A review of "The Visitation Handbook" by Brette McWhorter Sember. ISBN: 1-57248-192-7, $18.95, 256pg, softbound.
The Visitation Handbook has some excellent tips and tools for managing parenting issues after divorce. As many divorced people will tell you, "Even after the divorce is over, it ain't over." Getting through the divorce itself is one thing- living with the results for the next 20, 30, or even 50 years is another entirely. Basically, you trade one set of old, familiar problems for a set of new and more challenging problems. This is where books like The Visitation Handbook come to the rescue.The Visitation Handbook is different from most post-divorce books because really two books in a "back-to-back" bound format. One side is written for the non-custodial parent; if you turn the book over you get the side for the custodial parent.
Each half of the book has specific help sections that deal with custody and parenting time issues. Each of the books has the same general sections in common, but written from both custodial and non-custodial perspectives. It's an enlightening experience to read from the other parent's perspective, and to see the advice they're being given. If your relationship with the other parent is generally cooperative, this would be an excellent book to use in creating a neutral 'middle ground' that you can both use to collaborate. Even if your ex-spouse isn't cooperative, this book contains enough useful ideas and techniques to be a worthwhile purchase.
One section of the book deals with a subject rarely covered in other divorce-related guides, and that is the involvement of other people- specifically doctors, relatives, friends, and of course, romantic interests. Although not a lengthy chapter, the information provides very good, albeit condensed, guidelines and suggestions for handling the involvement of third parties.
As part of the chapter, the book suggests having written authorization for each parent to consent to emergency medical care. This is an extremely important, common sense precaution, yet many divorced couples don't think about it. Written authorization for medical care could literally mean the difference between life and death in an emergency. The Visitation Handbook thoughtfully provides a sample form that can be copied and used. Only the most vindictive or controlling custodial parent would refuse to sign such an authorization.
Other sections of The Visitation Handbook cover topics such as communicating with your child, dealing with schedules, rules for the child, dealing with the other parent, and 'special situations'. Each side of the book has 13 chapters, and reading the chapters intended for the other parent can help you gain a better understanding of their perspective. Once you understand the concerns and possible fears they may have, it's easier to be more flexible and cooperative.
Based on price (fair) as well as content (generally useful), we rate The Visitation Handbook as a 4-star resource (on a scale of 1 to 5).