Surviving Divorce: The Inside World of the Fishbowl Known as Divorce

By John Hollins Jr. | Eveready Press | $25 | 168 pages | 2011

John Hollins Jr.’s new book, Surviving Divorce, may become the divorce lawyer’s new mandatory handout for divorcing parties.

Motivated by H. Jackson Brown’s work, Life’s Little Instruction Book, Hollins delineates tidbits of wisdom on the divorce process that only a seasoned divorce lawyer who is wholly familiar with the oddities contained in the fishbowl of divorce would know.

Taking divorce from the very beginning (pre-filing) and working through to its conclusion, Hollins points out the possible emotional and substantive pitfalls that exist in this world where logic and decision-making can easily be distorted. From the likely trouble involved in seeking advice and opinions from family and friends whose divorces are almost always completely different from the reader’s, to the dangers of seeking vengeance or punishment (since divorces are subject to the laws of physics in that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction), to the value of getting through the process with your dignity and personal reputation intact, Hollins walks the reader through good choices and bad choices — all the way down to the clothes one might wear to court and the dangers inherent in using spyware, tracking gizmos and recording devices.

Hollins also educates the reader on the core concepts involved in the divorce process itself: the filing of complaints and counter-complaints, the use of petitions on subjects such as parenting time and contempt, and the impact of law on topics such as annulment, legal separation, same-sex marriage and mediation.

What is some of his best advice? Ranking at the top of this list I suggest that “divorce doesn’t mean you are a failure as a spouse, a parent, or a person,” and your “children are a permanent commitment although marriage may not be.” Also particularly ringing of truth is that while there exists a painfully thin line between love and hate, staying focused on the fact that your children want and need to love you both will help you make better decisions as a parent and a litigant.

Anyone in the midst of a divorce, including the lawyers handling them, will appreciate this book. Seeing in print the many truths that apply when life is at its most topsy-turvy might be just the knowledge needed to bring comfort, clarity, and better decision-making.


C. SUZANNE LANDERS is the senior lawyer at The Landers Firm in Memphis, which focuses solely on the litigation and mediation of family law issues.