I had the pleasure of reviewing Kelly Lavallie’s Untying the Knot, a book about navigating the financial aspects of divorce. I’m a child of divorce, a divorcee, and a divorce coach–so you could say that divorce is kinda my “thing.” Ms. Lavallie is a CPA and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). Her financial expertise, alone, makes this a worthwhile read, but the way she draws on personal experience to prepare folks for the emotional aspect of divorce is equally valuable.
Untying the Knot is an easy-to-read guide to this very complicated, often overwhelming process. Ms. Lavallie’s tone is approachable and friendly, and I found myself giggling at a few parts. She refers to herself as a Pollypragmatist (cross between a cheerful outlook and a realistic perspective), which I immediately loved because I find myself in that label, too. When writing about the power of healthy thinking, she uses simple, cute drawings to illustrate the connection between our thoughts, our body, and our spirit. Similar graphics appear throughout the rest of the book, giving the reader a lighthearted representation of sometimes heavy things (she uses gray blobs to represent Blame and Shame.) She writes with expertise, often drawing on her own experiences personally and professionally to make the reader feel comfortable.
It starts with a section on protecting your emotional health, which I was thoroughly impressed with. Divorce is heavy, even in the most amicable of situations. Emotional health means having the ability to honestly check in with yourself, knowing when and how to set boundaries, and remaining calm even when panic takes over. I’m a social worker and often teach my clients that nothing is working if your thoughts aren’t healthy. Ms. Lavallie references one of my favorite authors in this section- Byron Katie–as well as Don Miguel Ruiz and Stephen Covey. She also writes about Bill Eddy’s BIFF (Brief, Informative, Friendly, Firm) for a tried and true communication strategy during high-conflict situations.
Throughout the book, Ms. Lavallie balances pragmatism and compassion. She uses real examples that my clients have experienced, helping the reader to feel validated and know they aren’t alone. The sections are broken down into manageable, readable chunks with summaries at the end.
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Money matters are often heavily emotional, and Ms. Lavallie does a fantastic job guiding readers through all aspects of this process. I bookmarked several pages of this guide to share with clients and I look forward to recommending it to everyone who hires me. If you work in divorce or are going through one, Untying the Knot will be the manual you need.