Children's Letters to the Judge
Customer Reviews for Editions 1994 thru 2008
Avg. Customer Review:
Great contribution., April 29, 2008
By Goldie Charm West of Eden
I wasn't sure children wrote these letters until I showed this book to our
school nurse. She assured me these were not the worst she had heard. These
letters should be read by all adults who have or work with children.
Should be read, April 22, 2008
By John Chancellor, Mentor coach, www.teachthesoul New Orleans, LA
This book should be read by anyone directly involved in divorces that involve
The book is a collection of letters written by children to the judge handling
the divorce/custody case of their parents.
Some letters or funny, some are sad and some will make you cry.
It is such a shame that the parents and their advocates often seem to forget
that the children have an interest in the outcome of any divorce/custody case.
From these letters it becomes obvious that in many cases the children are pawns
used by one or both spouses to take out their rage toward the other.
The following are excerpts from some of the more poignant letters:
Letter 75. Dear Judge, Please send me the definition of Best Interest of the
Letter 91. Dear Judge, I want to divorce my parents. Since they got divorced I
do not like either one of them.
Letter 97. Dear Judge, I promise You and God to never do this to my children.
Letter 121. Dear Judge, Dont you care how I feel?
Letter 141. Dear Judge, It doesn't hurt any more. It doesn't feel any more.
It is very sobering reading. While I understand the hatred that can develop over
a divorce, it seems inhumane for parents to take out their frustrations on the
children or to put the children in the middle of a fight.
It is well worth reading for anyone dealing with the process of divorce
Excellent!, September 3, 2007
By bobcat Bob Catterman
This book will make you laugh and cry, and in the end will leave sad about the
state of families today.
The best argument for family court reform and the end of no-fault divorce I have
Heart-wrenching, December 19, 2006
By Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" Skopje,
Children are the real casualties of divorce and custody battles. The most
important figures in their lives - their parents - often regress to belligerent
and narcissistic infantilism. In their anguish, some kids turn to the only
reliable grownup around: the judge.
This is a compilation of c. 190 letters (some of them mere heartbreaking
one-liners) allegedly written by children embroiled in court proceedings to
judges on the bench. A must read for parents who are contemplating ugly
divorces. These quivering voices of tiny shattered lives put in perspective all
that we "adults" hold dear and "worth fighting for". .
A publisher has finally given children a voice, December 10, 2006
By M.D.Liane J. Leedom, M.D. ParentingtheAtRiskChild.com Connecticut
Parents choose to bring a child into our world. In making this choice, parents
have a solemn obligation to nurture that child and see that he discovers the
plan the Almighty has for his life. During the turmoil of a divorce, parents
often forget this obligation and may come to view a child as a possession rather
than as a person with his own special purpose.
Dear Judge has given a group of children the chance to remind us all that they
are people not possessions. Possessions can be divided and shared. Children
however, continue to need love and nurturance from those who chose to bring them
into the world. Some children may also need to be protected from parents who
brought them into the world to exploit rather than to nurture them.
Heartbreaking letters from these children may also be found in this book.
Dear Judge is a must read for divorcing parents and those who advise them. It is
good reading material for the waiting rooms of legal and mental health
professionals. It is my hope that those who write our laws and those that
interpret our laws will also read the children's letters. These letters are
after all addressed to them.
Excellent Look Into Children's Hearts, November 30, 2006
By Penny A. Zeller, Christian Author and Speaker
"Dear Judge" takes the reader inside the lives of real children facing custody
battles. Not only is this a great book for children to see that they are not
alone in the difficulties of custody tug-of-wars, but it's also an excellent
reference for parents and those who work with children in these type of
situations. Ms. Hardwick has done a great job in compiling the real-life letters
children have written for this book. As someone who formerly worked with
children in such situations, I would highly recommend this book.
Read, Feel, Change, April 28, 2006
By Harm Daluka "Do no Harm"
It doesn't matter if you have children or not or if you are involved in child
custody or not, if you read this book you will feel differently and you will
change. This book could be pivotal for anyone involved in family law. It needs
to be on a DVD to be shown at parenting classes. It needs to be a workbook for
teen mothers and fathers. It needs to be required continuing education for
mediators, judges and attorneys. Every parent I have shown this book to has
adjusted his or her attitude to much more child-centered frame of mind.
Attorneys should order it in bulk to bring self-centered parents into line.
