Recommended Books

For Parties Going Through a Divorce

This list of books contains recommendations for men and women who find themselves involved in the family court system.  The books address a variety of topics including how to survive the divorce process and to how to move forward after the divorce if final. There are also recommended books for children whose parents are going through a divorce.  The list contains books for children of all ages. Finally, there are a few recommended books about parenting that are particularly useful to parents embroiled in a custody battle or parents who want to improve their skills as a single parent.  The list is not comprehensive, and we welcome new book recommendations and book reviews to add to this site.

Marriage and Divorce Law in South Carolina: A Layperson’s Guide
Roy T. Stuckey

This is an overview of South Carolina Family Law written specifically for lay people.

Crazy Time:  Surviving Divorce & Building a New Life
Abigail Trafford

This is a classic book that has been recognized for more than 16 years as the essential guidebook to survive a divorce.  Trafford is compassionate, funny, articulate and ever so savvy about the “crud” people experience when divorcing their spouse.

When the Vow Breaks: A Survival and Recovery Guide for Christians Facing Divorce
Joseph Warren Kniskern

Written by a male, Christian, real estate attorney, this powerful book helps Christians if they find themselves reluctantly divorcing and how to handle the impact upon their faith, find the ability to forgive their spouse and move forward with their lives.

Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy
Frank Pittman

This is a powerful book if infidelity is an element of your divorce.  Frank Pittman describes the many reasons people cheat on their spouse.  Reading this book does not excuse a wandering spouse’s behavior, but the book does help many better understand why their spouse strayed and in some cases why a spouse’s cheating is more a symptom of problems in the marriage and not a basis to file an action for a divorce.

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it andhow to respond
Patricia Evans

This book helps people who have tolerated verbal abuse in their marriage understand how such behavior negatively impacts their marriage; why they may have accepted such behavior in the past; and how those who have tolerated such abuse can break free from it.

The Good Divorce
Constance R. Ahrons

Considered a landmark, longitudinal study of post divorce families, this book continues to provide insight into the lasting effects of divorce. Some criticize it for “promoting divorce;” however, the goal is to demonstrate that a good divorce is sometimes better for the family than a bad marriage.

Surviving Separation and Divorce:  How to Keep Going When You Really Don’t Want To
Sharon Marshall

This book is geared toward women who grieve over the shock of separation and/or divorce.  It also provides practical guidance and hope beyond the divorce.

You Gotta Keep Dancin’:  In the Midst of Life’s Hurts You Can Choose Joy!
Tim Hansel

Hansel’s biography gives a poignant account about his life and how he managed to find joy in the midst of unbearable, constant physical pain through his faith in God.

How to Avoid the Divorce from Hell and Dance together at Your Daughter’s Wedding
M. Sue Talla

Sue Talla is a successful divorce lawyer in California who wrote this very readable, compassionate, thoughtful book based upon her experience representing family court clients.

What Every Woman Should Know About Divorce and Custody:  Judges, Lawyers, and Therapists Share Winning Strategies on How to Keep the Kids, the Cash, and Your Sanity
Gayle Rosenwald Smith, J.D., and Sally Abrahms

This is an extraordinarily sensible, sensitive, and pragmatic book that is useful for both men and women.

Cutting Loose:  Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well
Ashton Applewhite

This book is written for women who live with abusive men.

Mom’s House, Dad’s House:  A Complete Guide for Parents Who are Separated, Divorced, or Living Apart
Isolina Ricci

Mom’s House, Dad’s House is a classic that may not have started the concept of joint custody and shared parenting, but this book certainly put the concept on the map.

 

Books for Children – Divorce

Young Children

Mama and Daddy Bear’s Divorce
Cornelia Maude Spelman

This book is for younger children, and one that parents should read aloud to their children. It discusses how to handle two home situations. The main character is a strong young girl and her character helps provide encouragement for young children whose parentes are currently involved in a divorce.

Dinosaurs Divorce
Lauren e Krasny and Mark Brown

Great book to help explain divorce to children ages 4-9. This book can also be used as a guide for the entire family. It explains times that children may struggle during the divorce. It is colorful and attractive for young children, and one of the best aspects of the book is the way it targets children’s emotions. It talks about the fact that it is ok to cry and even ok to be angry.

Two Homes
Claire Masurel

This book has amazing illustrations and provides a good explanation about how children can adapt to living in two homes.  It is most appropriate for very young children or beginning readers.  The main character, Alex, has two of everything, one at mommy’s and one at daddy’s. This is great because in the end, it states that both parents love him regardless of whose time it is with him.

