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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

15 APR 2015

Book Review – DIY Divorce and Separation: The Expert Guide to Representing Yourself

Book Review – DIY Divorce and Separation: The Expert Guide to Representing Yourself
DIY Divorce and Separation: The Expert Guide to Representing Yourself

Team of Barrister from
1 Garden Court Family Law Chambers

Family Law, 2014, £14.99, 367pp

Review by 
Jane Robey, Chief Executive, National Family Mediation

"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 [2015] Fam Law 239 and has been made available here free of charge. 

To order your copy of DIY Divorce or to subscribe to Family Law please contact a member of our sales team: Tel 0117 918 1555, or email: sales.manager@jordanpublishing.co.uk

DIY Divorce and Separation

The expert guide to representing yourself

If you are looking to represent yourself in court this book will de-mystify the legal process and...

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