Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Top Fives’ Category

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Top 5 Questions About Spousal Support in Ontario, Canada


Wednesday’s Video Clip: Top 5 Questions About Spousal Support in Ontario, Canada

In this video we review the top 5 questions about spousal support in Ontario, Canada.

Spousal support – which is sometimes called “maintenance” or (especially in the U.S.) “alimony” – is money paid from one spouse to the other after the dissolution of the relationship. The obligation to pay spousal support is a legal one, and may arise either from a marriage, or from a common-law relationship. Either spouse can make a claim for it, provided:

• the spouses have lived together in a “marriage-like relationship” for at least three years; and
• the claim for spousal support is made within one year of couples’ separation.

The obligation for one spouse to pay spousal support to the other does not arise automatically from the fact that the parties had a relationship together (whether formally married or common law). Rather, the spouse who is claiming spousal support must prove an entitlement to it.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Top 5 questions about spousal support in Ontario, Canada


Wednesday’s Video Clip: Top 5 questions about spousal support in Ontario, Canada

In this video we review some of the more common questions about spousal support in Ontario, including:

1) What is spousal support?

Spousal support — which is sometimes called “alimony” — is money paid from one spouse to the other after the dissolution of the relationship. The obligation to pay spousal support is a legal one, and may arise either from a marriage, or from a common-law relationship.

2) What is the legal basis for obtaining spousal support?

The obligation for one spouse to pay spousal support to the other does not arise automatically from the fact that the parties had a relationship together (whether formally married or common law). Rather, the spouse who is claiming spousal support must prove an entitlement to it.

A court may order spousal support, and will set an amount and duration based on various factors that exist between the parties. The jurisdiction for a court to award spousal support comes from either the federal Divorce Act (as part of a divorce order), or from the Ontario Family Law Act.

3) What factors dictate the duration and amount of spousal support?

The determination of how much support a spouse should receive, and for how long, is a complex equation. In making a spousal support order courts consider several factors, including:

• the length of the entire relationship (including time living together before marriage);

• the financial circumstances of each spouse, both during the relationship and
after separation;

• the functions performed by each spouse during the relationship;

• the financial repercussions or detrimental financial effect on one or both spouses of caring for each other or for any children of the relationship; and

• each spouse’s ability to support him or herself.

In some cases one spouse may have suffered a financial loss or disadvantage as result of joint career and lifestyle decisions made during the marriage or relationship (for example the decision to move the family so that a spouse can take a new job, or that the mother will give up her career to stay home and raise the children). A disadvantaged spouse will be entitled to support to compensate him or her for that setback.

There may also be a limit on the duration of the support that one spouse receives from the other, as means of encouraging the recipient spouse to achieve post-separation financial independence as quickly as possible. Alternatively, the order may contain a built-in review mechanism.

Note that there are certain tax consequences relating to spousal support — both from the payor’s and the recipient’s perspective. In short — and provided it is paid pursuant to either a written separation agreement or a court order — it is considered “taxable income” in the hands of the spouse who receives it, and is deductible from the taxable income of the spouse who pays it. These tax ramifications are taken into account when determining the amount of support.

4) How does the spouse’s behaviour affect spousal support entitlement?

Generally speaking, the entitlement to spousal support is not dependent on the spouse’s pre- or post-separation behaviour, morality, or ethical conduct. In other words, a spouse who is otherwise entitled to spousal support after the dissolution of a marriage will not become disentitled because he or she was violent, or because it is later discovered that he or she had an extra-marital affair during the marriage.
Having said that, a court’s determination of the amount and duration of spousal support will hinge upon each party providing forthright, comprehensive financial disclosure to each other. If in making the determination the court feels that one spouse has withheld financial information (e.g. has failed to disclose a source of significant income), the court may impute income to the spouse and award the other spouse his or her support accordingly.

5) What happens if there is a change in circumstances?

As indicated above, the notion of one spouse receiving spousal support from the other is rooted in several concepts and principles, including:

1) the financial disadvantage or dependence that relationship gave rise to must be redressed post-separation; and

2) the ability of the paying spouse to fund the spousal support award must be taken into account.

