is a practicing family law attorney with the Law Firm of Brown & Associates, P.L.L.C., in Enid, OK. He has over 25 years of extensive experience in all facets of family law and is always searching for the "definitive guide" that will make the diverse and complex elements of family law practice clear and readily understandable to all.