Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book Review - A Promise to Ourselves: Fatherhood, Divorce, and Family Law

Today's post is a guest book review.  Meaning that I actually have not read this book even though it is on my "to read" list.  Instead, a supportive friend offered to read the book and write down her opinion of it and I jumped at the chance to have 1.  a guest contributor and 2. someone else's opinion.

The book is called A Promise to Ourselves:  Fatherhood, Divorce, and Family Law.  It was written by Alec Baldwin.  In case you aren't familiar with why Alec Baldwin would be writing about this topic, I suggest you read up on his personal struggles with the biased family law court system here

So, without further commentary - Thank you, Janet, for your book review:

A Promise to Ourselves: Fatherhood, Divorce, and Family Law

In A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce, Alec Baldwin puts a celebrity face on dirty secrets which few know, and even fewer understand, that comprise America's current family law system. Contorted to favor custodial parents--usually women--and structured to perpetuate expensive, legal conflict, the only winners in ongoing custodial wars are the paid professionals associated with the case. The biggest losers are children over which wars are being fought, followed by non-custodial parents. Hopeful non-custodial parents usually enter the family court system, perhaps having heard a whiff of what hell might be coming, confident that decisions are made based on the facts of the case, fairness and what is best for the child. A Promise to Ourselves dispels that naivete and then breaks it all down.

Mr. Baldwin uses anecdotes of his own experience and that of other non-custodial parents--usually men--to expose the systemic dysfunction that allows one parent to hold a child hostage from the child's other parent, often beggaring the non-custodial parent in the process. However, these memoirs are much more than a cathartic exercise. Supported by studies, and an expert interview, Mr. Baldwin goes deeper to address Parental Alienation Syndrome and provide strategic advice to non-custodial parents fighting for their child's fundamental right and developmental need to have healthy relationships with both parents.

It's all spelled out: well-funded legal opponents having no incentive to seek win-win solutions; custodial parents who violate court orders with impunity; courts that do not enforce their own orders or effectively penalize parents that violate orders; courts that do not closely evaluate testimony that is contradictory, reflecting a conflict of interest, or containing an obvious lie when it favors custodial parents; custodial parents that actively alienate their children from their non-custodial parents; parents that rely on false abuse charges as a legal strategy and more.

I recommend this book to anyone, but especially to non-custodial parents who are entering or are currently in the family court system. I couldn't put it down, reading it in a day, because it was so truthful and resonated so well with experiences that are known to me. It contains all of the wisdom that comes from hindsight and is the guidebook that many non-custodial parents wish they had at the beginning of their legal journeys

1 comment:

  1. I love Alec Baldwin as an actor, he'd also probably be lots of fun as a friend. However he is most famous for an insane temper, and sometimes hair raising parenting choices. Has everyone forgotten this? How can you have a healthy parenting relationship with someone who is often not healthy, in fact, downright scary???