Today’s post is a book review of Children of Divorce: A Practical Guide for Parents, Therapists, Attorneys, and Judges (2d ed.) The authors are Dr. Bill Bernet and Judge Don Ash. Dr. Bernet is a forensic psychiatrist at Vanderbilt who is experienced in performing child custody evaluations in contested cases. Judge Ash is a prominent family law judge in Tennessee and was instrumental in revamping Tennessee’s child custody laws in the late 1990’s. Judge Ash more or less singlehandedly wrote the Tennessee Parenting Plan form. Because of the authors’ collective experience in Tennessee litigation, the book tends to have a subtle focus on issues specific to Tennessee law and procedure.
When I first read the book when it came out in 2007, I was so impressed that I bought a dozen copies to loan to my clients as they contemplate the issues presented in a Parenting Plan. The feedback from my clients has been overwhelmingly positive. Dr. Bernet tends to present the “science” of the issues, discussing what current research shows is best for children. Judge Ash focuses more on the practical side, providing his personal observations about what tends to work best based on his extensive experience in the courtroom. This combination of information and insight educates my clients such that when they sit down with me to draft their Parenting Plan, they are starting from a place of great knowledge.
I highly recommend that all divorcing parents read this book before drafting or revising a Parenting Plan.