"The real strength of the book is in the sections about the court process and completing the court forms. The authors have provided examples of the types of answers to give whether it is in children’s proceedings or financial proceedings."
DIY Divorce and Separation: the Expert Guide to Representing Yourself is a guide that offers specific
assistance to the increasing numbers of people in divorce cases who are
representing themselves in courts. With the increasing number of litigants in
person the publication of this book is very timely. The book takes you through
the various aspects of legally ending a relationship and even provides
information about what to do if you are not certain.
The style and layout of the book makes reading about some very
complex issues manageable. The chapters are comprehensive and within each
chapter there are different formats for delivering information with relevant
links to websites and signposting to other organisations. Each chapter is well referenced and from the
contents to the glossary and the index it will be of great assistance to those
trying to navigate the legal maze. Within the chapters there are highlighted
terms and phrases to help people find their way quickly to the information they
are looking for and it helpfully provides at the beginning of each chapter an
outline of what you will learn. At the end of each chapter there is a ‘do’s and
don’ts’ check list on the chapter subject.
The real strength of the book is in the sections about the court
process and completing the court forms. The authors have provided examples of
the types of answers to give whether it is in children’s proceedings or
financial proceedings. Using their knowledge of the court process and their
experience of working with judges they have managed to convey what will be
expected of anybody who is intending to head off to court. Perhaps the book’s
description of alternatives to courts could be more robust.
It is clear that the authors have worked very hard to explain key
legal concepts and phrases in plain English. It is difficult not to revert to
legal speak and instead use phrases that would be easily understood by the lay
person. Inevitably the caveat 'seek legal advice' crops up but, hopefully, the
second edition will simplify things even further and be bolder in its approach
to giving information.
Overall this is an affordable, readable book
that will achieve for individuals what it sets out to do in its title. For most
people, divorce is a once in a lifetime experience and, whether legally represented or not,
having this book to hand whilst going through the experience will help to guide
people through the mystifying legal process.
This book review was originally published in March  Fam Law 239 and has been made available here free of charge.