Win Your Child Custody War
Charlotte Hardwick
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Buy *Win Your Child Custody War: Child Custody Help Source Book--A How-To System for People Serious About the Welfare of Their Child (11th Edition)* online

Win Your Child Custody War: Child Custody Help Source Book
Charlotte Hardwick
Pale Horse Publishing
644 pages
December 2002
rated 2 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Based upon statistics from those states that track their divorce rates, and factoring in those who do not, the average rate of divorce in America is approximately forty percent. Divorce, it seems, continues to be on the increase. It is also estimated that more than one million children will experience the divorce of their parents during the next year. An astounding figure! While many of those divorces will be amicable, many will not, and the children are more likely than not to be caught in the middle.

Custody battles, however, do not result solely from divorce. There are many children born to unwed parents. Those children, too, will suffer the stressors and difficulties that accompany their parents' battle for custody of them, regardless of how much effort is put into keeping them out of the fray.

A woman who has experienced the child custody war firsthand from the perspective of a parent wrote Win Your Child Custody War. As someone who has been involved with warring parents from three different vantage points - legal assistant, advocate for the children, and investigator - I have both praise and concerns to share with regard to this book, with my concerns tipping the scales most aggressively. First, from the vantage point of a freelance writer and editor, however, I want to preface the following review with a brief technical review.

The edition I received was poorly organized, lacked adequate editing for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and basic sentence structure, all which created a burdensome read. The fundamental structure of the book seemed disjointed. The intense emotion conveyed within the pages is not typical, nor practical, for a work attempting to pass itself off as a "source book." A more analytical and objective voice is needed. At times, I found myself wincing at the author's overly defensive, militaristic tone and terminology. It was off-putting, to say the least. The cost of the book, despite the bulk of information provided and the references to supporting case law, the provision of sample forms and reports, is prohibitory, particularly for those who, because of income and mounting legal fees may not have the funds necessary to acquire it. The author has chosen a subject too broad and complex to be addressed in a single volume.

That being said, the book should not be discounted on technical issues alone. It does contain some practical, common sense advice, and offers first-hand insight that may greatly benefit some parents. Many of the terms, phrases, and procedures associated with the court process are more fully explained in common language. A glossary of terms is provided, as are numerous references to the aforementioned case law. Readers, however, are strongly cautioned to verify what they read against the laws applicable to their state. While many states share common guidelines and requirements related to custody matters, as the author points out, actions legally permissible in one state may result in fines, arrest, and incarceration in another.

The book is a good starting point, and will help clients develop focused questions for their attorney. It may, too, be an effective gauge to monitor and guide the progress of a case. It certainly encourages active participation, and gives a realistic view of the timeframe involved in taking a custody matter through from beginning to end.The battle for custody is not a rapid process.

I was appreciative of the directness the author used when addressing readers on the issue of their own presumptions, or perhaps misconceptions, resulting from what they have heard from well-meaning family, friends, and co-workers, those who may be unfamiliar and/or inexperienced with the family court process. There is a strong undertone of expected personal accountability running throughout the book.

While some custody cases can deteriorate into a war-like atmosphere, and certainly there are those parents who, in an effort to win, will resort to tactics that are ultimately physically and emotionally harmful to the other party, and subsequently the children, most custody cases do not reach this level of aggressive or antisocial behavior. The larger numbers of them are resolved with some degree of amicability on the part of both parents. Emotions run high, true. Each party has their own vantage point from which they view the actions, lifestyle, and attitudes of the other, and each one believes their perspective is the correct one. Custody battles leave scars that take months, years, decades, and even lifetimes to heal; along with leaving scars that, in some cases, never completely heal. The legal process can seem tedious and unproductive at times, and in a society that has been all too acclimated to immediate gratification of their wants and desires, it can appear stagnant, and in some cases may be so.

Win Your Child Custody War strives to be a book that fosters preemptive behavior rather than reactionary responses. It does not achieve that end. The fundamental law of nature is overlooked. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. A person cannot be preemptive one hundred percent of the time. This is particularly true with respect to human relationships. I have found, and that belief is greatly enforced after reading this book, that if a person goes looking for a war, he/she will certainly find one. There too, through no fault of their own they may be the other party who finds themselves on the receiving end of one. I recommend a grain of salt be taken with the reading of this book, and that it be further tempered by sound legal counsel and a measure of common sense.

© 2004 by Susan Cronk for

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