Mandatory Divorce Reading

Aug 8, 2012 by

Books can make news for many different reasons these days and the best-seller racks are always full of new and interesting titles to choose from, but it is not often that books make news because they are mandatory reading. Especially not books on parenting, divorce and family communication, however a judge in Canada recently ordered a couple with two kids to do exactly that.

Ontario Superior Court Justice David Price found himself presiding over the case of a couple who got married in 1998 and separated in 2006, but continued an ongoing battle over custody, finances and visitation. Amid claims of wrong-doing from both sides it became clear that perhaps something beyond just professional counseling was in order and the judge ordered the couple to read and report on the required books (separately of course). Judge Price was quoted as saying, “The books may improve their ability to communicate and resolve some of the issues that are troubling them.”

In the unusual court order, the couple was given until November 30th to read the books and provide proof in the form of a one-page written summary of each book. The summaries must detail at least one insight learned from each book, as well as at least one future strategy that can be utilized.

If the required books are powerful enough to soothe a dysfunctional divorce case, they must be some pretty good reading. After all, it’s not every day that a family law judge will give you a personally selected reading list. For couples currently in troubled marriages that have not yet reached the boiling point, the judge’s book recommendations might carry even more weight.

The three books Judge Price recommended are “Difficult Conversations,” by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen; “Parenting after Divorce,” by Philip M. Stahl; and “Parenting from the Inside Out,” by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell.


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