The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce


The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce written by Judith S. Wallerstein, Julia M. Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee, profoundly affected how I advise clients in custody proceedings. It is the only longitudinal study that has been done on children of divorce. It tracks 131 children over the course of 30 years to find out the long-term impacts of divorce. If you are a divorce attorney or you are divorced or getting divorced, I encourage you to read this book. There are many things that can be done to ameliorate the affects of divorce on children. How parents engage in the process of the divorce as well as the custodial schedule that is put in place have long-term impacts on children. This book made me realize how important it is to give children a voice in crafting what their future will look like, especially when they are older. Although children in foster care cases at a certain age are required to be part of the court hearings, children in custody and visitation cases are kept away from Court at all costs. It is as though all of us in the divorce system pretend as though if we don’t talk to children about divorce they won’t be affected as badly. While this is good intentioned, it often minimizes what the child is feeling. A divorce requires a child’s life to fundamentally change and there is no amount of “keeping the kids out of the divorce” that will change this. This book provides insight on how to make this process better for the sake of long-term impacts on children.