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The High-Conflict Custody Battle: Protect Yourself and Your Kids from a Toxic Divorce, False Accusations, and Parental Alienation Paperback – Oct 9 2014

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications (Oct. 9 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1626250731
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626250734
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'When three great minds like these collaborate, a prism is created through which a light of wisdom can shine in the darkest of places. A must-read for all people touched by this unfathomable dilemma.'
- Judge Michele Lowrance (ret) , mediator and author of The Good Karma Divorce and Parental Alienation 911 'In each journey through parental alienation, it is easy to lose the way. What seems to be a clear and just path in navigating family court is not always reality. Amy J. L. Baker, Brian Ludmer, and J. Michael Bone have given alienated parents a comprehensive road map that allows them to make their journey through this highly emotional period with level heads and hearts. The authors' work empowers readers and leaves them feeling revived, secure, and confident as they travel to their final destination: reunification with their children.'
- Jill Egizii , president of the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization, USA ' The High-Conflict Custody Battle is a joint effort by writers with complementary skills and expertise: Amy J. L. Baker, PhD, is a research psychologist who has studied child psychological abuse; J. Michael Bone, PhD, is a clinical and forensic psychologist; and Brian Ludmer, BComm, LLB, is an attorney whose practice focusses on high conflict family law. The three authors have created a book that is both scholarly and highly practical, which will be helpful for mothers and fathers who find themselves coping with a difficult, overly litigious marital separation or divorce. The book addresses in detail the personal and legal crises that frequently occur in high-conflict divorce, such as parental alienation; allegations of domestic violence and child sexual abuse; and undertaking a child custody evaluation. It is notable that the authors acknowledge that all the participants in these legal battles have both flaws and biases, so no one is expected to be perfect. Although this book is primarily intended for divorcing parents, it will also be good reading for mental health and legal professionals, including judges.'
- William Bernet, MD , professor emeritus in the department of psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 'Having recently tried the most publicized parental alienation case to a successful conclusion, I highly recommend this book for parents coping with an alienating spouse. The authors have provided an effective guide to assist parents through difficult litigation. This book should be read by every targeted parent.'
- Jim Pritikin , fellow of The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

About the Author

Amy J. L. Baker, PhD, is a national expert on parental alienation and has written a seminal book on the topic, Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome , published by W. W. Norton & Company. In addition to conducting trainings around the country for parents as well as legal and mental health professionals, Baker has written dozens of scholarly articles on topics related to parent/child relationships and has appeared on national TV, including Good Morning America , CNN, and The Joy Behar Show . She has been quoted in The New York Times and U.S. News & World Report , among other print media outlets. Baker graduated from Barnard College, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She has a PhD in human development from Teachers College, Columbia University.
J. Michael Bone, PhD, has a doctorate from the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science of the New School for Social Research in New York, NY. He has served as a mental health expert, consultant, and advisor to the court on parental alienation cases around the United States, and maintains a consulting practice in Florida. Brian Ludmer, BComm, LLB, is an attorney whose practice is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (1982) and Bachelor of Law (1985) from the University of Toronto. Ludmer has practiced corporate and securities law for twenty-seven years and in parallel he conducts a family law practice focused on situations involving custody disputes, child estrangement, and parental alienation, as well as high net worth divorce litigation and business valuation.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa304cdf8) out of 5 stars 17 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa37ed948) out of 5 stars Solid, field-tested advice Dec 24 2014
By Waggle Dancer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Solid, well-informed, nitty gritty, useful information. This book now forms the backbone of my efforts, particularly the list of what to ask for when going to court, in chapter 9. This is not a flashy book, but the advice comes from current experience of a researcher who is active in a very specialized field. The advice I've gotten from most everyone else (including therapists and attorneys) has gone astray in one way or another but what I've gotten from Dr Baker is holding up the test of time. Because she consults regularly with parents who are experiencing parental alienation, and also does research on the subject, her recommendations come battle-tested. This is not a feel-good book, because the subject is not feel good, but I wish I'd had it from the beginning, because even my lawyer and therapists have made mistakes this book could have prevented. Now I'm using this book to help pick up those pieces.

