"Divorce With Decency": An
Update & Overview on My Book

By: Bradley Coates
Special to the
Oahu Island News

As many of my longtime readers know, about five years ago I wrote a book: Divorce with Decency: The Complete How-To Handbook and Survivor's Guide to the Legal, Emotional, Economic, and Social Issues.  The University of Hawaii Press published the book in 1998 and it was released nationwide that same year. The book became very popular and I was flattered when it went on to win the Hawaii Book Publisher's Annual Ka Palapala Po'okela Award of Merit for Excellence in Guide and Reference Books.

Divorce with Decency is intended to be an up-to-date, informative yet highly readable (and occasionally amusing) overview of the entire divorce process.  In my (not so) humble opinion, it is the most comprehensive treatment of the legal, emotional, economic, and social aspects of divorce available anywhere in a single volume.

Ever since the release of Divorce with Decency, I've done quite a bit of public speaking, including several radio and T.V. appearances, all of which center around the book.  Audience questions (especially from those who have read and enjoyed the book) are often about two topics.  First, folks want to know more background about how I came to write the book.  And second, they often ask for a synopsis describing the key topics and primary focus of the book.  Thus, I've decided to devote my next couple of columns to providing a brief refresher course on the theories, themes and key substantive topics contained in the book.

The first few sections of Divorce with Decency look at the dynamics of divorce. They include the causal factors and the common "stages" from initial separation onward, and the complications surrounding each for the couples and children.  Important information on spouse abuse (often absent from divorce guides), is also included within the book.

I then discuss the key criteria in selecting an attorney, and give advice on directing and monitoring the course of a case efficiently and economically.  A detailed discussion of the critical legal issues is provided, followed by case histories highlighting key points of divorce law.

Finally, the section "Life After Divorce" looks at the newly divorced as they face single parenthood, new relationships, remarriage, and various other after shocks.

The tone of Divorce with Decency is targeted to cover advanced scholarly and legalistic material (but in layman's terms).  As such, the book continues to prove indispensable to anyone involved in a divorce, whether directly or indirectly.  Lawyers, social workers, marriage counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other professionals have found it a useful and a concise reference for both themselves and their clients.  Finally, since the writing style stays on the lighter side and is buttressed with cartoons and drawings (by prominent Honolulu artists John Pritchett and Charles Valoroso) and pithy quotations, the book is an enjoyable read in its own right.  It has been well received for its almost Dave Barry-style of ironic humor and empathy with its intended audience, by anyone who has ever been bounced along the rocky road of divorce.

In view of the fact that many of the subjects covered in Divorce with Decency were originally spun off from the various research and writing projects which commenced initially with my writings for this newspaper column, I thought some of my loyal readers might find this bit of background to be interesting.  You can also get a good overview of the book by visiting the website: www.divorcewithdecency.com.

Bradley A. Coates, J.D., has been a practicing divorce attorney in Honolulu for over 20 years.  He has been selected as Honolulu's Best Divorce Lawyer and is the founder of Coates & Frey, Hawaii's largest family law firm. This article contains only "general" information and readers should not take any actions based on the "summarized" information contained herein.  Instead, appropriate experts should be consulted for each individual's case and/or fact situation.  Phone: 524-4854 or visit the firm's website at www.coatesandfrey.com.