All of the books listed here have "passed muster" with the SPARC staff and are considered to be valuable or informative enough to warrant buying.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of books on divorce and custody issues currently available. A comparative few of them are actually worth the cover price, in our opinion. Many are filled with "fluff" or out-dated advice, some promote strategies that will actually work against you, and some are just too shallow, not covering a subject thoroughly enough to be useful. The books listed here have been carefully picked and should not disappoint.
Simply click on a link to view information from Amazon.com about the book, including reviews. We suggest that you check with your local library to see if these books are available before spending your hard-earned money on them. Books that have '(Review)' after the title also have a review available from the SPARC site.
If unavailable locally, consider purchasing them through our links to Amazon.com. Amazon usually meets or beats the prices found in established "brick and mortar" stores, but it's probably worth a call to your local bookstore to compare prices.
Note: Buying a book through these links supports the SPARC web site- The publisher or Amazon.com remits a small amount (very small) to the SPARC site whenever a book is purchased through our links. If you do decide to purchase one or more of these books, please consider doing it through one of the links on this page.
Finally, if you have a book you feel would be worth including in this list, please contact us and let us know the title so we can review it. We'll be glad to add it to the list so that others may benefit from it. Our funds are limited, and we can't buy every book suggested, so if you're done with the book, how about sending it to us? You can send us books or other material at SPARC, P.O. Box 82764, Kenmore WA 98028-0764.
Win Your Child Custody War, by C. Hardwick (Full Review) Win Your Child Custody War is almost without question the most comprehensive manual ever assembled on the subject of prevailing in a child custody dispute. At almost 650 pages, Win Your Child Custody War manages to cover everything, and we mean everything. There's a lot of information packed into this book. Assembling all this information separately would literally require you to locate and purchase hundreds of different books. Fortunately, the authors have done this for you, distilling the information down into a total of 28 extremely detailed chapters. You're sure to find help and advice on virtually any subject related to child custody. Click here to get this book
Fathers' Rights: hard-hitting and fair advice for every father involved in a custody dispute, by Jeffrey Leving. Jeffery Leving has spent more than a decade in the trenches of domestic law. From that perspective, he gives men embroiled in custody disputes a powerful and impassioned voice in Fathers Rights. Arguing that men are disenfranchised and stigmatized by a biased legal system, Leving promises help through such difficulties as finding empathetic attorneys, avoiding unhealthy custody arrangements, protecting the child-parent relationship, and remaining financially solvent. Included is advice on how to demonstrate parental competence when falsely accused of abuse. Click here to get this book
The Father's Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle, by Robert Seidenberg. Everyone has heard the story of a father devastated in divorce-custody litigation-losing his home and children, and driven to bankruptcy as a result of child support, alimony, and legal fees. Until now though, one might have thought these were isolated instances. In The Father's Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle, fathers'-rights activist Robert Seidenberg, writing with the legal insights of divorce-attorney William Dawes, starts with the assertion that an abusive legal culture is the norm, and that the brutalization of fathers in court is an everyday occurrence. Click here to get this book
The Child Custody Book: How to protect your children and win your case, by Judge James W. Stewart. What really happens in child custody litigation. What to expect at each stage. How courts make custody decisions. How to make your strongest case. How to protect your child. If you're involved in a child custody case, you need this book. The author will help you avoid heartbreaking and costly mistakes by teaching you: How custody decisions are made, how to conduct yourself in a custody evaluation, how to protect your child, how to handle child abuse - and false accusations of abuse, how to devise a workable joint custody plan, how to deal with gender bias in the courts, how to work out a fair child support schedule, how to handle relocation of one parent, how to work with your attorney, and more. The Child Custody Book
Divorce Handbook for California: How to dissolve your marriage without disaster by Judge James W. Stewart. (Full Review) In the first dozen pages, Judge Stewart gives you a frighteningly accurate picture of how most divorces actually get resolved. The primary focus of the Handbook is preventing "financial disaster", but considerable attention is also paid to making sure that the settlement you receive is fair and equitable. Judge Stewart describes the typical progression of most divorce cases and provides some practical alternative practices that, if used, will almost certainly save you and your spouse a small fortune in legal fees. A variety of practical tips are presented, including pointers on hiring an attorney and ways to "bypass" the public court system. At $19.95, this book is a bargain. Written in a clear, no-nonsense format, the Divorce Handbook For California is a worthwhile buy for any California resident as well as people in other States going through divorce. California Divorce Handbook, Revised 3rd Edition
