Illinois Fathers is establishing an initiative that will provide volunteers who will serve as visitation supervisors. Dad’s House will increase the presence of non-custodial fathers in the lives of their children by providing a safe comfortable family atmosphere for visits, and by providing a safe, neutral drop-off and pick-up location once a parenting plan is established. In addition to providing a site and supervisor for the visits, Dad’s House will offer parenting education to fathers, including childhood developmental stages, age-appropriate activities and co-parenting through conflict. Quarterly, Dad’s House will host parent-child activities for all participants. There are many ways you can help us make this dream come true. We are seeking sponsors and volunteers for the program. To find out more about becoming a sponsor or volunteer contact us at email@example.com You can make a donation to the program by clicking the donate button on the right side of your screen. Help us reunite children with their fathers and make dreams come true.
This Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time the fathers’ rights movement hits prime-time mainstream media!
As a result of the recent success of his new book ‘Confessions of a Deadbeat dad’, researcher Todd Bottom was contacted to be interviewed along with a few others that are passionate about fathers’ rights by Lisa Fletcher, a former ABC News correspondent and investigative reporter who now hosts The Stream – a daily show on Al Jazeera America.
The channel, which launched on August 20, 2013, directly competes with CNN, HLN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel. The Stream is a current events discussion and debate show formatted to allow viewers to interact with the hosts and guests during the program via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ Hangouts and Skype.
Recently named Outstanding Talk Show in the news category by the Gracie Awards, the Al Jazeera English version of The Stream has also received the 2012 Royal Television Society’s award for Most Innovative Program of the Year and the 2012 Webby’s People’s Choice Award for News and Politics. The Stream also received a 2012 U.S Emmy nomination for New Approach to News and Documentary Programming.
Please make time to watch Tuesday’s program and weigh in with the host and guests during the live program. Most importantly….tell everyone you know about it! Spread the word for awareness and let’s get fathers’ issues into more mainstream media!
Illinois Fathers Board Member Juan Carlos will be hosting an open forum on Domestic Violence at the Sulzer Regional Library 4455 N Lincoln Ave
(between Leavitt St & Montrose Ave)
Chicago, IL 60625
Neighborhoods: Lincoln Square, Ravenswood
On Friday Sep. 27th from 3pm-5pm
Consequences of DV
signs of DV
We encourage as many members who can attend to please do so. Make our presence known let our voices be heard.
For more information or to R.S.V.P contact Juan Carlos at
HB2992 is now law! Congratulations to all our fellow non-custodial parents First right refusal is now law in Illinois! As written the new law requires a judge to grant it, so we highly encourage folks currently going through a divorce or separation or a post motion to request it be added to their decree!
By: Robert Ferrer
On July 29, 2013 I had the honor of attending with Bill Spencer, Rooney (Arunas) Cepas and Larry Holt the DOVE Forum sponsored by DOVE and the Dewitt County Sheriff in Clinton, IL. The forum was moderated by Sheriff Jered Shofner, DOVE’s Jennifer Tolladay and the Honorable Judge Richard Broach. It was a very pleasant evening with all participants engaging in open civil discussion.
DOVE is a faith-based organization that provides social services in a variety of areas to those in need including children, teens, seniors and the homeless. One program is the Domestic Violence Program Services. It was this program that was represented at the forum.
I was surprised that it was recognized by the participants that not all men are abusers, and that all women are not victims. In fact, DOVE states in their website that “men seeking shelter as a result of abuse from a domestic violence situation are assisted by cooperation with a local motel; call the hotline for assistance”. It is encouraging but nevertheless the focus was on women.
Judge Broach also recognized that abuse of the system is an issue. He mentioned that he has on occasion denied temporary petitions for an Order of Protection (OP). Because of the low standard of proof the law requires sworn evidence (he said-she said) is accepted even at the plenary hearing. False allegations are dealt with in the form of indirect civil contempt. It is not clear if Judge Broach has ever issued a finding of contempt.
One thing expressed was that people are starting to exhibit DV fatigue. People are getting tired of hearing about it. This is evident by the meeting’s low attendance. With all the awareness and funding for programs why has it not been solved? I would like to share a few of my thoughts on the problem and why the problem seems intractable.