Also, this book is doesn't have a lot of background about the demographics and development of (what's more or less being known as) alienation; it's about actions to take if you already believe alienation describes your situation. There are also exercises to do in some chapters, which seem very simplistic if you don't do them, but I've found invaluable. One was to make a list of your worst fears and then make some attempt to figure out just how likely they really are.

One mistake I could have avoided if I'd known about this book is that any therapy ordered by the court has to include both parents, not just the targeted parent and children. When the favored parent is omitted from the order for therapy, everyone involved tends to assume that the problem resides with the targeted parent. This exacerbates rather than helps the very problem it is intended to solve. Otherwise competent professionals can be misled by this, which is probably a form of cognitive bias.

Another mistake I could have avoided is that if the children participate in therapy to help heal the relationship, it should not be insight-oriented, which is intended to form a bond between therapist and client in order to facilitate trust, in which the client tells about their feelings and the therapist validates the clients feelings. Education-oriented therapy is more appropriate, because the problem being treated is that the children have developed misperceptions about the targeted parent. The last thing they need is a therapist who says, "Tell me more about why you feel your parent is so terrible."

The most important advice I've received from Dr Baker - and I don't remember if it's from this book or one of her others - is that no matter what happens, the targeted parent must keep showing up and use empathic responding every time to interact with the children, even if it's only for one minute. Following that advice has resulted in my parent time going from a total shut-out to being able to actually have interactions with my children.

This book is kinda tough-love-ish in places. When your reputation with your own loved ones is being denigrated, it's tempting to want reassurance. There is reassurance here; but sometimes the right advice is that you have to find a way to suck it up in order to wade into the fray. It doesn't feel good. But it's necessary, and it works. Also, the reunification therapy described at the end sounds dreamy but is hugely expensive, only available in a few places, and not yet widely recognized by courts. We as a society are still new to developing solutions to this problem.

Other recommended titles are Bill Eddy's What's Your Proposal and Margalis Fjelstad's Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist. Also recommended for more ideas on how to respond well to the children for the time you do get is John Gottman and Daniel Goleman's Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child; although the examples of parents who get to be with their children are heartbreaking when you don't have much access to yours, there are some very insightful tips about how to orient your thinking so that you can maintain an empathic response.

I'm rating this five stars not because it's perfect, but because I recommend it as an essential tool in the arsenal for parents who are experiencing one of the most devastating scenarios possible. When your children and your reputation are turned against you, you need to know which tools you can rely on. This is one of them.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa645ecfc) out of 5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMEND! March 11 2015
By Dorcas Neathery - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a must for anyone experiencing Parental Alienation or parent in a divorce with a Narcissist. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa304c0a8) out of 5 stars A Must have for Parental Alienation case's. March 5 2015
By Ken Joy - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The definitive guide to Parental Alienation. Every Lawyer and Therapist should be required to read the entire book, from cover to cover. I expect it will be a valuable aid in my own reunification. Thanks for writing it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa301c6c0) out of 5 stars Good advice, bad gender bias May 27 2016
By moongazr - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Provides some good insight and advice on how to deal with parent alienation, but fails to provide much away from the obvious. I would have given it three stars, but the author has a very unsavory habit of referring to the alienator as "he" and the alienated parent as "she." This obvious gender bias is unsettling and somewhat pandering. If your a man you will find this book infuriating to read at times.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa301951c) out of 5 stars Some good general advice Dec 12 2014
By Andy Gough - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some good general advice. Focused on US and Canadian legal system, so different terminology and system to Australian system I am dealing with. I read this a bit late in the case, but it's good advice for anyone just beginning this awful process. Good luck to you!