The amount or duration of spousal support may have to be adjusted if there is significant change in the financial circumstances of either party. This change must be significant, and must not have been foreseen when the separation agreement or the court-ordered spousal support award was made.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Divorced Parents

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Divorced Parents

Many people aren’t fans of making New Year’s resolutions, since the artificially-imposed “fresh start” seems arbitrary and contrived. But no matter what time of year, I think it’s never a bad idea to reflect on our behavior, especially when it is likely to affect our children.

(And for separated and divorced parents, this kind of reflection can never be done too frequently, since the inherent acrimony of the divorce process makes it all-too-easy and tempting to engage in bad behavior often, and all throughout the year).

Here are my suggestions for the Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions.

For the Year 2017, I Resolve To:

1) Celebrate what’s good about my child’s other parent.

Once a relationship dissolves, so it seems do the parents’ respective memories of what drew them together in the first place. Children eventually grow up with their own perspectives on each parent’s character, flaws and attributes; it’s not the place of either parent to point out the flaws of the other, or to taint that process by bad-mouthing the other parent in front of the child. Although this is very common, it is highly damaging to the children. With only a few exceptions, children thrive when they have balanced relationships with both parents.

2) Keep argument and discord to a minimum.

Just as it’s easy to focus on the other parent’s shortcomings, it’s equally easy to get drawn into battle with him or her over every little thing.   Not every single disagreement has to become a full-blown war. It’s important to “pick your battles” if you can. And it bears repeating: Children who see their parents fight are very negatively impacted, particularly young children who may assume that they are somehow to blame.

3) Try to model good conduct and a healthy lifestyle.

New Year’s is often the time that people resolve to quit smoking, lose weight, and rid themselves of many other bad habits and lifestyle choices. This same desire to purge unwanted behaviour should extend to your family’s lifestyle too, since most children view their parents as role models. So, even when living with the practical after-effects of separation and divorce, it’s important to model things like healthy eating, getting adequate sleep, sticking to established routines, being respectful of others’ time and traditions. The list goes on.

4) Be flexible.

Nobody goes into a marriage thinking that it will end in divorce; nobody chooses to become a parent with the idea that will eventually end up having to deal with custody and access schedules, dealing with separate residences, and dividing up summers and holidays. The easiest way to thrive in an adjusted family is to maintain flexibility and (if possible) a good sense of humour.

5) To be happy.

Even when the separation or divorce is not your idea, it’s important for your children to see you living a personally-fulfilled, happy and well-adjusted life to the greatest extent possible. This includes not only spending time with them, but also making time to yourself to pursue your own passions, friendships, and rewarding work. Children will themselves be happiest when they live in a happy home.

Whatever happens to be on your list of New Year’s resolutions this year, from the staff of Russell Alexander, Family Law, we wish you a happy and prosperous 2017!

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

Top 5 Tips for Reducing Divorce Costs

Top 5 Tips for Reducing Divorce Costs

Even in the most routine of Ontario divorces, there are a large number of associated costs: lawyers’ fees, court filing fees, expenses relating to obtaining transcripts and documents, expert reports, and counselling fees. That’s just to name the main ones.

But – if you are smart – there are at least a few ways to minimize some of these costs. Here are my Top 5 tips:

1. Contracts are the Way to Go. The best way to cut down the costs of a contentious divorce, is to try your best not have a contentious divorce in the first place. Cohabitation agreements and separation agreements are the best way for you to try to maximize the likelihood of a smooth, quick, and relatively cheap divorce. They set the course of action and outline the legally-binding mutual expectations of you and your partner as to how to handle finances and assets both during your relationship, and after it ends.

2. Consider the Alternatives to Court. Family Court is not the only way to get disputes resolved. There are several alternatives available, such as mediation, arbitration, and collaborative family law. (Of course, this requires both of you to co-operate, which is not always possible).

3. Try Not to Sweat the Small Stuff. Not every dispute needs to be trotted out before the Family Court. Trivial issues, or disputes driven more by ego than by true disagreement, are often not worth the trouble and especially may not be worth the cost. For example, if you are paying your lawyer to fight for everyday items such as specific pieces of furniture or minor possessions, the “value” of the items can get quickly eclipsed by the time and legal costs needed to do so. In other words: choose your battles wisely, and keep the cost/benefit in mind.

