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Books about Child Custody and Divorce

  Please note... I personally have never been divorced, but my mother was twice, so I have only been on the child side of a custody battle, and have only seen it from that point of view (Which is from both sides... please keep that in mind, as you talk to your child about it.)

   I am going to list these books as fair / randomly as I can, as some lean towards the mother and some to the father's side of child custody cases, some just look neutral. Please do not think me sexist or favoritist in any way... even if some of the authors or reviewers are. I hope you find what you need, whatever your situation is. ~S.M.J.M




Child Custody Made Simple: Understanding the Law of Child Custody and Child Support
by Webster Watnik

It's all in there
Reviewer: Diana Mercer from Playa del Rey, CA

   Child Custody Made Simple covers every issue of a custody plan and going to court about custody, finding the right lawyer or representing yourself, how to respond to custody emergencies, and enforcing child support. Watnik is not a lawyer, but this book is well-written and complete. This is a great primer for someone representing themselves in a custody matter, as well as someone represented by an attorney. It's a gem of a resource for who to contact for what kind of help, as well as defining the sometimes confusing legal jargon that accompanies custody cases.

[Diana Mercer is the author of Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce]

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The Child Custody Book: How to Protect Your Children and Win Your Case (Rebuilding Books)
by Terry Johnston, Judge James W. Stewart

Helpful information on a complicated topic
Reviewer: A reader from Austin, TX United States

   Most people are put-off and confused by anything to do with legal procedure and process. I certainly am. That there is a judge lawyer out there who can untangle things for the legal novice is a surprise to me. Written by an experienced California judge, with contributions from a licensed psychologist and custody evaluator, this book (in the series Rebuilding Books for divorce and beyond) places emphasis on the emotional component to the issues surrounding child custody. The do's and don'ts at the end of each chapter will help you figure out what you need to do. The glossary is most helpful - it explained legal words to me in language that I could understand. The book does not shy away from tricky topics like child abuse and false molestation or how to select a lawyer. Even though the authors are California-based, they're aware of legal trends nationwide, so you'll find this book useful if you live in the United States. If you or someone you know is faced with the difficult decisions involved in working out a child custody agreement, I'd recommend this book.

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Fathers' Rights: Hard-Hitting & Fair Advice for Every Father Involved in a Custody Dispute
by Jeffery M. Leving, Kenneth A. Dachman,

The Anguish of Modern Fatherhood
Reviewer: A reader from St. Paul, Minnesota

   Although I cannot speak for all non-custodial parents (Typically fathers), I can say that when I discovered this book during the winter of 1998, I felt that the author was almost speaking directly to me. Mr. Leving understands that our courts and our court-appointed visitation and custody mediators are profoundly gender biased. Prior to reading Fathers's Rights (How very few there are!), I had attended father-support groups for three years, and I had heard some real horror stories, especially concerning problems with denial of visitation. Mr. Leving acknowledges the fact that most mothers do not consider the fathers' visitation right as important-they view these rights as gifts or privileges for them to bestow at their whim.

    For the many fathers who have had to fight with the tenacity of a pit bull, this book speaks to them. It is further interesting to note that while our society continually decries the absence of fathers, it fails to acknowledge just how difficult it is for fathers to be granted even a modicum of visitation rights, and how equally apathetic judges are when it comes to enforcing them. Indeed, a father who stands on his rights stands on quicksand. Unfortunately, Mr. Leving has no advice for the fathers who are poor and must represent themselves as Pro Se litigants. My answer was to go to the local law library and photocopy the statutes on Visitation and Child Support.

    I then read How To Represent Yourself In Court, published by Nolo Press. The modern father needs to become involved with Father Support Groups, and learn all he can about the few legal rights he has. Reading the statutes on visitation is not all that complex. It is also helpful when you do need an attorney that you know the rules of the game. Mr. Leving's book was, for me, a great place to start.

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Mom's House, Dad's House: Making Two Homes for Your Child
by Isolina Ricci

We formed a new relationship with the help of the book
Reviewer: A reader from Redding, CA

   Mom's House, Dad's House is an island of rational ideas and support in a sea of self help books. Dr. Ricci presents concepts and advice that supported us in re-building our relationship while going through a divorce with three children.

   Almost every issue we struggled with (and we did struggle) was covered in the book. Her input regarding 'emotional' divorce paved the way to our new and very constructive 'business' relationship. We are now actually communicating better that when married. The children are the true beneficiaries of our using this book.

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