From Courtship to Courtroom: What divorce law is doing to marriage, by Jed Abraham. Attorney Jed Abraham explodes the myths about divorce in this candid, often caustic, book about the ways in which dvorce laws are unfair to men. Drawing upon his extensive experience, he sketches a compelling picture of what men can expect during court battles over alimony, child support, division of property and charges of domestic violence. Forget your illusions about amicable separation and fair divorce laws. He details the economic and emotional hardships that beset many men during, and long after, the divorce process. It is also a helpful guide to men who want to avoid the drain of divorce. Any man considering marriage, or going through divorce, will want to read this book. From Courtship to Courtroom : What Divorce Law is Doing to Marriage
Divorce & Child Custody (Ask a Lawyer), by Steven Strauss. The Ask a Lawyer series arms you with practical, usable advice about common legal situations, answering your questions and familiarizing you with legal procedure before you ever set foot in a lawyer's office. Each book walks you through simple explanations of the law, legal definitions, tips, and sample scenarios, describing what will happen and what your options are. In some cases, these books can keep you from spending money on a lawyer you really never needed. Whether you ultimately decide to handle the matter by yourself or use an attorney's assistance for the completion of your plans, these books can easily save you thousands of dollars in the process. Divorce and Child Custody (Ask a Lawyer)
Child Custody: legal decisions & family outcomes, by Craig Everett. This book is a must-have for all family therapists, attorneys and judges who work with families impacted by divorce. It contains up to the minute research on the wide range of issues surrounding the complex problems of divorce...offering the clinician new insight or at least a reminder of what their clients are experiencing and the long range impact of the process. This interesting and scholarly book will help professsionals working in the field of divorce put some theory behind their interventions. Child Custody: Legal Decisions and Family Outcomes
Mediating Divorce: A client's workbook, by Marilyn McNight & Stephen Erickson. Two leading experts in the field of divorce mediation have written a step-by-step workbook for divorcing couples who are working with a professional mediator. Created to be a hands-on resource for those who wish to participate in the process of a less expensive and more effective separation. This is a less-expensive version of a $300 training package that included the Mediator's Manual, Participant's Workbooks, binder, audio tape, and Children's Book Mediating Divorce, A Client's Workbook
Civil War - A Dad's Guide to Custody, by Joseph E. Cordell. (Full Review) In "Civil War: A Dads Guide To Custody", Joseph Cordell has compiled an extremely accurate yet succinct guide to the way things work in most divorce and custody battles. Mr. Cordell's writing is direct, in some cases almost blunt, but he clearly outlines the issues every divorcing father needs to keep in mind in a logical and down-to-earth fashion. In Chapter 1, Mr. Cordell writes that this book is "not a socio-philosophical discussion", and indeed it is not. Filled with practical and useable advice, Mr. Cordell relates some frank truths about how lawyers and judges really behave, and what is likely to influence them. Civil War - A Dad's Guide to Custody
Custody for Fathers: A Practical Guide Through the Combat Zone of a Brutal Custody Battle, by Carleen Brennan and Michael Brennan. Custody For Fathers is is sub-titled "A practical guide through the combat zone of a brutal custody battle" and it's obvious the authors speak from personal as well as professional experience. Carleen and Michael Brennan have put together an excellent guide for anyone who is facing or who is in the midst of a custody dispute, but especially so for fathers, who are often shortchanged in Family and Domestic courts. Divided into seventeen comprehensive chapters, Custody For Fathers covers virtually all the bases. An especially useful section is Chapter 13 - "Moms - Dirty Tricks". This chapter outlines most of the classic 'dirty tricks' that some parents will pull in their effort to gain custody at any cost, including denying contact, frustrating counseling/mediation efforts, and filing false criminal charges. These and a number of other commonly used 'dirty tricks' are covered, and for each maneuver, Carleen and Michael Brennan provide a practical 'counter-maneuver'. This chapter alone could easily be worth the cost of the book. Custody for Fathers: A Practical Guide Through the Combat Zone of a Brutal Custody Battle
Child Custody Made Simple: Understanding the Law of Child Custody and Child Support, by Webster Watnik. 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. Child Custody Made Simple
Informational - General and useful information on fathers and divorce...
