Book Review: It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way

Book Cover

Laura Wasser is a divorce lawyer in California whose clients include a bevy of Hollywood celebrities, but don’t hold her association with Kim Kardashian (and now apparently, Khloe) against her.  I was skeptical of the advice of a divorce lawyer with clients who seem to marry and divorce as almost a hobby.  What would this Hollywood lawyer say that would have any relevance to my clients in North Carolina?  The answer is:  plenty.  In It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way:  How to Divorce Without Destroying Your Family or Bankrupting Yourself, Ms. Wasser gives wise, practical advice about how to move through the process of ending your marriage without ruining your life or your children’s lives.

Wasser’s book is not about dishing celebrity dirt — it’s about her advice on moving through each stage of the divorce process.  She pays special attention to keeping the process as cost-effective as possible and helping people reframe the way they see their fading relationships.  She is matter-of-fact, and although I suspect that nobody would agree with everything she says about relationships (I don’t!), her insight is valuable.  She is especially good when talking about co-parenting with an ex (or several exes), since she is open about her own experiences raising kids with two exes.  Among the topics Wasser covers in the book:

  • Knowing when you should divorce
  • Separating
  • Finding a lawyer
  • Custody
  • Spousal support
  • Child support
  • Dividing assets and liabilities
  • Settlement

California law is quite different from North Carolina divorce and family law in some respects.  Wasser nevertheless does a good job of addressing the divorce process and what to expect in a way that does apply to North Carolina families.  I recommend this book to those thinking about divorce or already in the middle of the process.  Not every piece of advice in the book will apply to each person’s situation, and North Carolina law differs in some ways from what she discusses, but overall this is a good primer on how divorcing works, how you can manage it, and how you can thrive when it’s behind you.

*Note: This book is available in my firm’s library for clients to borrow as needed, along with other books on divorce and family law issues.

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