A simple book to help with complex feelings, December 19, 2005
By Aunt Laya Saul www.AuntLaya.com
Divorce is a hard and painful reality for everyone. This thin, easy to read book
will open your heart to the children involved. Sometimes it's really hard for a
kid to figure out and articulate what the heck they are feeling. The letters in
this book will give you a handle on the spectrum of feelings and issues a kid
has to deal with.
If you or someone you know is going through divorce, this book might just be a
key to open doors to communication with a kid. For sure what a kid (and parent
too for that matter) needs in such a difficult time is a dose of loving
kindness. With this book you'll smile and cry as you see things through the eyes
of the children in these letters to the judge.
If you are a lawyer or psychologist, put this gem in your waiting room for
parents to pick up! If you are a parent, open this book regularly for insights
into the experience of the child. Then pick up a copy of "How to Go to
Visitation Without Throwing Up," a book written by a kid (Joshua Shane Evans)
and his step mother, for a companion to make the transitions of visitation
Making sure that those normally voiceless in a divorce are heard, October 14,
By Kurt A. Johnson (Marseilles, Illinois
Charlotte Hardwick is the author of that most excellent book on American child
custody law, "Win Your Child Custody Battle." But, she is also an advocate for
the children in a divorce. This book is a collection of letters that were
actually sent by the children of divorces to a judge. The letters themselves
have the wide range of feelings that the children themselves have. Some are
hopeful, some are sad, some are scared, but all come from the heart.
I must say, I found this to be a very touching book. Some of the stories brought
a smile to my face, while others brought a lump to my throat. This is a great
book for making sure that those normally voiceless in a divorce are heard. I
give this book my highest recommendations.
Great book!, August 15, 2005
By sb4peace Virginia
As a mediator with 10 years of experience assisting separating parents decide
custody, visitation and support issues, this book confirms very deeply and
personally what I have seen and been told- how parents' actions when separating
can have a very deep impact on their children. This book should be required
reading for professionals working with separating parents as well parents who
are separating and their children.
An Important Book For ALL Parents, July 31, 2005
By Katie "book worm" PA
Although I am not yet a parent, I was intrigued by the issues this book brings
to light - as I have known many children who've felt stuck in the middle due to
This is one of those books that ALL parents can gain insights from! It is a
compilation of letters written to a judge by children whose parents were in the
midst of a divorce. Some of the letters will actually make you laugh, and others
will make your heart hurt. But each one shares important insights into the minds
& hearts of children who are dealing with these difficult issues.
This should be used as a handbook for divorcing parents - as it allows a peek
into what hurts & what can heal these children who are trying to understand why,
and what next...
I would highly recommend this book to all parents, but especially those who are
in the midst, or are contemplating divorce. It's an easy, eye-opening read!
Smiling through the Tears, July 26, 2005
By Donald Mitchell "a Practical Optimist" Boston, MA
Children involved in legal separations, divorces and other custodial proceedings
find that their lives can become horrible. They see the "adults" in their lives
focusing on the legal proceedings rather than on being parents . . . and the
"children" often find themselves as the losers in the process . . . being
shipped around like cattle.
Some children take the bull by the horns and write to the judge, asking for
redress. This book contains their "unofficial" ex parte letters.
Anyone who is about to marry should read this book before taking up the
possibility of becoming a parent. All those who decide that they must end their
marriages should be required to read this book. Lawyers who work on domestic law
should be required to give a copy to their clients.
Legislators should also write new laws to allow judges to take official notice
of these currently unofficial documents. Better court orders would surely
Here are some examples of these poignant messages that begin with the
salutation, "Dear Judge,":
"When our parents get their divorce do we have to get a divorce too? Sharon and
me don't want to divorce our parents. We just want them to get a divorce so they
could be friends again."
"Pleasee help me to get to live with my mom and new sister."
"My stepdad explained the Justis Sistem to me. It does not sound right."
"Please have the valuator come back to our house . . . . Tell Miss Hill the dog
never peed on anyone before and we will put him outside this time."
"My parents are out of control . . . . I spend more time taking care of my
little brother than either of them and I'm not ready for the job. I just want to
be a normal kid again."
"I had to write about what we did this summer so I wrote about our divorce . . .
. I feel kind of funny but I feel better. You should tell kids to write about
their divorce and feel better too."
I felt tremendously sad while reading these tiny tales. But I was also delighted
to see that so many children have more sense than their parents, legislators,
judges and lawyers. I hope that this book will help children appreciate how to
survive divorce in better ways.
May God bless the children of divorce!