Families with Divorce: Fathers & mothers in "the system", by Douglas O'Brien. The Families with Divorce series of books written by Douglas O'Brien are the first books which successfully bridge the gap between professional literature and true self-help legal assistance. The quantity of information necessary to be able to represent yourself through the family court system is tremendous, and can not be covered in one book. Families With Divorce: Fathers and Mothers in the System
A Family Divided : A Divorced Father's Struggle With the Child Custody Industry by Robert Mendelson All too frequently fathers going through the process of divorce are treated as if they are cash machines, whose continuing psychological involvement with their own children is superfluous to their well-being. Robert Mendelson's new book, A FAMILY DIVIDED, compellingly chronicles one man's journey through the land mines we call family court, and along the way provides important advice to fathers facing the prospect of divorce as well as thoughtful recommendations to policy makers for change. Don't go to divorce court without having read this book! A Family Divided
Where's Daddy? The mythologies behind custody-access-support, by "K.C.". Where's Daddy?" examines most, if not all, of common divorce myths and institutions, punching holes in them neatly and logically. Written in a straightforward manner, the author uses statistics and common sense to illustrate his points. "Where's Daddy?" lifts the veil of the social structures that not just perpetuate, but in fact promote today's lopsided practice of divorce and custody determination. "Where's Daddy?" investigates why no practical advances have been made in the handling of divorce and custody issues, even after decades of research that have turned up more productive options for both parents and children. In addition, "Where's Daddy?" also examines some of the more common "urban myths" that have been instrumental in shaping the current landscape of divorce and custody. Where's Daddy?: The Mythologies Behind Custody-Access-Support
Men on Divorce: The other side of the story, by Penny Kaganoff & Susan Spano. Marriage and divorce are insightfully explored in 15 original essays by male writers. Includes essays by novelist Walter Kim discussing his parents' divorce and how it prefigured his own years later, and social commentator Luis Rodriguez writing about why men often romanticize love and marriage, even to the point that the woman becomes nearly inanimate, just one part of the larger dream. Similar themes are examined, as when Stephen Dobyns probes his tendency to idealize his lovers and himself during the courtship phase of his relationships. Imperfections are initially ignored, but once the facade is breached, the relationship inevitably founders. "How to Get Divorced," by Michael Ryan, is a sharp, satiric take on the ways men persecute the ones they love. Perceptive and revealing, it should be required reading of all men who say, "I do" --preferably before the vows. Men on Divorce: The Other Side of the Story
Throwaway Dads: The Myths and Barriers That Keep Men from Being the Fathers They Want to Be, by Ross D. Parke and Armin A. Brott Psychologist Ross Parke and parenting writer Armin A. Brott combine research on fatherhood with practical alternatives to current thinking to create a feisty, thought-provoking read. Why do most media images of fathers show them as incompetent, lazy, or frightening? Studies suggest that these stereotypes are far from reality but stick in our minds nonetheless, creating a difficult environment for men to nurture children. In fact, say Parke and Brott, most men are doing their best in the absence of formal guidelines, and paternal involvement is crucial for children to develop independence, social skills, and school performance. By encouraging "parenting partnerships" and new images of men as concerned, active parents, the authors hope to reverse our current direction and make the concept of throwaway dads a thing of the past. Throwaway Dads: The Myths and Barriers That Keep Men from Being the Fathers They Want to Be
The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 year landmark study, by Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis, Sandra Blakeslee. This book contains vitally important information for anybody connected with or considering divorce. This includes parents, step-parents (actual or prospective), divorce lawyers, judges, social workers, teachers and, or course, the children of divorce themselves. Dr. Wallerstein devastatingly and eloquently describes the host of familial, emotional, social and financial problems faced by these kids- problems that not only endure to adulthood but may frequently even intensify. It will not be comfortable reading for those involved with divorce, but it will be extremely useful. The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study
Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths, by Sanford Braver. Millions of families strive to give their children the best possible upbringing after being split apart by divorce. Separated mothers and fathers--and in many cases their second spouses--struggle to find the right way to piece together parent-child relationships in its wake. In this revolutionary work, psychologist Sanford L. Braver--who undertook the largest-ever federally funded study on issues confronting divorced fathers--shows how millions of well-intentioned mothers, fathers, judges, lawyers, educators, and other caregivers have been repeatedly and tragically misled by the prevailing data about divorce and parenthood. For years our society has accepted the image of the "deadbeat dad" who shirks childcare payments and other responsibilities. Yet Braver proves that this villainous figure--like many other myths of the divorced parent--simply does not exist in significant numbers. Moreover, Braver overturns one of the most important pieces of data on divorce in the past quarter-century: the belief that divorced women suffer a steep decline in their standard of living. This widely embraced notion was the result of misread data, but was transformed into "fact" by the media and the courts, and accepted by divorced families and their advocates. No other book has revealed the deep flaws in today's research on divorce. One-sided studies of divorced men and women, misused census data, and poor research have skewed many of the assumptions around which parents and courts have shaped divorce settlements, parenting responsibilities, and child-rearing decisions. Every divorced parent--and anyone who loves a divorced parent -- urgently needs this book to understand the new realities behind divorce and parenting. Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths
Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining: America's Toughest Family Court Judge Speaks Out, by Judy Sheindlin (Judge Judy). "American fathers are led down a primrose path every day in our family courts, often with disastrous legal results. They wind up in the Land of Gender Bias, where they are systematically stripped of their rights, often without the slightest idea of why it is happening to them." "If you think the mother-father disparity is outrageous, consider the sexual abuse syndrome, and how it affects visitation and custody disputes. Here, the judicial impotence and chronic blindness to men's rights would appall you." "Courts are supposed to approach cases of child custody, support payments, and visitation rights in what we call a gender-neutral posture. It sounds fair, and it is fair. But it is a myth. Judges are not enforcing these gender laws fairly, and few seem to care." "We will see more of these problems until fathers organize to demand fairer treatment. So get it together dads: You have a legitimate legal beef and you need to make this a public issue. Right now the courts don't hear you." 1996, ISBN: 0060173211, Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining
The Divorced Dad Dilemma, by Gerald S. Mayer. Mayer makes a worthy addition to the ranks of advice books for men. Statistically, men are less likely to get custody of their children after a divorce, and even a committed father faces difficulty in maintaining healthy relations with his children after a divorce. Mayer counsels on dealing with such emotional problems fathers experience as guilt, anxiety, and jealousy, and he proffers tips on handling more mundane concerns, such as access, communication, and time allotment. He emphasizes dealing with situations rationally rather than giving in to sorrow and depression, and his tone is that of an understanding friend who has been there and has the strengths learned from his experience to offer the newly divorced dad. Because of its strategies for keeping the divorced father's emotions on an even keel as well as its advice on parenting, Mayer's effort is sure to be of great value to many readers. The Divorced Dad Dilemma
Child / Family Issues - Tools to help minimize the impact of divorce on both you and your children...
The Best Interests of the Child: The least detrimental alternative, by Joseph Goldstein, Albert Solnit, Sonja Goldstein and Anna Freud. Incorporates material from Beyond the Best Interests of the Child (1973, 1979), Before the Best Interests of the Child (1979), and In the Best Interests of the Child (1986). The authors conclude that continuity of care--continuity of a child's relationship with his or her adult caregiver--is a universal essential to the child's well-being. They stress that minimizing intrusions by the law is paramount to safeguarding the child's growth and development. A guide for people charged with the protection of children in the legal system advises that people should use Anna Freud's counsel to "put yourself in a child's place" in order to do the best to safeguard a child's well-being. The Best Interests of the Child
Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children from Parental Alienation, by Douglas Darnall. Divorce Casualties adds a new dimension to the work that already exists on the topic of parental alienation. Parental alienation involves the phenomenon of parents subjecting their ex-spouse to oftentimes-unwarranted ridicule and rejection at the hands of their own children. The children, in essence, become pawns in a full-scale war launched by the disgruntled, jealous, or possibly vengeful ex-spouse/parent. The unfortunate and extremely damaging events associated with parental alienation have the potential to effectively sever the ex-spouse's relationship with their children, while permanently altering the developmental processes of the children who are entrenched in this unhealthy context. Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children From Parental Alienation
Rebuilding: When your relationship ends, by Bruce Fisher & Robert Alberti. This revised, updated third edition of the international bestseller is built on more than two decades of research and practice, incorporating feedback and life experiences of hundreds of thousands of divorced men and women who have read and used REBUILDING. This book has spawned thousands of divorce recovery groups in the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Finland and elsewhere. Fisher's thorough understanding and presentation of the nineteen-stage divorce recovery process is remarkable. This new edition, revised and updated with the assistance of psychologist and marriage and family therapist Dr. Robert Alberti, continues Bruce's tradition of straight-to-the-heart response to the needs of those who are divorcing or divorced. Rebuilding Workbook: When Your Relationship Ends
Child Custody: Building Parenting Agreements That Work (3rd Ed), by Mimi E. Lyster. This book is very helpful in explaining the practical terms of raising a child or children after divorce. The worksheets are good for determining practical provisions to include in any parenting agreement. This book also features some good "fill in the blank" samples of a parenting agreements, although many of them are similar to the parenting plans available for free here on the SPARC site. Building a Parenting Agreement That Works
