A good divorce lawyer is essential; good books on divorce are vital
Divorce is tough. Our five divorce attorneys know that well. Nothing is more important than family and friends that can listen and offer practical support. On the other hand, there are many aspects of divorce where specific expertise can help. At GSJones Law Group we have five divorce lawyers who guide you steadily and empathetically through the legal process. We are not, however, child development experts. Or couples counselors, although we often can do a lot to help you and your spouse separate with less rancor.
Here are a few books on divorce that others who have gone through divorce found helpful.
You can choose from a vast number of books to help you deal with your emotions, both old and new. Here are a few to get you started.
Making the decision to divorce
Let’s start with a book to help you decide whether or not to divorce, Too Good to Leave to Bad to Stay, A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping You Decide Whether to Stay in or Get Out of Your Relationship, Mira Kirshenbaum. Use the 36 diagnostic questions to help you make the fateful decision. The author is the clinical director of Chestnut Hill Institute, a psychotherapy clinic that uses the latest research.
Another research-based book, What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal, John Gottman and Nan Silver, lays out the elements of lasting love and shows you how to identify signs, behaviors, and attitudes that indicate a fraying relationship. It also provides strategies for repairing what may seem lost or broken.
Books on divorce
In print for 35 years, you may want to start with this classic in its 35th-anniversary edition: Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends, Bruce Fisher, Robert Alberti, and Virginia Satir. It provides a 19-step process for rebuilding your life after divorce. From amazon.com: “…this book offers just the right balance of shoulder-to-cry-on and kick-in-the-pants self-help!”
The aptly named Crazy Time: Surviving Divorce and Building a New Life, Abigail Trafford, helps you understand your experiences as you weather the turmoil. The latest edition contains the most up-to-date research on the personal and economic effects of divorce. The new edition also adds a section on becoming single again in the age of the Internet.
Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a catalyst for an extraordinary life, Debbie Ford, offers Seven Spiritual Laws: acceptance, surrender, divine guidance, responsibility, choice, forgiveness and creation. Based in Jungian psychology, you may find this book most helpful if you use a 12-step program or are familiar with A Course in Miracles.
How to Survive the Loss of a Love, Peter McWilliams, Harold H. Bloomfield, & Melba Colgrove, has stood the test of time. It provides comfort and recommendations in an easy-to-read format.
Books on domestic violence and other high conflict divorces
Lundy Bancroft, who counsels abusive men, offers insight into the thinking and emotions of abusers in Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men. He also gives advice on how to safely escape from abusive relationships.
Personal accounts of divorce
Hollywood screenwriter Chris Easterly’s account of his divorce in Falling Forward: A Man’s Memoir of Divorce explores his emotional journey from discovering his wife’s affair to eventual healing. It helps affirm the fact that you will survive.
Another professional writer offers a women’s account in Split: A Memoir of Divorce by Suzanne Finnamore. Goodreads: “Prescriptive yet full of pragmatic advice, insight and black humor, Split is a finely wrought tourniquet for a broken union and its attendant trauma.”
Your children and divorce
The Co-Parents’ Handbook: Raising Well-Adjusted, Resilient, and Resourceful Kids in a Two-Home Family from Little Ones to Young Adults, Karen Bonnell, takes a how-to approach to guiding you and your ex-spouse through the challenges of co-parenting.
If co-parenting isn’t working, check out Joint Custody with a Jerk: Raising a Child with an Uncooperative Ex- A Hands-on, Practical Guide to Communicating with a Difficult Ex-Spouse, Julie Ross, M.A., & Julie Corcoran. It offers easy-to-use communication techniques for dealing with difficult exes in parenting.
When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse, Lundy Bancroft, provides advice for abused parents on protecting their children, as well as helping them heal and feel good about themselves. In addition, it provides tips about custody.
It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear: A Read-Together Book for Parents and Young Children During Divorce, Vicki Lansky, is designed for children who have both parents active in their lives. In addition to a read aloud story, it also offers advice to parents on being a successful co-parent.
Two Homes, Claire Masurel is for very young children. Here’s a sample: “At Mommy’s house, Alex has a soft chair. At Daddy’s house, Alex has a rocking chair. In each home, Alex also has a special bedroom and lots of friends to play with.”
On the same topic as Two Homes for a slightly older child, Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child’s Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce, Tamara Schmitz
By the estimable Fred Rogers Let’s Talk About It: Divorce (Mr. Rogers) helps children through the third grade identify and talk about their feelings.
It’s Not the End of the World by Judy Blume – a classic yet still relevant novel that follows 11-year-old Karen as her parents’ divorce.
Sixteenth on amazon.com’s list of most popular books on divorce is Revelations of Divine Love by the 14th-century Christian mystic Julian of Norwich. What could an old hermit know about going through a divorce? Why would she speak to the hearts of people going through one of the saddest, toughest periods of their lives? Well, it takes spiritual grounding to be strong and resilient. And nothing demands strength and resiliency like divorce.
Maybe 600-year-old Christian mysticism isn’t your cup of tea. How about modern Buddhist lovingkindness meditation? One of the foremost American Buddhist teachers, Sharon Salzberg, recently released a book, called Real Love. Real Love is a creative toolkit of mindfulness exercises and meditation techniques that help you to truly engage with your present experience and create deeper love relationships with yourself, friends and family, and with life itself.
Even older than Julian of Norwich is the Sufi poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī. His 800th birth anniversary was celebrated all over the world. While not a book on divorce, love is a frequent topic of his religious poetry. The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks, is a great way to start. It is full of both the ecstasy and the agony of human and spiritual love. Or perhaps, you want to steer away from love and concentrate on your own inner life. Rumi’s Little Book of Life might be just what you need.
Most Christian denominations have daily devotion guides. If you have not been using one, now might be a good time to start. Your pastor will be happy to help you find the right one.
If you’re looking for a good divorce lawyer in Port Orchard and Kitsap County, check out our Divorce and Family Law Attorney page.