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A Family Divided: A Divorced Father's Struggle With the Child Custody Industry Hardcover – July 1, 1997

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 547 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; 1St Edition edition (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573921513
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573921510
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,167,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"All too frequently fathers going through the process of divorce are treated as if they are cash machines, whose continuing psychological involvement with their own children is superfluous to their well-being. Robert Mendelson's new book, A FAMILY DIVIDED, compellingly chronicles one man's journey through the land mines we call family court, and along the way provides important advice to fathers facing the prospect of divorce as well as thoughtful recommendations to policy makers for change. Don't go to divorce court without having read this book!" -- Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., President National Fatherhood Initiative

"I wish to congratulate Mr. Mendelson on his book A FAMILY DIVIDED. The book is on target about the social ill that faces society today. I liken it to social cancer." -- Sidney Siller, chairman, National Organization for Men

From the Author

A FAMILY DIVIDED is the true story of a Harvard educated physician who in the first lines of the Foreword is quoted as saying: "I went to court to divorce my wife -- not my children. My wife seemed to have other ideas."

That quote from Michael L. Nieland, M.D. provides the impetus for my book. However, A FAMILY DIVIDED is not merely one divorced father's recollection of his bid to share equally the custody of his children. It is much more. I have attempted to shed entirely new light on perhaps the greatest social ill facing our society today: the proliferation of one-parent families headed by mothers. Study after study has demonstrated that children raised without fathers have a much greater likelihood of becoming disturbed, dysfunctional, even violent adults. Yet, neither the media nor any book has identified the primary cause of this national problem.

Until now.

A FAMILY DIVIDED reveals the unlikeliest of villains: the judicial system. By focusing on one divorced father's battle to remain in his children's lives, A FAMILY DIVIDED demonstrates that family courts -- responsible for more than one million children newly affected by divorce annually -- all too often aid and abet the alienation of children from their fathers. It is worth noting that although Dr. Nieland's decade-long custody battle with his ex-wife is chronicled from his point of view, I have gone to great lengths to make sure that the book is balanced and truthful. All the participants in this child custody saga state their positions, in part, through letters, reports, court petitions, and actual courtroom testimony. Every scene is illuminated by proper documentation.

In summary, I wrote A FAMILY DIVIDED (as I stated in the Acknowledgments) for "the millions upon millions of Michael Nielands out there who suddenly found themselves excluded from their children's lives simply because they were no longer married to their former spouses. It is my wish that this book will shed some light on this injustice."

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Angela Carr on September 16, 1998
Format: Hardcover
A Family Divided is a gripping account of one man's battle for equity. Mendelson's account of Dr. Michael L. Lieland's experience with the family court system was so riveting I read the book in one sitting. This book is a must read for anyone about to embark on child custody litigation or for anyone who already has. I enjoyed Mendelson's book because it was an honest in-depth account of one of the most pressing problems of our times.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In my search for a book that would detail and prepare me for the custody process, I found this book to be very insightful. Not only does Mendelson do a good job in describing the bureaucracy and secret underbelly within family law, but he is able to give it a real life perspective because of its direct influence from Michael Nieland, the father and main charcter. I got the feeling that his story was fully represented. Nieland's personal anecdotes gave this real life story even more validity and emotion. It does not read as a text book at all. If you are currently going through or are preparing for custody proceedings, this book can be a difficult and bitter read at times, however it can save you from the unexpected and unforseen and may even help you stay focused, rather than lost in a whirlwind of anxiety and personal tragedy. My only complaint would be that there is not much discussed regarding the attorney/client relationship.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "novelljohn" on December 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Mendelson gives a gripping account of how the legal system views fathers as people who don't care about their children. As a soon to be divorced dad myself, I found that what I am going through right now is (while specific details are different)similar to what his ex put him through. Dr. Mendelson never gave up and I believe never will...no matter how difficult and biased the courts are against fathers. I could not put this book down. Although this book gives no real ideas on how to fight a vicious ex for your childrens' rights to see you, it did give me one very important thing...HOPE! I encourage every father who is currently battling the court system for custody or the right to see their children on a regular basis to read this book!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book will add a lot to future scientific analysis and understanding of family life and divorce in modern America. It's truly a story of American society going, arguably, beserk; and one father's love for his family lost, in spite of spending a fortune just to remain involved in his children's lives. Many of us have spent $10s of thousands trying to save our life with our children, only to lose out; but thinking that we could have won if ONLY we had more money to pursue the fight. Dr. Nieland, a truly courageous man for letting his story be told; is proof that you can spend $100s of thousand with the same outcome.
Probably only a parent whom has been wrenched away from his child or children can really appreciated what this system can do to the losing parent's entire existence and ability to believe in the American way of life. This book documents, among other things, the role of the "professionals" (custody evaluators) whom society relies on to advise the court as to how to provide for the best interests of the child. Yet these persons support a system which can deprive a perfectly good and loving parent of any kind of a fulfilling life with his children. After reading this book one gets an understanding how the court seems to usually pick one parent as the "best" parent and exclude the other parent in order to remove conflict from the child's life.
Unfortunately for men, almost every study show that, here in the USA, the man rarely wins and is the odd man out... it reminds me of Sonny Bono's autobiography, where the television network decided to reorganize the "Sonny and Cher Commedy Hour" to become the "Cher Commedy Hour", sans Sonny.
God bless Robert Mendelson for this truly epocal tale of one family's story in the cruel world of divorce in today's American system of Justice... one has to believe that there is a better way out there somewhere.
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