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Dr. Garber's books

                  Family Law Consultants LLC
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The Field Guide

"The field guide" is the first volume to integrate today's wide variety of theory, empirical data, and case law to present a single comprehensive overview of the dynamics of conflicted family systems.

As family law professionals we must learn to escape linear thinking to embrace the complexity of human relationships. This means in part eschewing individual diagnoses in favor of understanding relationship dynamics and the larger ecology in which they occur.

Garber, Prescott, and Mulchay do an excellent job of introducing family law professionals to the systemic and developmental pressures that so often work against the best interests of the child. Interwoven concepts including triangulation, polarization, the chameleon child, enmeshment, estrangement, and alienation are defined and illustrated using contemporary case law and discussed in the context of practical evaluation, adjudication, and interventions.



High conflict divorce can leave children polarized within the transitioning family system, aligned with one parent and resisting or refusing contact with the other parent. Rather than becoming mired in the bottomless pit of back and forth blame, more and more courts are seeking remedies in the form of reunification therapy.

Charged with helping the polarized child to enjoy a healthy relationship with both parents, we know what doesn’t work: individual child therapy cannot remedy a family systems problem. Dyadic interventions with the child and either parent are seldom sufficient. Even family therapies fall short when they are not grounded in well-established, reliable and valid science.

Mending Fences introduces a child-centered, systemically informed, empirically-validated and experientially-proven collaborative reunification protocol. Focusing on the anxiety inhibiting the system’s healthy functioning, well-respected and long-validated cognitive behavioral exposure methods are fused with structural family therapy to reduce the child’s anxieties about separating from one parent and approaching the other, the aligned parent’s fears of separation and loss, and the rejected parent’s fears of rejection.

A common vocabulary across coordinated interventions allows children across the spectrum of ages and abilities to identify and overcome an individually tailored succession of anxiety-inducing events so as to gradually (re-)establish healthy and safe relationships with both parents.

The Mending Fences protocol is practical, proven, and effective. The user-friendly discussion is peppered with up-to-date references to the scientific literature and international case law. Application via video conferencing platforms is discussed.

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When to hold on; when to let go—a constant dilemma of parenthood. This timely book examines the balance between these powerful dynamics. How parents can instill confidence and security in children and how professionals can recognize and respond when this process goes awry. Holding too long and too tight? Letting go too soon and too easily? Includes down-to-earth descriptions of family systems and identity development and guidance on remaining an emotional anchor in children's lives as they launch toward independence.



[T]he best and most useful social science text I have read in a decade.It is comprehensive in its research and scope, clearly written and uses excellent case studies and examples to illustrate in simple terms what might otherwise be complex phenomena.

--Dr. Tom Altobelli
Federal Magistrate, Family Law Courts
Sydney, Australia

The goal of every family law professional and mental health practitioner is to improve family court outcomes in the best interests of the child. This book will assist readers in meeting this critical goal. Developmental Psychology for Family Law Professionals serves as a practical application of developmental theory to the practice of family law.

This book helps family law and mental health professionals gain a broader understanding of each child's unique needs when in the midst of family crisis. It presents developmental theories with which professionals might better assess the developmental needs, synchronies, and trajectories of a given child. Ultimately, this book presents guidelines for making appropriate legal decisions and recommendations for children who have experienced crises such as abuse, neglect, relocation, divorce, and much more.

Key topics include:

  • Custodial schedules
  • Foster and adoptive care
  • Post-divorce disputes
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Psychological assessment and diagnosis
  • Incarcerated parents and visitation rights
  • Relocation and "distance parenting"
  • Visitation resistance and refusal/reunification
  • Parental Alienation/alignment and estrangement
  • Theories of cognitive, language, and social development

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When co-parents conflict, their kids get caught in the middle. They become 'adultified,' infantilized, and alienated. They're made into messengers and spies, implicitly forced to grow up too fast or to remain needy for much too long. The antidote: practicing child-centered parenting--consistently creating parenting plans and conflict resolution strategies that genuinely meet children's emotional and psychological needs--first and foremost and for the rest of their lives.

Keeping Kids out of the Middle is not about divorce, and it's not about you. It is about your kids. This eye-opening and highly pragmatic book is a here-and-now guide toward better understanding and meeting the needs of your children. You will learn what child-centered parenting is, how to implement it productively, and how to communicate effectively with your parenting partners, no matter the legal status of your relationship, the distance between your homes, or the quality of your intimate relationship.

Keeping Kids out of the Middle, child psychologist and state certified Guardian ad litem Benjamin Garber offers parents a radically new perspective on co-parenting in the midst of relationship conflict and teaches co-parents how to build a consistent, healthy environment for their children through the art of 'scripting,' establish better means of communicating and communication styles, and create parenting plans that help keep children protected. This is your guide to putting your children's needs first and giving them the safety net they must have in order to become healthy adults who are able themselves, to some day, keep their own kids out of the middle.


The Parenting Plan Worksheet is the conscientious caregiver’s only developmentally-informed means of creating a child-centered parenting plan. Sixteen discrete but interlocking modules allow parents singly or together to better understand the intricate decisions that will guide the future allocation of their parenting rights and responsibilities.

