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A Judge's Guide to Divorce: Uncommon Advice from the Bench Paperback – January 15, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: NOLO; 1 Pap/Com edition (January 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1413305687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1413305685
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Highly recommended for all couples contemplating divorce... (Judith Wallerstein, Ph.D 2009-01-01)

Judge Duncan's advice parallels my own years sitting on the bench. (Leonard Edwards California Administrative Office of the Courts 2009-01-01)

Offers three alternatives to court: The 'kitchen table divorce,' mediation or the collaborative law divorce. (Oakland Tribune 2009-01-01)

Anyone who is thinking about a divorce should read Judge Duncan's book. (Herma Hill Kay 2009-01-01)

Judge Duncan brings enormous experience, candor and wisdom to his theme -- no one should let a judge make decisions during a divorce unless there is absolutely no better alternative... (Pauline H. Tesler 2009-01-01)

About the Author

Roderic Duncan was appointed to the California Municipal Court in 1975, and he was elected to the California Superior Court bench in 1987. Over the years, he has been a lecturer and faculty member at two dozen educational programs for judges. In 1990, he was chosen the Judicial Officer of the Year by the California State Bar, Family Law Section. Since retiring from the bench in 1995, he has been doing private judging and mediation.

More About the Author

Roderic Duncan was appointed to the California Municipal Court in 1975, and he was elected to the California Superior Court bench in 1987. Over the years, he has been a lecturer and faculty member at two dozen educational programs for judges. In 1990, he was chosen the Judicial Officer of the Year by the California State Bar, Family Law Section. Since retiring from the bench in 1995, he has been doing private judging and mediation.

Customer Reviews

Author was very good on subject.
Judith A. Winston
This book was very informative & very good advice for helping gain reasonable expectations, which is the first step to healing from divorce.
Janice Fanning
The focus is on how to reach your own agreements outside the courtroom, as well as how to make any court proceeding as civil as possible.
Midwest Book Review

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mike Mastracci on June 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
After reading Judge Roderic Duncan's book, I was compelled to track him down by phone just to thank him for a book that needed to be written. While mothers, fathers, lawyers, mediators, collaborative professionals, counselors and mental health providers all have varied opinions about what divorcing couples should and should not do, it is easy to forget that in court only "One Person's" opinion really matters.

When such a qualified and well respected judge shares all, in such a frank and candid manner, you know you are in for a good read. I think that the tone of the book is set out well in the foreword where Judge Duncan states: The disturbing thing that I learned as a divorce court judge is that most people getting divorced know very little about the legal side of the process that often controls their finances, the custody of their children, and the ownership of their homes, their automobiles, and their investments. And very many of these people - some represented by lawyers, some not -- stumble through the divorce maze, making mistakes that cause the process to be more expensive, time-consuming, and painful than it need be. Not surprisingly, most come away unhappy with their experience."

As a family law attorney, mediator, collaborative lawyer and author of Stop Fighting Over the Kids: Resolving Day-to-Day Custody Conflict in Divorce Situations, I can certainly attest to those observations. One message from A Judge's Guide to Divorce: Uncommon Advice from the Bench is that you really "win" your case by avoiding contested litigation except as a true last resort. Since well over 90 percent of contested cases settle before trial, usually right before trial, why is all the nonsense leading up to trial necessary.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mike Wexler on October 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was hoping that this book would be in depth and go into the details of family law because it was written by a judge. Instead, it told me what I knew and tried to avoid. That going through the legal system is the wrong thing to do. While I did get one or two insights out of the book, it tries to be all things to all people, covering all 50 states and avoiding anything too technical.

So if you are jurisdiction shopping or trying to figure out whether to do mediation or go to court, this may be the book for you. If you are deep into the legal stuff already and want some insight and guidance, keep looking.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Most keys to understanding legal divorce come from lawyers, but this is different: it comes from a judge who has seen it all, and who has a vested interest in keeping courtrooms from becoming circus acts. The focus is on how to reach your own agreements outside the courtroom, as well as how to make any court proceeding as civil as possible. Judge Duncan presided over thousands of divorce cases in some twenty years as a judge, and his guide is crucial to understanding the options and processes involved. Any general interest library will find it an important lend.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mother of two on April 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book with some reservation - just how much wisdom one can dispense to justify the $17 cost - and was amazed by the quality and profound message this book gives. A judge doesn't know your child, doesn's love your child, and will never be able to make a custody decision better than two cooperative parents would do. The solution is - a court buttle is the worst outcome, try to settle before it - end even before expensive discoveries, because people settle in 90% of cases - why spend the money on discovery? I higly recommend the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mtrac22 on April 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Best book ever, only wish I had it earlier in my divorce.. There are many books but this one really helped me take my case in my own hands and I didn't feel like I was helpless anymore, I was in control of the information and had a clear understanding of what was going on and what the outcomes would possibly be. I went from scared to confident. This book rocked!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Guqin Fan on September 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading all the others books, this is one of the books that I recommend. Very precise and help me quite a bit in my divorce process. It let me know that personal anger/feelings shd be subsided and help me to focus on my objectives and goal in the divorce process.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is spot-on for a realistic idea of what will happen. Judges follow Family Law, but there is a lot that they can do that is totally up to them as to how they want to go....and you had better have FACTS to show them, with clear documentation and a logical argument for asking for what you need and *why* it's best for the children, especially if it's a detail just not covered in family law.

Women do not always get full custody, but men hardly ever fight it. Men do not always ask for child support, but working women might have to pay support even if they are full custodian if the man does ask, and that amount could be subtracted from the total amount owed from the non-custodial parent. Judges tend to go with cookie-cutter traditional practices if no one requests otherwise. Documented time spent with either parent is critical. See below for what I mean by "documented"....

This book is a must-have for every one who is looking at divorce or a modification to a decree. Judges do not like to guess, and they act upon facts that they see, not what you say. Judges are going to make a decision based upon what is best for the children, adn I learned that from this book. This book helps ordinary people understand what they need to do to influence a judge's decision....and I am not talking about sweet talk, bribing, manipulation, or other non-factual means.

Find a lawyer who is familiar with the judges in the court you will be in. Find out what court a divorce in your area would take place, usually by county, and that lawyer should be familiar with what each judge think is good or bad (e.g.
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