4. Do Some of the Legwork Yourself. Most people are not capable of competently acting as their own lawyer (although many do try, nonetheless). But that doesn’t mean you can’t efficiently do some of the tasks that lawyers and their support staff would otherwise do for you. This can include obtaining and organizing your documents (which will expedite your lawyer’s more focused review), making a start on your own financial statements, and obtaining documents from the Canada Revenue Agency or other government departments.

5. Capitalize on the Things that are Free. There are many good, reliable, and free resources out there. Take advantage of them. These can include the website maintained by the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Social Services, as well as many special-interest websites and resources aimed specifically at Family Law litigants. Using these resources, you can obtain some high-level familiarity with the Ontario and federal legislation and policies (including the Child Support Guidelines, and the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines), and educate yourself on some of the legal processes you are about to embark upon. Familiarize yourself with the reliable information available to help you at least understand, if not actually make a decision on, your various options.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

Top 5 Ways to Make Divorce Easier on Your Kids

top55

Top 5 Ways to Make Divorce Easier on Your Kids

The new year is a time for many people to make resolutions. And while that brand-new gym membership card may sit unused by March (despite the best intentions!), it’s definitely worth putting extra effort into any resolution that may involve your children.

Here are the top five ways to make the divorce process and related transition phases easier for your kids:

1. Vow to keep things as consistent as possible, despite the turmoil.

Kids thrive on routine, rules, and familiarity. While divorce is by definition a disruptive process, try to maintain as much consistency as possible in terms of their day-to-day lives. If your kids are switching homes as part of a shared custody arrangement, try to keep bedtimes and other rules consistent, and allow them to bring their favourite toys, books, teddy bears, and treasured items from home to home.

2. Don’t turn your child into the messenger.

While it may be difficult to choreograph complicated custody and access schedules, medical care, and schooling and extracurricular activities, it remains the parents’ job to communicate to each other directly –without involving the child. Too often a child is directly or implicitly expected to convey information from one parent to the other, and this is never a good idea. For one thing, it places an immense responsibility on the child to give accurate and timely information; it also places the child in a difficult and unhealthy role in terms of being a potential mediator for any disagreements that become a “he-said/she-said” type dispute.

3. Don’t badmouth each other.

On the point of communication, it’s sometimes important for parents to show restraint as well. The inherent acrimony involved in most divorces makes it easy for parents to slip into making disparaging comments about the other. Kids pick up on negative messages both spoken and unspoken – even a silent eye-roll by one parent over frustrating or disappointing news about the other will quickly convey a message of disrespect. Resist the temptation; it can be very damaging.

4. Learn to deal with emotions – both yours, and your child’s.

When a couple divorces, it is common that certain previously-untapped jealousies will arise: one parent may resent that the children seem to prefer being with the other parent more, or may feel jealous that the other parent has moved on to a new relationship quickly. These comparisons between adults are normal human reactions, but children should be scrupulously sheltered from them. Conversely, parents should be deeply sensitive to the emotions that can arise in children when faced with the huge involuntary change in their lives that they are not merely being asked to undergo, but to accept without question or input.

5. Share birthdays and other occasions that are special to the child.

While it may be challenging to do in cases where the divorcing parents are truly challenged to even be in the same room together, parents should consider celebrating a child’s birthday together. Birthdays, school plays and events, and sports distinctions are all about celebrating the child; the ability by the parents to set aside their differences for an hour or two in order to relish a milestone or achievement can be very meaningful to a child.

Need more tips on how to make your divorce easier? Give us a call.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Do Courts Adjust Support for Temporary Income Fluctuations?

 temp

Do Courts Adjust Support for Temporary Income Fluctuations?

The calculation of the amount of child support payable by one parent to the other has been made easier by the Child Support Guidelines, which provide a formula based on income. And, as I’ve written in a post recently Income for Child Support Purposes , “income” is a relatively static number, based primarily on income as reported to the Canada Revenue Agency.