Simple Book Explains Kids Struggles in Their Own Language, July 3, 2005
By Edward J Vasicek Kokomo, IN USA
This is a great "source book" about how kids feel about their parents' divorce,
visitation, and their desperation for things to be "fixed." Each page contains a
short letter written to a judge. Some are a few sentences, others a couple of
This is a must read for divorced parents or anyone who counsels with or is in
some way involved with children of divorce.
The kids express the frustration of one parent being upset with them if they
dared to say they had a good time while staying with the other parent,
constantly moving, or parents who cannot treat their former spouses with common
Some of the entries might make you cry; a few of them are comical, most of them
You'll see their fears (the greatest heartbreak of all), their anger, their
guilt (blaming themselves), their sense of helplessness and feeling ignored as
divorced parents have an agenda to prove themselves the better of the two.
Readers can probably finish this book in an hour; I read it a bit here and a bit
there. Good book.
Ideal gift for a child in a broken home, June 4, 2005
By Robertson Thomas (Hongcheon, Gangweon, South Korea
For 2 reasons, I say that this is an ideal gift for a child in a broken home:
1. The book is easy to read. It is not thick, there are no long and complex
sentences, there are no big words, and there is plenty of white space.
2. Many children of divorce, like Joshua Evans, think they are alone, and would
appreciate the company from other children like themselves.
And speaking of Joshua Evans, take a look at "How to go to Visitation Without
For every divorced parent, May 16, 2005
By C. Yanda "mykidstoo.com"
Out of the mouths of kids you will get honesty. This book is chockful of how
kids really feel about divorce, how they feel manipulated at times, and most
importantly how much smarter they are about things than most divorced parents
give them credit for.
More wisdom here than at a child psychologist convention, May 12, 2005
By JackOfMostTrades "Jack" Washington, DC
"Dear Judge" is a moving, stunning, beautiful book that offers more insight into
the hopes, fears, confusion, vulnerabilities, terrors, and needs of children
than you are likely to read by any expert. A collection of real children's
letters written to a custody judge (who could not use them as evidence in
custody battles), these messages are honest and heart-rending in a way that only
children can communicate.
The letters range from short one sentence pleas to
long, articulate reflections. All have one thing in common: they remind us of
how powerfully children are affected by family conflict, particularly in
situations where parents are undergoing difficult divorce. The irony is that the
very family members who are most prone to suffer in a divorce are the ones most
likely not to be heard. But this book contains about 100 letters that are more
telling than any psychologist's evaluation or lawyer's argument. It is nearly
impossible for me to list "favorites." Each one has its own voice and its own
means of expressing the vulnerability of each writer, from a simple sad sentence
of a lost child simply asking, "Dear Judge, "Are you there" to a report card
issued by a child giving "grades" to the judge, mother, father, and attorneys
involved in his/her family's divorce. There are enough unsatisfactories to
warrant the whole bunch to get left back!
If parents think they can fool their kids by lying or planting seeds of mistrust
about the other parent or provide reasons why the child should feel good about
living with him or her and NOT the other him or her, they will think twice after
reading the wisdom in these pages.
What is often missed is the child's point of view, May 12, 2005
By Dennis Littrell SoCal
Charlotte Hardwick is the author of Win Your Child Custody War: Child Custody
Help SourceBook, which is an invaluable aid to parents, lawyers and others
involved in custody cases. If you are involved in a child custody dispute, the
first thing you should do is get a copy of Hardwick's SourceBook, and then read
the letters in this book. You will be amazed at the information the SourceBook
contains. It is one of those "invaluable" sources that really is invaluable.
"Dear Judge" is an entirely different sort of book but one with a similar
intent, that of seeing custody disputes from the child's point of view. Hardwick
has compiled a selection of their actual letters to judges (whom
they--usually!--hold in the highest regard) and published the letters in this
little book. She has excluded those that are too heart-wrenching, or as she
phrases it, are "too dispiriting to print." What the letters have in common is
the innocent and (nearly!) guileless efforts of the children to have their
voices heard. Unfortunately, while most of these letters were actually read by
judges, the judges were often unable to consider the requests of the children
because, as Hardwick puts it, "Any communication arriving on a judge's desk that
has not followed the proper procedure, cannot be considered by the judge."
What struck me most poignantly about what the children wrote is the fact that
for the most part they don't blame either parent, nor do they take sides in the
dispute, but instead concentrate on telling the judge what is wrong with the
custody arrangements that were agreed to and offer ways to fix the situation. In
some cases the children just express how unhappy they are because of the divorce
and how much they love both their parents and how much they wish there was some
way to get the parents to stop fighting and hating each other.
