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Divorced Parents Find State Laws Failing Their Kids


For more than two decades, states around the country have required divorced parents to provide local courts with documentation detailing parenting schedules. Further legislation by some states orders children to spend a certain amount of time with each parent. But is it all enough?

Two authors, both divorced parents, don’t think so, and they’ve written a book that provides additional assistance to parents looking to go beyond court-mandated parenting time.

Chris Frie and Tara Amaral are the authors of Our Great Kids, a book that engages the entire family in exercises designed to keep divorced parents abreast of what their kids are thinking and doing.

“While court-mandated programs can be constructive,” says Ms. Amaral, “the reality is that kids can still get lost between two parents who are bickering. Our book is a way for these kids to journal their feelings and for parents to keep track of important dates and contact numbers.”

“This book is born of experience,” says Mr. Frie. “We know how hard it can be to stay involved, even with states mandating more shared time.”

Recently, the Washington State Office of the Administrator for the Courts found that almost half of the children of divorce in the state were being ordered to spend at least thirty-five percent of their parenting time with their biological fathers. It’s a trend that’s spreading across the country and one that Ms. Amaral and Mr. Frie say will mean a greater need for books like theirs.

“Sharing parenting time is great,” says Ms. Amaral, “but it needs to come with a way for each parent to experience the important developments in their children’s lives while the children are with the other parent.”

Having used their system with great success for several years, Ms. Amaral and Mr. Frie have been encouraging others to develop healthy methods of communication so that the children of divorce aren’t negatively affected.

The authors have created the Web site to go along with their new book. The site allows divorced parents to log into their child’s account to communicate important dates, daily activities and special things that their child did. Parents can also exchange photos and receive e-mail alerts to remind them of scheduled activities.

(Our Great Kids by Tara Amaral and Chris Frie; ISBN: 978-0-9821091-0-6; $23.95; 104 pages; 8½” x 11”; softcover; spiral bound; TML Publishing)


 children of divorce
 family and parenting

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