Arthur and the 1,001 Dads
Marc Tolon Brown

A great book for young children! We see the familiar Arthur character and his friend who does not have a relationship with his father. They all attend a Father’s Day Picnic, but they must find a substitute father for Arthur’s friend. It illustrates to children how to be a friend of someone whose parents may be divorced and explains that fathers can come in many packages, and that is ok.

Help Me Understand:  A Child’s Book About Divorce
Amy Ross Munford

A Christian book written for the young child whose parents are divorcing.

Children Ages 7-12

Ginny Morris and Mom’s House, Dad’s House
Mary Collins Gallager

This book is appropriate for children ages 8-12. It is about a little girl who has two homes and two of everything. She battles practical problems related to her parent’s divorce, like her dad not showing up on Sundays and her Mom being mad. When you read the book, you can visualize the situations and understand them from the child’s perspective. This book is suitable for children who are at an independent reading level.

Amber Brown Goes Forth
Paula Danzinger

This book is from a series of books about Amber Brown. This series is designed for girls in 2nd-4th grade. Amber is faced with many divorce-related issues, like sharing holidays etc. This book is appropriate for older, independent readers.  Overall it provides real situations that Amber faces as a nine year old girl who is constantly having to experience changes emotionally and physically.

The Day My Mother Left
James Prosek

This book is about a nine year old boy who is dealing with the emotional pain of his parents’ divorce. His mother leaves to live with another man, and his father is depressed. He feels like he is in the middle of his parents’ disputes and is trying to survive the battle. This story is very real – although emotional – and it shows how children can blame themselves for a divorce. In the end, the child finds a way to stay strong for himself and his family.

Kaline Katter master’s Tree House
Haven Kimmel

This book is suitable for ages 7-12. The book is about a young boy named Kaline whose parents are experiencing a rough divorce. His father has disappeared and his mother is struggling to keep things under control. He has 100 dogs in his imaginary tree house that help keep him happy. He learns to cope with the struggles of being an outcast at school and his home life being so difficult.

Help! A Girl’s Absolutely Indispensable Guide to Divorce and Stepfamilies
Nancy Holyoke

This book is intended for grades 4 – 8, and it provides advice directly from girls who have experienced their parents’ divorce. The main purpose of the book is to explain that it is not the child’s fault. In the end the book has quizzes and cartoons to engage the child.

It’s Not the End of the World
Judy Blume

Twelve-year-old Karen’s parents are about to be divorced, and she feels she must get them back together again, but ultimately, she learns that they may be better apart.

Don’t Make Me Smile
Barbara Park

A junior high school age boy’s parents plan to get a divorce.  He tries to bring them back together, and it beautifully expresses the wide range of feelings the child of divorce experiences.

Taking Sides
Norma Klein

Twelve-year-old Nell adjusts to life with her father and five-year-old brother and weekends with her mom after her parents’ divorce.  When her father becomes seriously ill, Nell must deal with new fears, new problems, and living with her mom and friend.

My Parents are Divorced, Too: A Book for Kids by Kids
Jan Blackstone-Ford

This book is written by three children who are related through their parent’s marriages and remarriages. They successfully completed the blending of a family and discuss how to deal with “new” siblings and family situations. It explains the effects of a divorce upon a child from a child’s perspective, and it provides a realistic approach to a serious situation.

Don’t Fall Apart on Saturday’s: The Children’s Divorce-Survival Book
Norma Klein

This book is a guide for parents and children together. This book explains how to manage and deal with the many changes brought about by divorce. It is easy to read and easy to understand. The book tries to help children understand the situation and eliminate any guilt they may feel over their parents’ divorce and timesharing.

What Makes Me Feel This Way?
Eda LeShan

This book helps children identify and explore their feelings about their parent’s divorce.

Things Won’t Be the Same
Kathryn Ewing

Marcy’s mom remarries, and Marcy must learn to accept a new house, a new school, and a new father.  Marcy questions whether it is better to live with her own father, her young stepmother and their son Joey.

 

Teenagers

Gateway
Lee Robinson

My mentor and the lawyer who first taught me how to practice Family Law wrote this gritty, thought-provoking and highly entertaining book.  It is set in Charleston, and while it is written for teenagers, adults will also enjoy reading about a couple who divorces in the Holy City.

