Book review: UK family law demystified, in plain English

book review,family law made simple,marriage,divorce,children,relationships

New book demystifies UK Family Law

If you thought it impossible to see the phrases “book about family law” and “a good read” in the same article, never mind the same sentence, think again. For the first time ever, with “Family Law Made Simple” by Slater & Gordon Lawyers and Sarah A Thompson, I read a book about professional services from cover to cover without stopping.

Just under 150 pages of their practical, sensible advice and explanations flew by, punctuated by the occasional wry comment or joke. It’s good to know that law can be interesting and lawyers can write well (congratulations, guys!)

What it covers

It’s more a case of what it doesn’t cover, and that’s virtually zero. Yet it’s never boring, despite going to the enth place of decimal to explain, in words of one syllable, the intricacies of the various laws, Acts and other elements that make up the Great British Legal System when it comes to family and relationships.

Being particularly human in nature the book pretty much starts at the beginning of someone’s journey through a separation or split-up, walks you through the vast number of considerations you need to know about, and ends up in Section 6 pleading with you to avoid an ultimate court battle as it’s so expensive and soul-destroying (although it does explain what happens if you do get as far as a court case.)

As you would expect, both Marriage and Civil Partnerships are covered equally and no doubt the wording will be adjusted in the next edition as same-sex marriage is rolled out in the UK during 2014. For same-sex marriage partners from here on, everything in the book that relates to marriage applies equally to them.

Its detailed sections

  1. When it’s over, it’s over – what do you do now?
  2. Understanding the basics of law
  3. It’s all about the kids – children’s issues
  4. Dividing up the property on divorce  – who gets what, and when
  5. Getting it settled – it’s in your interests
  6. If it positively, definitely has to go to court
  7. Contracting out of the Family Law system
  8. Cohabitation
  9. Lawyers – finding the right ones and working with them
  10. The elephant in the room – legal costs
  11. Myths and reality in Family Law
  12. The Do’s and Don’ts of divorce
  13. Life after divorce, moving on

The last two chapters are particularly pleasing if only because they remind you that this law firm cares about feelings as well as laws.

Who should buy it

blog,writing,news,blogging,businessI would say the book is definitely your first choice to buy if your relationship is in trouble, especially as at such a stressful time the last thing you need is to wade through stuffy, pompous, boring documents to find out what you want to know.

The book is also a must-have for all public libraries and other print-based reference facilities, Citizen’s Advice Bureaux, relationship counsellors and coaches, life coaches, social workers, family counsellors and anyone else involved in helping others through marriage/relationship breakdowns and related issues regarding children.

The only thing I didn’t like?

The cover. Please, please get that redesigned for the next printing and make it something that engages potential interest and  emotions. I think it’s such a shame that the content – which I love – should be let down by a cover that is wishy-washy and doesn’t relate anything to readers that will resonate with them.

Book details

Family Law Made Simple
Slater & Gordon Ltd / Sarah A. Thompson
ISBN 978-1-922178-26-8
Published by Wilkinson Publishing Pty Ltd
Available from Amazon UK (print)
and Amazon UK (Kindle)