The Seven Principles Of A Just Divorce: Biblical Wisdom And Legal Insight, by John S. Weaver
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Adams PR Group in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
This book is one that, thankfully, is not personally relevant to me right now or in the foreseeable future. That said, as the child of a fairly ugly divorce, this book definitely hit home in its discussion of the way that people who are in a divorce do not always handle it in the best way. All in all, this book offers a cerebral and bloodless look at the problems of divorce and the principles of a just divorce from the perspective of jus belli (just war) thinking going back to early modern times if not before. It is well that the author can keep his head about such matters, as this book certainly is shrewd advice on how one can be just if one’s feelings don’t get in the way. As a person I tend to be aware of my own ferocious hostility towards enemies and do not think that this book would answer for those who, once their dander is up and they are involved in conflict, are immensely ferocious about how they handle it.
This book is fourteen chapters long and it is divided into two parts. After beginning with a preface, acknowledgements, and introduction, the first part of the book looks at when it is okay to divorce (I). This includes chapters about adultery (1), desertion/abandonment (2), and abuse and neglect (3) as being the biblical examples of just causes. After that there is a look at the importance of motives (4), divorce as being the last resort of the wronged spouse (5) who is not compelled but is allowed to do it, and the provision of reasonable alimony (6) and an equitable division of marital property (7). The second part of the book then looks at the just conduct of people involved in a divorce (II), including effective negotiation strategies (8), alternative dispute resolution (9), court litigation (10), the importance of sheltering children from the parents’ conflict (11), child custody (12), child support (13), and the importance of keeping to the way of wisdom. After that the book ends with a bibliography and endnotes that allow the author to demonstrate his awareness of state and federal law as it relates to these issues, as this book has a heavy legalistic tone from someone who has spent a lot of time dealing with legal matters in the justice system.
This book discusses seven principles of a just divorce, and whether one is looking at this from a family point of view (as the author does) or from the geopolitical view , these principles are worth keeping in mind to determine if we are behaving justly in a given conflict or not. These principles are: just cause, right intention, last resort, legitimate authority, limited objectives, proportionate means, and immunity of noncombatants. If your struggle does not include these principles, the author would view it as unjust, and he is not slow to comment on the mixed motives or the struggle with proportionate means or not harming those who are not directly involved in the conflict. There are a great many ways that conflicts can be come unjust, and divorce is one of the ways in which people show their humanity in a lamentable and all too unpleasant way, and if this book is useful in providing a check to the resentful tendencies that many of us have in spades, it will have done its job in helping to make conflict less frightful and more proportionate and limited in nature, and that is definitely for the best.
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