This book, 
The Roadmap to The Parenting Plan Worksheet, is the professional’s guide to using the Parenting Plan Worksheet. The Roadmap dissects the sixteen component modules of the Worksheet, presenting case law, theory and empirical discussion.

Mediators, parenting coordinators, lawyers and courts use the 
Roadmap to guide parents through the rocky terrain that can lead to the creation of a child-centered, developmentally-informed parenting plan.

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Ten Forms

This unique volume and the accompanying forms provide you with ten forensic family evaluation tools ready for immediate use. These tools have been developed by Dr. Benjamin D. Garber over the course of more than twenty years and tempered through the process of treating and evaluating hundreds of high conflict families.

Ten Child-Centered Forensic Family Evaluation Tools provides the family law professional with critical means of navigating through the complex and contradictory history and reports that commonly arise in the context of custody-related litigation. These are the tools that have been missing to date, necessary if one hopes to map out the conflicted family’s strengths and weaknesses, needs and wishes in an organized, systematic and reliable manner.

More than just data collection, Ten Child-Centered Forensic Family Evaluation Tools anchors parent, child and third-party report in the hard data underlying psychology and family law. This volume not only makes Dr. Garber’s tools available for immediate use, it provides the reader with up-to-date references to critical areas of inquiry. Responses can thus be interpreted not only by comparison among co-parents, but also by comparison between respondents and the extant literature.

Use of these Ten Child-Centered Forensic Family Evaluation Tools secures evaluations in science, buttresses interpretations in empirical data, and anchors the evaluator’s testimony in the contemporary literature all to the benefit of none so much as the child.

Ten Child-Centered Forensic Family Evaluation Tools is structured into six broad categories. Each begins with an introduction to the general topic, includes an annotated discussion of the instrument(s) being introduced and a select list of references. The tools themselves are laid out page-by-page with critical items highlight and cross-referenced. Readers are given unique access to all ten tools online ready-to-print and to become the foundation of the professionals’ next forensic family evaluation.


Never before has there been so much parenting advice available, but it can be confusing and contradictory, leaving parents wondering what to do.

In The Healthy Parent's ABCs, Dr. Benjamin Garber helps parents gets professional advice in small bites using 26 letters and 26 lessons. Well-suited to the needs and abilities of all parents, it spans parents of any age from any culture; parents with little or no education, limited English and financial resources to those with advanced educational degrees. The goal is to empower parents to raise healthier kids by:

  • Being clear, calm and safe
  • Building consistency between parenting partners
  • Building consistency and partnerships between parents, teachers and other caregivers

Caregivers, schools, and any child-centered organization can use it in their curriculum to help parents focus on the basics of raising healthier kids by completing the alphabet in full twice each year, one week at a time.

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Do you worry that your relationship conflict is harming your children? Separation and divorce are tough enough on grown-ups, and they can be even tougher on kids. Parents may expect their children to be their allies, messengers, or spies. That’s a lot of pressure for a kid! And it doesn’t have to be this way. In Caught in the Middle: A Letter to My Parents, Dr. Benjamin Garber shares Emma’s story of how parental conflict feels to a child. You’ll learn practical strategies for cooperating, communicating, and putting your kids’ needs first, so they can have the childhood they deserve.

Emma, a fictitious 18-year-old high school graduate who grew up in the middle of her parents’ selfish divorce and co-parenting war. Emma is an amalgam of the thousands of children that have found themselves caught in the middle of their parents’ conflicts. The rage and narcissistic injuries that these parents live with day-to-day blinds them to their children’s needs. As a result, children like Emma are prematurely thrust into the adult world. They are forced to become their parents’ allies and confederates, messengers and spies. They give up their childhoods in order to serve their parents’ selfish needs. They become chameleons, changing who they are in order to fit into the adult world, or ostriches, burying their heads in the sands of denial.

Emma’s done a very selfless thing by sharing this journal with you. The thoughts and feelings that she shares here are very private. Even embarrassing. But Emma and I have decided to put this book in your hands in the singular hope that maybe you will make different choices than her parents did. Maybe by sharing her journal, Emma can help you learn to raise healthier children.

Caught in the Middle is Book 2 in the Healthy Parenting series. Book 1 in the series is The Healthy Parent's ABCs: Healthy Parenting Made Clear and Easy-to-Readand Book 3 is Taming the Beast: Managing Anger in Ourselves and in Our Children Through Divorce


We all get angry sometimes, but out-of-control anger can make life miserable for everyone in the family, especially during a divorce, parental separation, or throughout the years of co-parenting,

In Taming the Beast, Dr. Benjamin Garber shows you how to understand anger in all its forms, from irritation to frustration to rage, and express it constructively. You will learn practical strategies for modeling good anger management for your children, identifying and measuring emotions with the MadMeter™, planning ahead for what to do when anger erupts, and debriefing outbursts so you can do better next time. With practice, you and your kids will discover healthy ways to experience your own emotions―and accept each other’s.

Taming the Beast is Book 2 in the Healthy Parenting series. Book 1 in the series is The Healthy Parent's ABCs: Healthy Parenting Made Clear and Easy-to-Readand Book 2 is Caught in the Middle: A Letter to My Divorced Parents

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For courts and judicial officers
For lawyers,
                        attorneys and pro se litigants
For Guardians ad litem
For forensic
                        family evaluators
For litigants
Read more here