How it Feels When Parents Divorce
Jill Krementz

Poignant and honest pictures and stories of children of divorce (ages 7-17) told in their own words.

Healing the Hurt, Help for Teenagers Whose Parents Are Divorced
Mildred Tickfer

An excellent Christian book for teens who are struggling with their parents’ divorce.

Divorce is Not the End of the World:  Zoe’s and Evan’s Coping Guide for Kids
Zoe and Evan Stern

Great for ‘preen to teenagers.’  It is written by two children about their feelings and reactions during their parent’s divorce in a manner that other children can understand and relate to.  Parents should also read this book.

Dear Mr. Henshaw
Beverly Cleary

This is a compelling novel suitable for older children. It is a chapter book that follows a young boy’s feelings about his parent’s divorce. The story is told as the boy writes to his favorite author about his emotions. He explains what it is like to go to a new school and start over. It also illustrates how the young boy struggles to find his new place in the world. The connection with the author allows the boy to regain his respect for his family and himself.

 

After The Divorce

After Your Divorce: Creating the Good Life on Your Own
Cynthia Macgregor and Robert E. Alberti

This is a good book to help parties to start the new chapter in their lives after their marriage ends.  This book will teach you ways to begin a new life individually without feeling alone. It also provides practical advice for many new “single” situations.

Calling it Quits: Late Life Divorce and Starting Over
Deirdre Blair

This book is a collection of stories about husbands and wives who choose to end long marriages. It also includes stories of adult children of late-life divorces and how their parents’ divorce affects them even though they are adults and no longer living at home with their parents.

Hope for the Separated
Gary D. Chapman

This book teaches that life does not end after divorce. It reassures the reader that there is hope to heal a broken relationship.

When He Leaves: Choosing to Live, Love, and Laugh Again
Kari West and Noelle Quinn

This book is for women who fear they “may never love again” after their marriage ends. The book provides encouragement and inspiration.

 

Parenting Books – Divorce

Ex-Etiquette for Parents
Jann Blackstone-Ford and Sharyl Jupe

This is written by someone who has lived it! Blackstone-Ford is a divorce and step-family mediator who married Jupe’s first husband. They tackle all kinds of topics including transitions between houses, public event behavior, changing your vocabulary so it is more positive and how to introduce a new partner to your ex and the children. A book like this was long overdue. The authors really encourage people to be a positive role models for the children during this difficult process.

Divorce and New Beginnings: A Complete Guide to Solo Parenting, Co-Parenting, and Stepfamilies
Genevieve Clapp

This book is specifically designed to teach you how to overcome the challenging parenting aspects of a divorce. It is also great to help parents move away from focusing on the divorce and how to get on with your life.

Making Up the Differences:  Help for Single Parents with Teenagers
George Alan Rekers & Jordan J. Swihart

A Christian-based book that pinpoints teenagers’ specific needs and the struggles a single parent of a teenager faces trying to raise the teenager without the other parent’s help at home.  It also addresses root causes of difficulties and offers clear Christian-centered advice to strengthen parent-child relationships.

Divorced Kids:  What You Need to Know to Help Kids Survive a Divorce
Laurene Johnson & George Rosenfel

A very readable book that successfully addresses many areas of parenting specific to divorce and provides an excellent way of practical solutions to everyday problems as well as long-term struggles.

Surviving the Break-Up:  How Children and Parents Cope with Divorce
Judith S. Wallerstein & Joan Berlin Kelly

The “classic” book on divorce documents the first major scientific study of the immediate and long range effects of divorce (to five years post-divorce).

Second Chances:  Men, Women and Children a Decade After Divorce
Judith S. Wallerstein & Joan Kelly

This book is based on Dr. Wallerstein’s 10 year study of 60 middle class families who experienced divorce and is a novelistic account of the family’s struggles.

Annie Stories
Doris Brett

These are stories designed to calm the fears of children who experience an array of childhood challenges, such as nightmares, starting school, birth of siblings and coping with divorce or the death of a loved one.  Dr. Brett shows parents how to adapt each story to the specific needs of their own children.

My Single Mom Life
Angela Thomas

A very practical book for single moms. This book gives sound, spiritually based advice to deal with situations from dating to discipline and everything in between. It is an easy read that will leave you laughing.

Your Divorce Advisor
Diana Mercer

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the Little, Gilman-Tepper & Batley law firm of Albuquerque, New Mexico and Rob Robertson, Esq, of Austin, Texas for contributing their valuable insight into creating this list.

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