That is the essence of what these kids are expressing. While the parents are
emotionally bent on WINNING at all costs and sometimes filled with hatred toward
the other, the children are caught in the middle because the parents often
forget what is best for the child. The bottom line in all custody disputes (as
Hardwick emphasizes in her SourceBook) is the welfare of the children. What this
little book does is remind us of that fact. Here's a little letter that says it
"Dear Judge, I don't think what is going on for me is the same as what is going
on for my parents. I don't know who is right. I don't care who is right. Clare
Another child writes,
"Dear Judge, I think my mom and dad are fighting because of me. Could you put me
in a new family so my mom and dad can be happy again. Sandy S."
Please tell my Dad to come home. My mommie cries all the time and it scares me.
I don't know if we are going to be alright if he doesnt come home soon. Tell him
I love him and will be a very good girl. Emily L."
Please don't forget me. Emily S."
In an inadvertent way that is enormously eloquent, the following letter reveals
the psychological damage that a hateful divorce can visit upon a child:
"Dear Judge, Please don't not make me choose. William"
I think a lot of good might be done if every parent currently caught up in an
acrimonious custody dispute would simply take a few minutes to read through
these letters. And it wouldn't hurt for some judges to read them as well.
An enlightening compilation., May 11, 2005
By Sherry Russell "Reviewer/author" Grief Management Consultant, Midwest Book
Review Vero Beach, Florida
Children's hearts are so many times treated as a sub-text of divorce. They are
many times the forgotten sufferers in parental conflict and the court system.
This diverse collection of letters spotlights the thoughts and emotions ranging
from distress to humor. They give an insight to how children become efficient
little workers trying to understand ways to benefit their family, their
situation and to understand a system that is confusing to most of us adults.
One of my favorites is a letter from a young fellow who has the solution to the
courts problems with children of divorce. He decides he should become a kid who
lawyers other kids. After all, he points out; no one else is listening to the
kids so perhaps this would work. This is truly an enlightening compilation.
The letters in Dear Judge: Kid's Letters to the Judge are bumper stickers for
Heartbreaking, May 9, 2005
By Patricia Kay "author and avid reader" Houston, TX
I could hardly stand to read this book, yet once I started, I couldn't put it
down. Personally, I think the book should be required reading for any couple
contemplating marriage and children. The book consists solely of actual letters
written by kids to judges in family court. Filled with love and anguish, the
letters brought tears to my eyes. These poor kids. It's a horrible shame what we
adults have put them through. In one letter, a kid writes, "I want you to
undivorce my Mom and Dad. It's just not working out for me." This says it all.
A Book for All Parents, May 5, 2005
By Sandra McLeod Humphrey, Children's Author Minnetonka, MN
The letters in this book are all real letters written by real kids expressing
their honest feelings about divorce and they give the reader much food for
thought. In some cases the kids seem more mature and more responsible than their
parents, and one of the most important messages I gained from this book is that
we must take the time to listen to our kids--really listen to them with our
hearts as well as with our ears. A most revealing and insightful glimpse into
the minds and hearts of our children. Highly Recommended!
A must read..., May 3, 2005
By Barbara Donahue, Author, "The Anti-Rules, Now That You've Got Him, How Do You
Get Rid Of Him?" Los Angeles, CA
This book is amazing. It empowers children to feel they can make a difference in
their own lives. The letters should make everyone think before they act..they
are thought provoking and heart wrenching.
Author, "The Anti-Rules, Now That You've Got Him, How Do You Get Rid Of Him?"
Wake up call, April 15, 2005
Reviewer: Amazonbombshell Milwaukie, OR
DEAR JUDGE broke my heart many times. I have never been through a divorce
or on any side of a custody battle, but I have seen the long- and short-term
effects on friends at school (from elementary up through college), children I
work with, and on my own husband, who went through a very messy divorce and
custody battle between his parents, beginning at age 12.
Reading these plainly presented letters to a family court judge from
children of all ages, I found myself beginning to understand what it must be
like to be so powerless and so scared. The letters come from children in
situations ranging from not-quite-right-anymore to terrifying and abusive, but
the reader gets the sense that all of these children have been wronged in the
same way: their true selves have been ignored.
