If Divorce Is The Only Way…An Emotional and Practical Guide to the Essential Do's and Don'ts of Divorce and Marital Breakdown

John Bieber has hit the button in his book If Divorce is The Only Way. In 39 well-written chapters, he sets out how a spouse going through or contemplating a divorce can best avoid the pitfalls often encountered during, as well as beyond, the process and how he or she can cope with the trauma and upset of the marriage breakdown in a dignified manner.

There is also a useful section dealing with children.

The spouse is rightly reminded of the importance of putting the best interests of the children first to ensure they come through the divorce with the least long-term disturbance.

The chapter “Try not to seek advice from too many people” will, I expect, cause many a family lawyer to smile as it triggers memories.

It begins with some familiar quotes: “That man has ruined your life. You must make him pay!”, “Surely you're entitled to half the capital/ to stay in the house/the car?”. All family lawyers will have had to cope with clients who have been advised in this way, no doubt by well-meaning friends.

Advice about choosing the right solicitor is handled wisely. Bieber could have perhaps flown the flag of the Solicitors' Family Law Association a little more. Reference might have been made to the SFLA's code of practice under which members are encouraged to advise, negotiate and conduct court proceedings in a conciliatory manner, calculated to achieve a constructive settlement.

The dangers of hiring a rottweiler-like lawyer, whose way of working does not constantly seek a fair solution, might also have been emphasised.