However, unfairness can arise – either to the paying parent or the recipient – when income levels fluctuate unexpectedly throughout the tax year. For example a paying parent’s income may temporarily drop due to illness or other unforeseen cause, to the point where he or she will have markedly less actual income for a period, than the actual income figure on which the child support payments are based.

This kind of income fluctuation was the focus of a recent case before the Ontario court called Simms v. Brown. The parents had joint and shared custody of their children. However, in the past few years and for several extended periods of time the father had been off work for medical reasons. As a result he claimed that his income tended to fluctuate, and when at their lowest he had difficulty meeting his ongoing monthly child support payments.

The father went to court to ask to have his $13,000 in support arrears reduced to zero.

The mother, in contrast, not only resisted the reduction of arrears, but wanted a retroactive adjustment as well as an upward adjustment to his going-forward obligations. She insisted that the father actually earned more than the income that had been used to calculate the Guidelines amounts.

To support this, she provided a chart showing the father’s actual income from 2010 through 2012, versus the income on which the father was ordered to pay support based on the Guidelines. It also showed the point at which the parents’ custody obligations changed to a shared-custody arrangement. For example, for 2010 the mother had sole custody, and the father was paying support based on reported income of $74,000 per year. However, it turned out his actual income for that year was $86,000. The mother was asking for retroactive support of $1,800 for that year, to make up the difference and reflect what he should have been paying. Similarly in 2011, the father paid support based on reported income of $76,000, but his actual income for that year was $106,000 because of a one-time severance retirement package he received.

The mother added that the Director of Family Responsibility Office had refused to enforce the prior support order because it was “too confusing”.

The court considered these figures in great detail. It observed that, generally speaking, it was not realistic that the father’s child support obligations should be re-adjusted anytime there is a short-term change in his income. Rather, for the purposes of calculating support “income” is the amount reflected on Line 150 of the father’s annual Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency. The court also acknowledged that this meant that any short-term changes in income would not be reflected on Line 150, and that realistically any child support order would often be several months behind any temporary changes in the father’s income in any event.

Nonetheless, in this case the court made some complex mathematical adjustments to support; this included an adjustment to account for the fact that, before the parties started their shared parenting arrangement, the mother had sole custody of the child and was legally entitled to receive appropriate child support from the father for that period. The court also streamlined the support amount to take into account various credits, setoffs, adjustments relating to child support and extraordinary expenses, and factored in retroactive support owed by the father as well.

In terms of going-forward, the father advised the court that he was back to earning a full salary of $80,000 per year – but he was planning to make a claim for disability which would once again reduce his income somewhat. The court pointed out that this would mean his final income for 2013 would again be difficult to predict in advance, but it set an amount based on his 2012 income, for the time being.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Simms v. Brown, 2013 ONSC 6854  http://canlii.ca/t/g1qtk

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

How Much Change is Enough? Top Five Things to Know About Varying a Support Orders

 top 52

How Much Change is Enough? Top Five Things to Know About Varying a Support Orders

By definition, negotiated agreements and court orders are designed to bring certainty to the settlement of legal disputes between separating and divorcing couples. Still, several of my previous posts  have involved the question of whether, in light of a pre-existing domestic contract or a court order (for child or spousal support, for example), there has been “material change” in the parties’ circumstances, to the point where the situation is no longer fair.

The “material change” threshold is important: in law, it may justify a court’s interference with the terms of the existing agreement or order, to the point where it can be varied to better suit the new circumstances, or to address a situation that had never been contemplated by the parties or the court in the first place.

In my law practise, the issue comes up most frequently in connection with a desire to change a spousal or child support order, often because the paying former spouse / parent has lost a job, has remarried and taken on new responsibilities, or is under other financial pressures.

Here then are the top five things to know about that threshold in the context of a variation of a support order:

1. Change is relative.

Whether or not a particular change in circumstances is adequate to meet the legal threshold must always be evaluated in light of the particular facts of each case.

2. The change must be of a continuing nature.

In order to justify a variation of support, the change must be something that has an element of continuity to it.