Adults forget what it is like to be a child, and we also forget that
children notice and absorb nearly EVERYTHING we say and do. These letters prove
how much kids really know, and how much they can teach their parents and
caretakers, the justice system, and society in general. All parents should read
this book, most particularly those who have divorced a spouse with whom they had
children. And older kids might benefit from these letters, too. They might be
helped by reading what other kids have gone through, and knowing that they are
The book's format is very simple: two pages of introduction telling why it
was written, followed by over a hundred letters to the judge. I thought
initially that it might benefit from some in-depth discussion and concrete
suggestions for adults, but perhaps that is best left to therapists and the
deeper books they write. These letters, unadorned, are incredibly powerful, and
if you have ever loved a child, they will touch your heart and change the way
you think about kids.
Touching, Sad, Distressing & Important, April 14,
Reviewer: Adam Sacks (Calabasas, CA United States) This book is touching and sad
but also very important to read. Parents doing through divorces are hurting
their children for the long term in so many ways. Listen to their voices in this
book, it's sad and touching. Divorce doesn't have to be this bad.
Required reading for parents, judges, attorneys,
September 28, 2004
Reviewer: Harold McFarland (Florida) TOP 50 REVIEWER Filled with short letters
from children to the judge, "Dear Judge" will at times make you laugh and at
times make you believe in the family court system, but mostly it will point out
the ways the court system and parents fail to take a child into consideration.
When a young child has a question they generally turn to their parents, but when
the parents say they can't take them somewhere, or see them more often, or
otherwise satisfy the needs of the child because the court system constrains
them they have to take other measures. These children took their pleas to the
judge. Encouraging, disheartening, and enlightening, "Dear Judge" should be read
by judges, parents, and attorneys alike.
From the minds and mouths of the innocent,
September 11, 2003
Reviewer: Jeanne S, Krause (Thousand Palms, CA United States)Charlotte Hardwick
has done a real service to families by sharing these delightful letters from
innocent children who find themselves caught up in custody cases. If only
parents could read them BEFORE going to court. I laughed; I cried; and I learned
from the viewpoint of the most innocent victims in custody cases--the children.
"Dear Judge" has earned a permanent place in my personal library.
Ouch! I didn't know children saw so much., May 12,
Reviewer: A reader
Great piece of work. I can see their faces and feel their hearts in these
letters. I wanted more and could not have handled more at the same time. Buy
this one and then try to keep your friends from walking off with it.
Fear, anger, confusion, love, grief and hope,
January 12, 2003 (1st edition review)
Reviewer: Joanna Daneman Middletown, DE Top 10 Reviewer
This is a slim volume of actual letters written by children to the judge in
divorce/custody suits. It is a sad little commentary in the real voices of those
who are most hurt by marriage break-ups. As a guide to parents facing
separation, divorce, shared or sole custody, or blended families, it is probably
invaluable, as well as being a very touching book to read. For anyone not in
those situations, whether judge, lawyer, caseworker or even just a member of
society watching families dissolve, this is a education about the feelings of
the most vulnerable members of our society--children.
My favorite letter (among so many good ones):
....Grandpa said that just because my parents are big that doesn't mean they are
He promised as soon as they are grown up they will take care of me again.
Grandma said he is telling me the truth.
Your friend, TD
And there are more letters equally meaningful. You don't want to miss this book
if you are facing family problems.
Kids say the darndest things, September 21, 2004
(2nd edition Review)
Reviewer: Joanna Daneman (Middletown, DE USA)
TOP 10 REVIEWER Kids write to judges about custody battles, divorce and
other family matters. The letters are real, compiled by Charlotte Hardwick. The
author says the letters deal with "fear, anger, confusion, love, grief and
hope." One child writes
"My stepdad explained the Justis Sistem (sic) to me. It does not sound right."
The letters are short and pithy, or longer and amazingly eloquent.
If any of these emotions are striking into the heart of your family during
a custody crisis or other family court matter, this book is heartening reading.
Pale Horse Publishing specializes in books on family court matters.
I thought these letters were out there, somewhere!,
October 16, 2001
Reviewer:"katclarkson" Mission Viejo, CA
Sometimes it takes weeks and months to build enough trust with a child to
get this kind of honestly felt comment. I had a notion these letters were out
there. I have purchased Dear Judge in bulk and am handing it out to parents the
court has assigned to me for family evaluation.
I will put my personal favorite here...
Please have the valuator come back out to our house. The day she came was not a
day like all the rest. The kitchen caught fire because my brother was trying to
make cheese grill sandwiches for us kids to eat so mom could talk to the
valuator. Tell Miss Hill the dog never peed on anyone before and we will put him
outside this time.
Yours truly, Bobby J.
This company deserves a 'Thank You' for taking the time to present these
letters in Dear Judge,.