Pre-Divorce Reading List: A Useful Guide to Help You Cover Your Bases

November 16, 2020
Rosemary Bocska

Article written by Rosemary Bocska

The prospect of getting a divorce is daunting.

Legal information can be confusing; practical advice can be overwhelming. Even in the most amicable of divorces, emotions will sometimes run high.

If you and your partner are considering a separation and divorce, you will be grappling with many different concerns. You will each want to insist on your strict legal rights when it comes to family property division and support, but this might be tempered by many esoteric factors, such as the individual needs and goals of family members.  In particular, you will want to accommodate the emotional and physical needs of your children during this turbulent time. Ideally, you will help them transition with the least amount of disruption possible.

We all know that there are many resources readily available to help you through – including books, videos and internet sources. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed due to the sheer volume of information options.

What follows is a list of some of what we consider the better resources available to spouses and parents who are considering a separation and divorce. 

Recommended Resources

Some of these have a Canadian focus, but the others may be equally helpful even though they are from other jurisdictions.  (And note that while the books are available in the traditional printed format, most have online download or audiobook formats available as well).

Understanding the Legal Process of Divorce

There are many resources aimed at providing a good overview of the Canadian law on divorce:


The Practical and Emotional Impacts

The day-to-day, practical repercussions of the separation and divorce process are well-covered in these resources:

Helping Children Through

  • The Divorce Organizer and Planner with CD-ROM, 2nd Edition, a book by Brette Sember (2013)
  • Our Family Wizard – A practical online schedule and communication resource that helps separated parents to organize their parenting schedules, facilitate children’s activities, and manage their communication.
  • Between Two Homes: A Coparenting Handbook, a book Bradley Craig (2014) and the companion publication, Between Two Homes: A Coparenting Workbook, by Bradley Craig (2019)

There are many excellent books and resources dedicated to making sure children achieve the best transition through their parents’ divorce. 

Books and resources for parents:

  • Healthy Children of Divorce in 10 Simple Steps: Minimize the Effects of Divorce on Your Children, a book by Shannon Rios Paulsen LMFT (2017)
  • Talking to Children About Divorce: A Parent’s Guide to Healthy Communication at Each Stage of Divorce: Expert Advice for Kids’ Emotional Recovery, a book by Jean McBride MS LMFT (2016)
  • Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children, a book by Azmaira H. Maker Ph.D. and Polona Lovsin (2015)
  • The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions So You and Your Children Can Thrive, a book by Robert E. Emery Ph.D. (2006)
  • The Canadian government’s Department of Justice page, “Help for Kids”, which strives to help parents understand how their children may be reacting to the separation and divorce, and assists parents in answering questions and helping the child to cope.

Primary-level readers and picture books for children under 6 years of age:

  • Why Do Families Change?: Our First Talk About Separation and Divorce, a book by Dr. Jillian Roberts and Cindy Revell
  • Two Homes, a picture book by Claire Masurel (Author) and Kady MacDonald Denton (Illustrator) (2003)

Books for children aged 7 to 10 years old:

  • Divorce Is Not the End of the World: Zoe’s and Evan’s Coping Guide for Kids,a book by Zoe Stern and Evan Stern (2008)
  • Getting Through My Parents’ Divorce: A Workbook for Children Coping with Divorce, Parental Alienation, and Loyalty Conflicts, a book by Amy J. L. Baker PhD and Katherine C. Andre PhD (2015)

Books for children aged 11 to 12 years old:

  • The Bright Side: Surviving Your Parents’ Divorce, a book by Max Sindell (2007)
  • Divorce Helpbook for Teens, a book by Cynthia MacGregor (2004)

Books for teens:

  • Divorce Helpbook for Teens, a book by Cynthia MacGregor (2004)
  • Now What Do I Do?: A Guide to Help Teenagers with Their Parents’ Separation or Divorce, a book by Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski (2006)
  • The Divorce Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Move Beyond the Breakup, a book by Lisa M. Schab (2008)

Especially for Women

There are many great books and resources geared specifically towards helping divorcing women with their unique needs during the divorce process.  Here are some of the standouts:

  • Divorce: A Canadian Woman’s Guide, a book by Gail Vaz-Oxlade (2002)
  • DIVORCE: Think Financially, Not Emotionally® Volume I: What Women Need To Know About Securing Their Financial Future Before, During, And After Divorce, a book by Jeffrey A. Landers (2012)

Especially for Men

Although there seem to be fewer books and materials aimed specifically at divorcing men, there are some good ones: 

  • How to be a Good Divorced Dad: Being the Best Parent You Can Be Before, During and After the Break-Up, a book by Jeffery M. Leving (2012)
  • Wednesday Evenings And Every Other Weekend: From Divorced Dad To Competent Co-Parent, a book by F. Daniel McClure and Jerry B. Saffer (2009)
  • Divorced Dad’s Survival Book: How To Stay Connected With Your Kids, a book by David Knox and Kermit Leggett (2000)