3. “Material” is both quantitative, and qualitative.

Trivial, insignificant, and short-lived changes will not justify a change in the support payable.

4. It must have been unforeseen.

In order to qualify as a “material change” it must be a new circumstances or factor that was not foreseen at the time the original support order was made. In other words, if that new circumstances had been known or contemplated by the parties at the time of the original order, then a different order would have been warranted.

5. The payor has the onus.

The person seeking the new support order is the one who must prove the change in circumstances has met the legal threshold.

The law strives for certainty, but it also remains flexible enough to address change. If you think that your existing support order has become unfair due to intervening circumstances, a job loss, or other factors, give us a call. We can give you input on your situation, and advise you as to any next steps.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

 

Top Five Dirty Tricks In Family Law

ticks

Top Five Dirty Tricks In Family Law

It’s no secret that divorces often go badly, and that acrimony and bad behavior amongst former spouses is commonplace. Needless to say, it is usually in the best interests of spouses to treat each other well even during the divorce process, and to behave in an amicable fashion if at all possible.

Yet this rarely happens. In fact, divorcing spouses often resorts to a whole bag of dirty tricks (and these are not limited to misleading their own lawyers, which I’ve written about before Top 5 Lies Clients Tell Their Lawyers.  Here are the top five bad behaviors:

1. Hiding assets.

Family law is quite clear-cut in Ontario; a divorcing couple’s property division and support entitlements to each other are easy to predict in advance. Yet a spouse who predicts a hefty child or spousal support obligation, or one who is unhappy with the anticipated split of property and assets, will sometimes try to hide assets from the other spouse. These creative-but-shady tricks can include dubious transfers to corporations or offshore accounts, or making notional “gifts” to extended family or friends – all designed to put assets out of easy reach. Unfortunately for such spouses, courts have an arsenal of remedies to counteract these tactics, including imputing income and imposing costs on the deceitful spouse.

2. Ceasing to pay the bills.

It is common for one of the separated spouses to move out of the family home but agree (or be ordered by the court) to continue making the mortgage payments, to keep paying the household expenses, and to pay support to the other spouse and children pending the formal divorce hearing. One nasty tactic is for that spouse to stop making those payments, or else be routinely late in making them. This technique is designed to “starve out” the other spouse who is relying on those funds or payments, to the point where he or she is so financially strapped or prejudiced that even an unfair settlement might start to look good.

3. Using delay tactics.

Family litigation is costly at the best of times. But some divorcing spouses manage to double, triple or quadruple their litigation costs – and inflict similar inflated costs on their future Exes – by bringing needless motions, changing lawyers frequently, and generally dragging out the process. This is often a tactical and stalling measure, motivated by a “win at all costs” mentality. Worse, it can be aimed at deliberately driving up costs for the other spouse – often to the point where they are either too financially squeezed, or else too worn down and frustrated to continue the litigation.

4. Going on a spending spree.

Even otherwise honest spouses may start acting out of character when they see divorce on the horizon. If it’s not hiding assets, then it may involve a shopping spree relating to out-of-ordinary and questionable expenses, often designed to arbitrarily inflate the lifestyle that the other spouse will (ideally) be required to pay support for after divorce. This can involve things like having the kids enroll in pricey lessons and camps, or buying new vehicles, furniture, services or sporting equipment. Or it may involve maxing out on joint credit cards to buy household items that will be needed to set up a new, post-divorce residence. This simply leaves both spouses with more debt than they can usually afford. And as before, courts have been well-equipped in law to see through and compensate for these kinds of tactics.

5. Ensuring sought-after lawyers have conflicts.

Especially in high net-worth cases, one divorcing spouse may do some strategic “shopping around” for the top family lawyers, with the objective of making sure that his or her Ex cannot hire the most prominent and well-regarded ones. They may schedule a series of appointments with these lawyers – none of whom they necessarily intend to retain – and divulge just enough about their marriage and divorce situation to each of them so as to preclude that lawyer from being hired by their Ex later on.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Top 5 Ways to Keep Divorce Costs Down

budget

Top 5 Ways to Keep Divorce Costs Down

The litigation process – whether related to Family Law or otherwise – has a notorious reputation for being a costly enterprise at the best of times.

