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Divorce and Co-parenting

A Support Guide for the Modern Family

Elissa P. Benedek, M.D., and Samantha A. Huettner, J.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-61537-220-1
  • Item #37220

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Some of the statistics are well known, if still jarring: One of two marriages contracted will end in divorce. More than a million children each year experience their parents' divorce. Other figures are less publicized: Diagnosable psychological problems occur in 30%–40% percent of individuals whose parents divorce—a rate three times higher than that for individuals whose families remain together. Divorce and Co-parenting explores the impact of divorce on adolescents and young adults, drawing on anecdotes from the authors' own medical and law practices to illustrate how parents' decision-making can powerfully impact their children's well-being before, during, and after a divorce—even into adulthood.

This volume, a revised edition of How to Help Your Children Overcome Your Divorce—originally published in the 1990s—is updated to reflect significant changes in family dynamics, technology and social media, and the matrimonial legal landscape over the past 30 years.

This guide offers new methods of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration, collaborative law, and parenting coordinators, as it addresses a wide variety of family situations, such as the following:

  • Uninvolved or absent noncustodial parents
  • Parents with mental illness
  • Incarcerated parents
  • LGBTQ parents or children
  • Sexually or physically abused children

Although written to be a multidisciplinary resource for professionals in many settings—among them, psychiatrists, social workers, pediatricians, and attorneys—Divorce and Co-Parenting is written in an accessible, easily digestible style. This makes the book applicable for parents, grandparents, teachers, and even adolescents looking for practical information on mitigating the effects of divorce on the family.


  • Contributors
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. It's a Different World Now
  • Chapter 2. The Decision to Divorce: Putting Children First
  • Chapter 3. How to Tell Your Children About Your Divorce
  • Chapter 4. Minimizing the Effects of the Legal Process on Your Children
  • Chapter 5. Impact of Divorce on Children
  • Chapter 6. Impact of Divorce on Parenting
  • Chapter 7. Parenting Time and Related Issues
  • Chapter 8. Special Parenting Issues
  • Chapter 9. Parenting Techniques to Build Your Child's Self-Esteem
  • Chapter 10. Discipline as Guide and Teacher
  • Chapter 11. Making Use of Others' Support
  • Chapter 12. Danger Signals: When Is Professional Help Needed?
  • Chapter 13. Adjusting to Life in a Stepfamily
  • Chapter 14. Questions and Answers
  • Chapter 15. Additional Resources and Helpful Organizations for Divorced Parents
  • Index

About the Authors

Elissa P. Benedek, M.D., is an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the University of Michigan; and is in private practice in adult, child, and forensic psychiatry in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Samantha A. Huettner, J.D., is an attorney and mediator at Metzger Rosta, LLP in Noblesville, Indiana.

A terrific book—it covers the full range of problems divorcing parents face, from how to tell children a divorce is coming, through the divorce process, to managing the myriad of difficulties that often follow. The book lays out sophisticated concepts in easy-to-understand language with lots of examples pulled from the authors' years of professional experience. Divorced and divorcing parents will find this book full of wise advice; their children will benefit enormously when their parents follow it. Lawyers and therapists working with divorcing families should routinely recommend this book to their clients.—Peter Ash, M.D., Professor and Director, Psychiatry and Law Service, Emory University

Written in clear, jargon-free language, Divorce and Co-parenting: A Support Guide for the Modern Family offers a wise and practical approach to making sense of and minimizing—the impact of divorce in the modern era. Dr. Benedek, an expert on families and divorce, provides parents with a clear roadmap for helping themselves and their children manage the many challenges of a breakup and its aftermath. She offers clinicians a helpful guide to intervening with children, parents, and families navigating potentially treacherous waters. The book is remarkable in the wide range of topics it usefully addresses, including such important contemporary matters as collaborative divorce, LGBT parents and children, and the role of grandparents in post-divorce families.—Joshua Ehrlich, Ph.D., Author, Divorce and Loss: Helping Adults and Children Mourn When a Marriage Comes Apart

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