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The Gentleman's Guide to the Nasty Divorce

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The Gentleman's Guide to the Nasty Divorce
I tend to get a lot of questions via email or on the Fatherhood Forum about surviving divorce. Many of the questions tend to revolve around process issues like finding a good family law attorney, documentation, preparing for custody hearings or, later, enforcing custody orders.

One of my recent reads was the short book The Gentleman's Guide to the Nasty Divorce by E.B. Gunn that seems to anticipate and answer most of the difficult questions the divorcing husband needs to answer and understand.

The Gentleman's Guide to the Nasty Divorce is written in a straightforward style and doesn't pull many punches in terms of warning a man what he is getting into when he decides to consider a divorce. Gunn takes the process carefully through all its stages, from the use of a private investigator to determine if a partner is unfaithful to understanding family law, finding the right attorney, living life discretely before and during the divorce and making the best of a bad situation when it is all over.

The advice offered by the author in The Gentleman's Guide to the Nasty Divorce is grounded in reality, both from his own experiences and that of others. Gunn focuses on many of the issues that men don't typically think about when getting into a divorce and that can trip them up along the way. Ideas like taking and locking up valuable jewelry and art and giving your attorney the key to make sure that they don't disappear unexpectedly are included.

He also offers some well-thought-out signs that can help a man know if his wife is having an affair or if the marriage may be ending for other reasons. Warning signs seem to be a general theme of the book as he helps a man in this situation think a little more carefully and see a little more clearly when he finds himself in a morass of emotions and disappointment. He even writes in detail about ways to help the children through the difficult process of their parents' divorce in ways that at least minimize the pain and uncertainty.

Many of the things that a divorcing man usually doesn't think about can have serious ramifications on the outcome of the divorce proceedings, but are dealt with in The Gentleman's Guide to the Nasty Divorce. For example, if you have been separated but not yet divorced and have a new girlfriend, Gunn offers advice about keeping that relationship in bounds, knowing that the girlfriend might eventually be a witness. He also offers wise counsel on that sensitive period of time when both spouses who are divorcing live under the same roof, hoping the other one will "blink" first and leave, thus hurting their chances in the custody process. And the author offers solid advice on other relationships and experiences during the process such as with friends, co-workers, legal authorities and guardians at litem.

In it all, Gunn takes a decidedly low-key but plesantly humorous approach to a very unfunny process. The reader can't help but smile occasionally at the turn of a phrase or an experience that Gunn uses to make a point. It is an entertaining read, whether you find yourself in the midst of a divorce, thinking about one, or just reading the book so you can help a friend through the process.

Overall, I think E.B. Gunn has made a nice contribution to the literature out there that purports to help divorcing fathers. The Gentleman's Guide to the Nasty Divorce is a worthwhile read and will help bring information and perspective to any man finding himself with a deteriorating marriage. Following his well written and helpful advice will make what is almost always a devastating experience a little more liveable.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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