Your Place or Mine?: Practical Advice for Developing a Co-Parenting Strategy After Separating
Published September 27, 2022
About Your Place or Mine?
Navigate the challenges of co-parenting with practical advice and legal tips.
So you did it. You separated. And now the kids that you always planned to raise together are being raised apart. Most people don’t start a family expecting not to see their children every day, and yet roughly half of us end up in that scenario. From there, it’s a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure — and there are many choices you can make.
Your Place or Mine? is a detailed resource for separating parents. It will help you navigate the legal system, including negotiating a settlement, mediation, and litigation, and explains the nuances of different paths to dispute resolution. It also provides specific advice about what to include in a compassionate separation agreement, such as specifying how far parents can live from each other, where transitions take place, how to handle kids’ belongings, communication, future disputes, and introducing your child to a new partner.
Schwartz introduces you to several families (including her own) with separated parents, as well as adults who were raised by co-parents, and offers their insights. She also provides accessible advice from psychologists on kids’ mental health, as well as tips from family law lawyers, who share anecdotes about the world of co-parenting.
Why I read this book
First of all, I should reassure my friends and family who follow my blog that I didn’t request a review copy of this book because I’m thinking of separating or getting divorced. Ha! That’s not on the horizon for me.
The reason I wanted to read this book was more for the focus on how to co-parent through separation and divorce, since I have a child with a partner I’m no longer married to. Which means I am one of the masses of parents who navigate co-parenting on a daily basis.
I wanted to read this book to see if there are things I can add to my toolbox so to speak. Techniques I’d never used or questions I should consider.
What’s in the book
At any rate, I’d say about 50-60% of the book is more a walk-through of what separation and divorce entail from a legal perspective. What is the process? What does it look like? Are there advantages to pursuing mediation versus going to court?
There were some great notes on finding support and good legal representation, too. She talked about the importance of a good support system and what that looks like through a divorce process. She also discussed questions to ask your legal representative and questions they should be asking you. How do you know they’re doing a good job? That kind of thing.
Additionally, she briefly explained of the evolution of family law in terms of what used to be the standard approach (Mom’s care and custody of children used to be the priority) versus the approach now (it’s recognized that children do the best when both parents are involved in their lives, so courts will not prioritize one parent’s care over the other unless abuse has been proven.).
Who is the legal advice most relevant to?
It’s worth noting that she lives and works in Ontario, Canada, so the legal advice is most relevant to readers living there, but I am familiar with some of the things she discussed from my own experience in the US. So some things are pretty broadly accepted.
I think a book like this would have been really helpful while I was going through a separation/divorce before. I had no idea what to expect, and didn’t really have anyone close to me I could ask advice from. Separating is a huge, stressful experience, especially when you have a child who’s experiencing the grief and disruption of that separation on top of trying to work through your own emotions and navigate issues with your former partner.
So yeah, I think I would have gotten a lot out of a straightforward book like this.
Navigating changes in the relationship between yourself and your partner
There was a fair amount of advice on navigating the relationship between yourself and your ex. I liked her advice and the advice from clients that she shared as well. It basically boils down to considering the needs of the children first and foremost and treating the other person like they are a good parent even if they weren’t a good partner to you. I thought those were both really great point, even if hard to put into practice sometimes.
All in all, I think this is a really practical, gentle guide for people going through separation from a partner with whom they have one or more children. It’s pretty comprehensive and helps make what is a very overwhelming process feel more orderly. With the book, not only is there a light at the end of the tunnel, she tells you what the tunnel looks like and where some of the tricky twists and turns are likely to be.
I highly recommend this book for people in the process of getting separated and/or divorced.
Recommended for Ages 18 up.
Written by a white, middle class woman. She practices family law in Canada and is divorced herself and a child of divorced parents. She includes testimonies from marginalized clients, including BIPOC and LGBTQ2S partners.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used very infrequently.
References to the importance of faith community as a part of your chosen support network if you desire.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of YOUR PLACE OR MINE in exchange for my honest review.