Getting Apart Together: The couple's guide to a fair divorce or separation, by Martin A Kranitz. Guess which couple got more of what they wanted: Charles and Charltte, who worked out a negotiated settlement together? Of John and Joyce, who let the court settle their differences? Couples who want to negotiate their own divorce settlements now have a comprehensive self-help guide, complete with ground rules, agendas for discussion, sample forms, and options for divorce mediation without "bloodshed." Not quite a "do-it-yourself" manual - you'll still need an attorney - but packed with real couple examples of successful agreements on Co-Parenting, Custody, Financial Support, College Planning, Property, Insurance, Taxes...An organized, thorough guide to the important issues for every separating couple, and an effective aid for those who seek professional mediation. "Your chances of getting the outcome you want are best when you take control of the decision-making process," says the author. Getting Apart Together
Caught in the Middle: Protecting the Children of High-Conflict Divorce by Carla B. Garrity and Mitchell A. Baris Sad to say, but this book is needed given the continuing high divorce rate and the hard feelings that so often result from divorce--not to mention the impulse of parents to get back at their ex-spouses. Child psychologists Garrity and Baris want to help vengeful parents "work out the dynamics of their conflicts," as well as to help the affected kids. They succeed by discussing how children cope with conflict according to their ages; and by demonstrating how to create, then implement, a positive parenting plan. Caught in the Middle: Protecting the Children of High-Conflict Divorce
Divorced Fathers: Reconstructing a quality of life, by Thomas Oakland. "This book goes well beyond explaining the reasons why fathers get divorced. It deals with issues relating to how to cope, how to plan your future, etc." Divorced Fathers: Reconstructing a Quality Life
Mom's House, Dad's House: Making two homes for your child., by Isolina Ricci. Can children flourish in any custody situation? If their parents read this revision to the original 1980 edition, the answer is "Yes!" This unique ground-breaking classic, which has become the standard for two generations of parents, is again breaking new ground-revised, updated and expanded, with examples, self-tests, checklists and guidelines. This comprehensive guide looks anew at the needs of all concerned with even more creative options and commonsense advice in the legal, emotional and practical realites of creating two happy and stable homes for children. Mom's House, Dad's House: Making Two Homes for Your Child
Helping Children Survive Divorce: What to Expect; How to Help, by Archibald D. Hart Helping Children Survive Divorce provides specific ways to help children cope with the psychological, social, and spiritual difficulties surrounding their parents' divorce including minimizing damage to children, common mistakes made by divorced parents, how to handle guilt, essential steps to help your child cope with depression and anger, ensuring your child's healthy post divorce development, four issues that must be dealt with in the event of remarriage, do's and don'ts for successfully building a blended family. Psychologist Archibald Hart (and the child of parents who divorced when he was 12) urges parents to recognize that "divorce is not the neutral the child will get over it quickly life event that many would have us believe". But it doesn't have to cause harsh consequences that plague children all their lives. With encouraging insights and specific steps, outlined in friendly heart-to-heart language, Helping Children Survive Divorce is essential reading for divorcing parents. Helping Children Survive Divorce
Parenting After Divorce: A guide to resolving conflicts and meeting your children's needs, by Philip Stahl. Here at last is a realistic perspective on divorce and its effects on children. PARENTING AFTER DIVORCE features knowledgeable advice from an expert custody evaluator. Packed with real-world examples, this book avoids idealistic assumptions, and offers practical help from divorcing parents, custody evaluators, family court counselors, marriage and family therapists, and others interested in the well-being of children. Dr. Stahl's advice will help you avoid the dozen most common mistakes that divorcing parents make -- and spare you the emotional and financial damage they can cost you and your children. His 30-point "sample parenting plan" sets a new standard for families who want to bring order out of the usual chaos of parenting after divorce. The chapter, "What Your Kids Really Think," is by itself worth the price of the book. Parenting After Divorce
101 Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce, by Barbara Walton. A fact-filled meditative guide to getting through the process of divorce. Holds the reader's hand through the maze, mystery and mire of divorce, custody, mental health issues, child support, property settlement, attorneys, court procedures, and more. Each brief and incisive "instruction" offers hope, encouragement, and authoritative guidance from a practicing divorce attorney who has "been there" hundreds of times. An essential real-time companion for those going through divorce. Practical, helpful exercises, "how-to" procedures; Expert guidance; Combines professional expertise with personal experience; Brief, readable, warm and friendly style. 101 Little Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce
50 Ways to Love Your Leaver: Getting on with your life after the breakup, by Dwight Webb. Be aware that in all matters dealing with your former mate, your own attitude will have the most fundamental effect on your relationship. It will effect everything about the motives and outcomes of your communication. Don't shoot yourself in the foot or otherwise sabotage yourself because your angry feelings are getting in the way. Letting anger dominate your life is like letting the tail wag the dog. 50 Ways to Love Your Leaver
Strategy / Counter-Strategy - Make sure you read up on the tactics your ex may use...