But it doesn’t always have to be so. There are many ways to keep litigation costs and legal fees to a minimum. Here are some of the key ways:

1. Discuss as much as possible up-front.

Even before either of you have hired a lawyer, you should try to have a few long, dispassionate discussions with each other, to see what the key points of contention are going to be. Something that you presume will be a point of heated battle with your spouse may not actually matter to them at all. The earlier you can identify the true issues, the sooner they will get resolved.

2. If you are going to settle anyway, do it early.

Not every family law dispute is destined for court. If – based on factors such as your relationship history, personalities, and respective financial situations – you sense that you and your former partner will likely be able to come to terms at some point, then try to do it early on. The further along the more unimportant issues get dragged along in the legal process, the higher the overall costs will be.

3. Use mediation wherever possible.

Even once litigation has been formally commenced, you can use mediation to come to terms on some of your unresolved legal issues. Again, this will serve to narrow down to a smaller list those items (if any) that truly have to be addressed and determined by a court.

4. Take the high road.

In too many divorce cases, costs get needlessly ratcheted up due unnecessary acrimony, mud-slinging, delay tactics, and power plays on both sides. You and your spouse both need to understand that you will save yourselves time, stress, and money by keeping the needless posturing and hostility to a minimum.

5. Hire a good Family Lawyer.

An experienced lawyer with the right approach will save – rather than cost – you money. His or her ultimate duty (and one that is reinforced through the Law Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct) is to help you navigate through the divorce process effectively and efficiently. A good lawyer will therefore quickly identify areas of common ground and issues that might be ripe for settlement, and will determine the best approach for getting optimum results for you.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Top 5 Books About Divorce For Teens

book

Top 5 Books About Divorce For Teens

I have written before about some of the best books about divorce for younger children Top 5 Kids Books About Divorce.

But while the focus is often on the younger children, this does not mean that teenagers – who go through their own hormonal and emotional turmoil at even the best of times – should be overlooked when parents decide to divorce.

Here are some of the better books available that are aimed at this particular age-group:

1. The Divorce Helpbook for Teens

by Cynthia MacGregor (Apr 1 2004)

This books strives to answer the important questions that teenagers have when their parents decide to divorce, such as why the divorce is happening, what they can expect along the way, how to communicate their needs, and who they can go to for help with difficult scenarios and transitions.

Structured with a combination of strategies, vignettes, and advice sections, this book is written with an undertone of warmth and encouragement.

2. My Parents Are Divorced Too: A Book for Kids by Kids

by Melanie Ford, Steven Ford, Annie Ford, and Jann Blackstone-Ford (Apr 1 2006)

This book is touted as being written “by kids”, and the four child/teen authors lend the benefit of their unique vantage-points and experience to the emotionally-difficult process of divorce. The book covers topics such as being caught in the middle, dealing with parents’ arguments, and how to cope with parents dating other people.

3. Now What Do I Do?: A Guide to Help Teenagers with Their Parents’ Separation or Divorce

by Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski (Apr 1 2006)

This book is in workbook format, and aims to provide structure to the jumble of feelings and fears that teens with divorcing parents face. Written in an empathic style that promotes a sense that teen readers are understood, it leads them through their thoughts and feelings of anger, loss and guilt using exercises and activities.

4. The Divorce Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Move Beyond the Break Up

by Linda Schab (Mar 1 2008)

In connection with coping with their parents’ divorce, this book concentrates on not only the emotional transition that teens must make, but also on various practical changes as well. Some sections deal specifically with feelings of grief, fear, and anger, while others deal with the day-to-day elements such as adjusting to two homes, adapting to financial changes, and avoiding being caught in the middle.

5. Keeping Your Life Together When Your Parents Pull Apart: A Teen’s Guide to Surviving Divorce

by Angela Elwell Hunt (Apr 1 2000)

This book explores the feelings that accompany the difficult and harrowing changes that teens of divorcing parents must face. Written with an attitude of warm and compassion, it also includes encouraging and supportive content adapted from the Bible.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com