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Showing 1-10 of 15 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 21 reviews
on September 22, 2015
I read this book as research to prove or disprove a theory. A couple of year's ago I read the book the Matrix as it is. In it David E Robinson explained that as in the case of Van Koten v Van Koten a marriage license is a license issued by the state. That in the case of divorce, all the court cares about is that someone will look after the child and the other will pay for the child. That, that's what the parents will do while they are married and while they are divorced, look after and pay for the child. I thought that reading a book written by a divorce judge would be the way to get proven and reliable facts, on this theory.

So here's what I found. In the first chapter the judge explains, how if you can settle without going to court it will save you mud slinging each other, plenty of time, and plenty of money. In the 2nd chapter the judge explains that there are different ways to go about divorce without a court. However, realistically some people will want to go to court, so the judge goes about explaining some guidelines to go by to get the divorce done in your favor. He talks about the courts rules on alimony and child support. That if the earner can give the custodian of the child enough to live on comfortably, as comfortable as when they were together, with the provider earning enough to live on comfortably than the judge will impose that. However, if doing that would leave the payer, with little disposable income, than the judge will reduce the amount the provider will pay. The alimony and child support rules are based on a formula, based on income, and based on different rules that differ from state to state, but that is the general idea.

He also explains, that if you don't go through court, if you settle out of court and just want the judge to give his or her blessing, the big thing the judge will look at is that the person looking after the child has enough to live on, if possible. I found this principle brought up again and again. So what this means is the theory that the court only cares about the custodian having enough to live on is true from a bottom line point of view. That is the main thing that they care about. However in the case of the USA, their are other things that do matter, they want to make sure that if one partner has been horrible to the other, this will affect how much the horrible person has to pay, or collect if they are the custodian. That in the USA either parent can be given custody of the child.

The reason I did this research is as stated in Van Koten v Van Koten; and here in New Zealand the person looking after the child always gets things their way. In NZ law the person looking after the child is the guardian, so the family court takes what they say at pretty much face value. In America the provider and the custodian are both guardians of the child. So I thought I'd go to the source, and read what a judge has to say. So my hypothesis is proven, with the adjustment that the courts will consider other things, but the main thing is the custodian of the child will get support. One caution about this though, is I'm still a bit fuzzy on how child support and alimony relate to each other, and are different to each other. The amount of alimony someone has to pay, is that inclusive of child support, or is that on top of child support. If he had a written a chapter explaining how those interrelate that would be helpful. But that is the only small drawback.
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on October 23, 2011
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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on May 25, 2017
Got good ideas about what to do and not to do. Also had questions to ask my attorney
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on August 24, 2014
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. Watch "Divorce Corp" on netflix or amazon video if you want to know more; I am not kidding.

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"....

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, and 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 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., one judge in my county court house dislikes home schooling with a passion, so mentioning that as a SAHM you would continue the home schooling would not be a positive point in this particular judge's consideration as to what is best for the children.)

This book lets you know that judges are just people, and they try hard, but they have limited time for each case and good judges don't like to make decisions based on sheer intuition. The law covers some items clearly, but most is totally open to a judge's interpretation, and what the judge decides is final unless you want to spend more money on an appeal. So if you are not rich, you only have one shot at presenting your case if you and your ex do not agree 100% on what you will do, and sign off on it BEFORE seeing the judge. If anything is left undecided, the judge makes that decision for you both, and you have to live with it. Even then, the judge could simply decide that he/she does not like a particular point in your decree and he can strike it out. At that point, you can only choose to ask for more time to consider the agreement and not sign it (and hopefully get a different judge???) or you can go ahead and agree to the strike out or addition and sign and the divorce is final. Once you and your spouse sign and the judge signs, the divorce and everything it says is final. It is difficult and expensive to try and change divorce terms other than adjusting child support or visitation.

Whatever you do, document it: keep a calendar of where the kids are (when they are with your soon-to-be- or ex-spouse) and back the calendar up with any emails, or photograph or screen print your texts. Keep them safe on a cloud drive or print them out and lock them up. Save receipts of what you pay for on kids and house and car. Do it even if you don't think you need to, because you might need it someday if your spouse decides to move in with a drug addict or live hours away and forces your kids to commute an hour to school and and hour back on the spouses's day(s) with the kids. Again, it all boils down to what is perceived to be the best for the children by the judge. A 2 hour commute so he can live with his GF is not in their best interest, but you need to show the facts. File a motion for separation to detach financially ASAP, but hire a lawyer. If you are not ready yet, then document anyway, anything that will show that it's in the kids better interest to be with you for full custody. A judge does not necessarily care if your spouse has a lover or stays out all night. But is your spouse neglecting the kids? Abusing them or you? Document it. Keep a dairy of expenses and incidents, down to the recital that he always skips. Back it up with evidence in emails, texts, and voicemails. Find a way to keep it to show that you are telling the truth. Judges need facts to feel confident that they are definitively deciding for what is in the best interest of the children.

WARNING: I am not a lawyer, just recently been through this. Do not proceed into a divorce lightly; it's a nasty business and can really hurt children, because usually kids love both of their parents. It's a very sad thing.

Lawyers don't always fight for you, they can be the type to baby sit your case, file motions, and charge you by the minute at $250+/hr for reading email from you or hearing you talk about stuff that isn't going to help, so keep yourself organized, a lawyer is not a psychologist but they would happily charge to you listen to you talk...... they are worth it in the long run.....yet unless you have lots of money they will not dig out facts that will make your case, either. Oh, and you cannot trust online reviews. Lawyers find a way to delete the bad ones or they probably sue people but a bad lawyer review simply cannot be found on Google. Find a lawyer by asking friends, or looking it up in your local "Best of <Your City>" list. And gray hair on a lawyer is very good....
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on April 4, 2011
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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on May 4, 2013
This is an excellent book for people who are considering an amicable divorce. It also covers the nasty kind. Most importantly, it underlines the fact that, unless you and your spouse have issues with dishonesty, domestic violence, etc., you need to stay out of court because the system has been engineered to serve itself, not the people it alleges to serve.
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on July 6, 2013
A lot of information for you and your other half, it needs to be put to work wisely. It prepared me for alimony, the wife still wants to use attorney's. Hope it helps you like it has for me.
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on April 21, 2014
This book was very informative & very good advice for helping gain reasonable expectations, which is the first step to healing from divorce.
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on September 12, 2009
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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on October 29, 2011
I bought this book as I had neever sat through a divorce hearing. I got summoned as a character witness and I wanted to know what to expect. The book helped me to do a good job on the stand.
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