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Divorce Demystified Paperback – December 22, 2014
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About the Author
Attorney Henry S. Gornbein is a leading expert in family law. Practicing in Michigan for more than 40 years, he has written extensively on divorce-related topics.Gornbein wrote the chapter titled, Spousal Support in the book, Michigan Family Law. It s the go-to source for all family law attorneys and judges who deal with divorce and related issues in Michigan. His articles appear regularly in national legal publications and his monthly column, Case of the Issue, runs in the Family Law Section Journal of the State Bar of Michigan and is read by thousands of lawyers and judges.
A contributor and blogger for The Huffington Post Divorce section, he also produces regular podcasts for divorcesourceradio.com. In addition, Gornbein has hosted and produced his own Philo Award-winning cable TV show, Practical Law, with more than 700 programs aired to date.Sought after as an expert on divorce-related topics by media outlets, he is known for being at the forefront of understanding social media and its role in divorces today. Recently, Gornbein has been speaking for a series of webinars discussing the impact of social media on divorce, along with issues including wiretapping, computer hacking, phone tapping, spycams, and others that can arise during divorce and have criminal law violation implications.
Other attorneys and judges consult Gornbein as an expert when unusual family law issues arise. A frequent public speaker for local and national meetings, he has been a featured lecturer at the National Convention of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Gornbein is married to Debra Gornbein, and is a father and grandfather. He is a named partner in the Birmingham, Mich., law firm of Lippitt O Keefe Gornbein, PLLC, where he heads the divorce and family law unit. Gornbein enjoys travel, reading, theater, and movies, but most of all, spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren.
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When newly pregnant, I read and re-read my favorite book, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, until its cover was ripped and the pages were falling out. It gave me a second opinion on my doctor’s advice; and it was a voice of reason that calmed my worry-bugs in the middle of the night and (thankfully) skipped the medical jargon in favor of plain English.
If you know someone experiencing divorce (another of life’s major transitions), Henry Gornbein’s new book, Divorce Demystified is a must-read. Gornbein, a family law attorney with more than 40 years of experience, shares the inside scoop on what to expect when you’re divorcing. This book is, in fact, the divorcing person’s equivalent of the “What to Expect” guides. Providing an experienced second opinion that offers advice without judgment, this book is a welcome addition to the divorce self-help catalog.
Not sure what to look for in a divorce attorney/client relationship? How can you evaluate your attorney’s effectiveness? How is alimony taxed as compared to child support? Maybe you need to hear that the one issue you’re digging your heels in on isn’t going to end in your favor. These topics and so many more are gently folded into text that is both empowering and practical.
Gornbein has advised a diverse clientele with a variety of common and unusual issues and wants you to benefit from the mistakes he’s seen clients make along the way. Forget the glossy overview; this book tells it like it is. Many books in this genre do offer tidbits of valuable advice, but many are ridiculously filled with legal jargon which makes the advice inaccessible to the reader. Gornbein’s text, however, is clear both to the novice and those with knowledge about divorce matters. That makes it a truly valuable tool for all levels of experience.
There is a particularly eye-opening chapter on the impact of social media and technology on today’s divorcing couples. Prepared to read the familiar advice, “Don’t post pictures of yourself in a compromising position on your public Facebook page,” I was surprised to find brand new tips and advice everyone should consider. The issues raised regarding the legality of taping in your home, cell phone tracking and social media trolling were particularly enlightening.
As a financial professional working in the divorce arena, Gornbein raises legal, financial and psychological issues that I wish more of my clients understood. Of course, as Mr. Gornbein reminds his readers, this book isn’t meant to take the place of sound legal advice for your particular situation. However, anyone contemplating or experiencing divorce can always use a second opinion in the middle of the night when their worry-bugs strike
After reading this book, I came away with the feeling that I was much more knowledgeable about divorce. For example, the author emphasizes caution when posting photos and certain language on social media sites. All too often, people forget that what you text, email, and post can and will be used against them. Discretion should not only be used during a divorce, but throughout life.
It is also interesting to note that female judges can be tough than their male counterparts when it comes to issuing spousal support for women. I would advocate for as much objectivity as possible for every judge. Keeping a journal is something that I never thought about for a person obtaining a divorce. But it is not only smart; it can also be healing as well. The author strongly suggests that a journal be safely guarded from nosy spouses, kids, relatives, or friends.
There are such a range of topics that are covered and discussed in the book. Stories about clients divorces touch on issues such as domestic violence, cultural differences, and same-sex marriage are all gripping.
I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
My absolute favorite thing about this book is it's tone. Henry reiterates again and again how important honesty is. Coming from the stereotypical character of a lawyer being a shady person, this was extremely important to me. He makes you feel calm, and in control.
Henry discusses every aspect of a divorce and points out four key areas: Legal, Psychological, Economic and Religious. He points out that while the key players are the couple divorcing and the children, divorce affects your extended family, friends, co- workers, etc. He talks about the team of processionals he works with. I didn't realize so many people were involved. It gave me new insight as to just how important it is to not go it alone.
He makes absolutely clear that in regards to the children, most states look at what is best for the child not necessarily what you as the parent want. He gave examples of types and schedules for custody so you can be apprised of scenarios you may be presented with. With those different examples you can go into your custody proceedings aware of some solutions of what has worked for others and be a leg up if there are difficulties. He talked about the importance of communication with your former spouse and making sure you never degrade the other parent in front of the children because of lasting psychological damages you can cause. He finished up that section by touching on how children will 'abuse the system' so to speak and play you against each other to get what they want and how to avoid it. Example, Mom said no, so child asks Dad.
Speaking of abuse he did a particularly fantastic job. He touched not only on all types of abuse, but gave thought provoking questions to help you determine if you are being abused. Since many times the abuser feels like they have caused their abuse, or is in denial of being abused I thought this was an invaluable section. In counterpart, he asks similar questions to those that think they may be an abuser. I thought this section would be quite helpful for anyone questioning abuse on either side.
He goes into why it is important to not loose your cool, and to present yourself as nicely as possible. You will need to show everyone (Judge, Mediator, Social Workers, Therapists etc) that you are in control of yourself. The way you conduct yourself can have an enormous effect on the outcome of your situation.
He stresses the importance of finding all of the important information and bringing everything to the table. 'The Art of Discovery' he calls it, and it is so important to make sure to do a through job. (Another reason you need a professional's help.) He lists examples of how spouses have hidden things and the impact it has had on the proceedings.
He encourages you to keep a journal to keep track of everything that is going on. He backs this point up by adding NOTES sections throughout the book in case something he has said is giving you a thought, or reminding you of something you should remember to bring up. He brings up again and again how stressful a divorce is and I think this reminder was perfect. People handle stress in different ways but and it would be very helpful to not have to stress about remembering something that happened two months ago. Write it down, and you can relax because that base is covered.
I just touched on my favorite parts of the book, but there is a wealth of knowledge inside. Again I strongly encourage everyone to read this book, not just those who will be using it personally. I learned so much and I feel far more prepared should I ever need to be that shoulder someone needs to lean on in the most difficult time of their life. Knowledge is power. I feel empowered, and I can only imagine how much hope and power Divorce Demystified would offer to someone feeling lost in the middle of a divorce.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.