You’ve done therapy, you’ve (hopefully) talked about your feelings together. Your relationship is over, one way or another, and there’s only one thing left to deal with: your marriage. Amicable or not, you’ll need to cut those ties that bind before you get on with living your best life. For that, you’ll need some sage advice from the best divorce books out there. Here’s a reading list to get you started. (Afterward, head over and check out our best feminist divorcée reads!)
Most of the divorce literature out there seems to be geared toward women. Furthermore, it appears to be dominated by white authors writing to the concerns of white communities. While I only found a few authors of color writing about this topic, I hope there are more. I included those that I could find on this list. Likewise, there’s almost nothing current about LGBTQ divorce. I’m going to go ahead and assume that it’s just because we’re so blamed awesome. Otherwise, it means that same-sex marriage hasn’t been legal long enough to spawn a niche rainbow divorce industry.
These books are all geared toward adults whose relationship has dissolved, is dissolving, or really ought to dissolve. If you need to talk to kids about divorce, we have a reading list for that, too. Teens might want to read on their own. We’ve got that covered, too.
Divorce Books With Guidance and Advice
1. The African-American Guide to Divorce & Drama: Breaking Up Without Breaking Down by Lester L. Barclay
The author of this book is a matrimonial lawyer. He covers the particular considerations of divorce in the Black community, including social, familial, personal, and legal aspects.
2. The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce by Rachel Sussman
This book, authored by a mental health counselor, provides you with resources for moving past your divorce emotionally. That said, it also touches upon topics like co-parenting with your ex in an emotionally healthy way. It’s most helpful if you were the dumpee rather than the dumper.
3. Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After by Katherine Woodward Thomas
A lot of books about emotionally handling divorce focus on women. Not this book! There are pearls of wisdom here for everybody. It’s particularly good at helping you identify your relationship patterns. Like our previous book, this one stresses the well-being of any children that you and your ex might have together.
4. Fair Share Divorce for Women: The Definitive Guide to Creating a Winning Solution by Kathleen A. Miller
Let’s face it: your divorce is going to get financially sticky. This book contains some solid advice from a CPA who knows her way around a settlement. As the title suggests, this book is most relevant to women.
5. Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You by Susan J. Elliott
If you’ve ever been in a breakup before, then you already know how hard it is to stop texting, calling, and otherwise contacting the person in whose life you were intimately entangled. If you’re struggling to detach, Susan Elliot might have some good advice for you.
6. It’s Called A Breakup Because It’s Broken: The Smart Girl’s Break-Up Buddy by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola
The author of He’s Just Not That Into You and his wife want you to throw that pity party. Feel your feelings! Then, seek clarity about your relationship and its true relationship to your happiness. Not everything needs to be fixed. There’s some tough love here, but funny anecdotes take the sting out.
7. Sacred Cows: The Truth About Divorce and Marriage by Danielle Teller and Astro Teller
There are a lot of myths about divorce out there. The Tellers, a married pair themselves, explode a lot of them in this book. A playful tone lightens the heavy subject matter somewhat.
8. Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder by Randi Kreger and Bill Eddy
Whether or not your ex has been formally diagnosed, this book has some good advice for breaking up with “high-conflict” people. If you worry about your spouse’s reaction to a divorce request, this might be a good book to review before you broach the subject.
9. The Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky: The Buddhist Path through Divorce by Gabriel Cohen
Mixing memoir with advice, this is a unique guide to spiritual balance during tough times. Bonus: Cohen recommends several other useful books about Buddhism for readers who want to explore further.
10. Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship by Mira Kirschenbaum
It’s not unusual to teeter on the brink of divorce, sometimes for years. If this is your situation, do yourself the favor of reading this book. It’s a neutral tool for relationship assessment, but can give you the validation you need to make a decision if you’re wavering.
Here’s a book that will normalize the many challenges of divorce for people who are feeling unsure about what’s normal. Davison is a life coach who draws in part upon her own divorce for reference.
Divorce Books About Parenting
12. Parenting through Divorce: Helping Your Children Thrive During and After the Split by Lisa Rene Reynolds, PhD
There are a few reactions that you can probably expect from your kids when you announce your divorce. The object of this book is to prepare you to handle those in a healthy way.
13. A Parent’s Guide to Divorce: How to Raise Happy, Resilient Kids Through Turbulent Times by Karen Becker
Addressing the needs of all age groups, this book is particularly good at addressing specifics. For example, it gives good tips about handling holidays.
14. Talking to Children About Divorce: A Parent’s Guide to Healthy Communication at Each Stage of Divorce by Jean McBride
Any parent who is in the process of divorcing needs to be ready to field questions and head off misconceptions that their kids might or might not voice. A lot of the communication advice in this book could also apply to other difficult conversations.
15. Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation by Rachel Cusk
Cusk struggled when her marriage of ten years fell apart. She presents herself with all of her flaws intact in this memoir of divorce and motherhood.
16. A Beautiful, Terrible Thing by Jen Waite
Upon discovering that her husband has been massively unfaithful, Waite embarks upon the difficult process of emotionally recovering and escaping from her marriage.
17. Falling Apart in One Piece: One Optimist’s Journey Through the Hell of Divorce by Stacy Morrison
Morrison’s husband walked out when she least expected it, leaving her with a new house, a new baby, and a new perspective on life.
18. Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story by Isabel Gillies
With candid honesty, Gillies discusses the sacrifices she made for a marriage that quickly fell apart. This book avoids self-pity in favor of mindful positivity.
19. How Divorce Became My Deliverance, edited by Elona Washington
This collection of essays by divorced Black women offers a positive long view on separation. It’s an encouraging collection edited by a prominent publisher and guest blogger for Huffpost.
20. How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over by Theo Pauline Nestor
Divorce pushed Nestor out of her stable middle-class existence and into single motherhood. After throwing out her gambling-addicted husband, she finds the way forward by exploring her family’s past, while keeping her children foremost in her mind.
21. I Am Nujood, Age 10 And Divorced by Nujood Ali
Nujood’s experience departs significantly from the others on this list. A child bride to an abuser in Yemen, she obtained her freedom after a heartbreaking struggle.
22. Split: A Memoir Of Divorce by Suzanne Finnamore
Ignoring signs of her husband’s infidelity didn’t save Finnamore’s marriage. However, moving on from her subsequent divorce did make her a stronger person.
23. We’re Still Family: What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents’ Divorce by Constance Ahrons
The specter of ruined childhood haunts many divorcees, but it might not be entirely valid. This collection of short essays by the children of divorce suggests not only that positive outcomes are possible, but that kids can join their parents in moving through divorce resiliently.
Hit the comments to share your picks for the best divorce books.