Lady Jane's Reviews > A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce

A Promise to Ourselves by Alec Baldwin
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Jan 29, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, memoirs, nonfiction

In A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce, Alec Baldwin puts a celebrity face on dirty secrets which few know, and even fewer understand, that comprise America's current family law system. Contorted to favor custodial parents--usually women--and structured to perpetuate expensive, legal conflict, the only winners in ongoing custodial wars are the paid professionals associated with the case. The biggest losers are children over which wars are being fought, followed by non-custodial parents. Hopeful, non-custodial parents usually enter the family court system, perhaps having heard a whiff of what hell might be coming, confident that decisions are made based on the facts of the case, fairness and what is best for the child. A Promise to Ourselves dispels that naivete and then breaks it all down.

Mr. Baldwin uses anecdotes of his own experience and that of other non-custodial parents--usually men--to expose the systemic dysfunction that allows one parent to hold a child hostage from the child's other parent, often beggaring the non-custodial parent in the process. However, these memoirs are much more than a cathartic exercise. Supported by studies, and an expert interview, Mr. Baldwin goes deeper to address Parental Alienation Syndrome and provide strategic advice to non-custodial parents fighting for their child's fundamental right and developmental need to have healthy relationships with both parents.

It's all spelled out: well-funded legal opponents having no incentive to seek win-win solutions; custodial parents who violate court orders with impunity; courts that do not enforce their own orders or effectively penalize parents that violate orders; courts that do not closely evaluate testimony that is contradictory, reflecting a conflict of interest, or containing an obvious lie when it favors custodial parents; custodial parents that actively alienate their children from their non-custodial parents; parents that rely on false abuse charges as a legal strategy and more.

I recommend this book to anyone, but especially to non-custodial parents who are entering or are currently in the family court system. I couldn't put it down, reading it in a day, because it was so truthful and resonated so well with experiences that are known to me. It contains all of the wisdom that comes from hindsight and is the guidebook that many non-custodial parents wish they had at the beginning of their legal journeys.

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Quotes Lady Jane Liked

Alec Baldwin
“[American family court] is a system that is corrupt on his best day. It is like being tied to the back of a pickup truck and dragged down a gravel late at night. No one can hear your cries and complaints and it is not over until they say it's over.”
Alec Baldwin, A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce


Reading Progress

January 29, 2010 – Shelved
February 7, 2011 – Started Reading
February 8, 2011 – Shelved as: favorites
February 8, 2011 – Finished Reading
July 10, 2011 – Shelved as: memoirs
September 5, 2014 – Shelved as: nonfiction

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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John Amen. Thank you sincerely for your review. Having faced the same demons you describe in your review during an acrimonious divorce, I delved into much of the literature on Parental Alienation Syndrome and suffered through similar ordeals as Alec Baldwin. Your analysis and discussion of this topic are spot on. You should develop this theme further. You can write.
P


Lady Jane Thanks, John. I walked through the end of my husband's journey with him, jointly captive and sacrificial in what morphed into a holy cause. If we only knew then what we know now....
John wrote: "Amen. Thank you sincerely for your review. Having faced the same demons you describe in your review during an acrimonious divorce, I delved into much of the literature on Parental Alienation Syndro..."


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