First, I believe that people are getting tired hearing about DV because it is so easily abused. Way too many people are using the laws associated with DV as a sword rather than as a shield. When a temporary OP is issued physical custody of the children is automatically given to the petitioner. It has gotten so bad that articles written about it have been published in the Illinois State Bar Journal. A local attorney in my town, Scott Lerner wrote an article for the ISBA Journal (Nov. 2007). He describes how due to difference in Illinois’ Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) and Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) an Order of Protection can be used as a sword rather than as a shield. He most cogently demonstrates how current statutes actually condone the abuse of IPV allegations.
Did you know that only 24% of child abuse allegations made by the mother against the father are substantiated when the allegation is made at the time of divorce? The same disparity between allegation and substantiation applies to domestic violence in custody and access disputes. In one seminal study DV allegations were made in 55% of the divorce cases against fathers. Of those allegations only 41% were substantiated.
With such disparities between allegation and substantiation you can see why many are tired of hearing about it. However, since it only takes one bad call the general sentiment is that “there is a need to err on the side of safety in these matters”. Even when no evidence is found to substantiate an allegation, family courts typically “err on the side of caution”. What it usually means is that custody is awarded to the one making the allegation and the accused usually ends up with restricted access to the children (if any access at all).
There is a problem when the courts go too far with ‘better safe than sorry’ mentality. At what point does this become ‘guilty until proven innocent’? At what point does this abrogate due process of law? A recent NJ Superior Court ruling echoed the concerns regarding the adjudication of IPV allegations, especially in how far can the courts go with a ‘better safe than sorry’ attitude before conflicting with basic constitutional rights. That court said that the current standard of proof, Preponderance of Evidence, violates the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause in cases involving the issuance of Orders of Protection. The court said that the standard of proof must be raised to Clear and Convincing Evidence.
We need to raise the standard of proof in domestic violence cases. We also need to give more teeth to penalties for false allegations. Illinois 98th Assembly introduced HB1019 providing tougher remedies for false child abuse allegations made to manipulate the court. We need similar proposals for false domestic violence allegations.
Second, we need to stop looking at DV in a unitary fashion where no distinctions are made. I’ve been following the work of many like-minded practitioners who want to reform the domestic violence system. The group advocates for gender-inclusive and evidence-based policies and seeks to correct the many damaging laws and policies which have been based on misleading claims. They see that not all DV is alike, and appropriate intervention must vary with the specific dynamics resulting in violence. The most common form of domestic violence involves couples who are unable to resolve the conflict associated with the stresses of life. The least common is what is commonly associated with wife battering where one controls the other through a variety of means both physical and psychological. Unfortunately, intervention approved by the court is designed to deal with the latter type of dynamics. This is why most interventions are ineffective.
Finally, we need to see something done to assess an allegation. A temporary order is issued based on the sworn testimony of the petitioner. A plenary hearing is usually scheduled 21 days later. During that time no assessment is required to determine the veracity of the allegations. The Judge at plenary has the exact same information that resulted in the temporary order. What do you expect the outcome will be?
An order to both parties must be issued for assessment. The past 10 years has resulted in the development of assessment tools that have shown to be quite effective. The latest version of the Conflict Tactics Scale is able to measure the prevalence, frequency and severity of domestic violence in regards to physical assault, injury, psychological aggression and sexual coercion. The findings presented by assessment will give the court more information regarding the case than what it had originally. This is one way to separate the genuine from the chaff.
These are a few observations. I hope that their implementation will keep the court free from the deluge of those “crying wolf” for nefarious reasons. This will allow the court to deal with the real and serious cases that occur. We can no longer throw the baby out with the bathwater without seriously impacting our children. To have a child denied the companionship of a loving parent without real reason is tantamount to child abuse. My suggestions should also result in interventions that are appropriate and effective. Perhaps then we can claim that we are solving the problem.
On Monday July 29th starting at 5 pm, Illinois Fathers will be conducting a peaceful protest outside of the Vespasian Library in Clinton Illinois. Sheriff Shofner in conjunction with DOVE and Judge Gerry Bryan and Judge Broach are holding a presentation by “domestic violence experts” at the Vespasian Library.
Illinois Fathers believes the press release announcing this event is blatantly biased against fathers. The primary reason for the protest is the refusal of Sheriff Shofner to allow Illinois Fathers to also present at this event. Illinois Fathers believes that Judge Bryan and Judge Broach cannot call themselves fair and impartial and should recuse themselves from participating in what Illinois Fathers views as a public father-bashing-fest.
Men are also the victims of violence from their partners. Illinois Fathers asks, “Who are the true victims” of the actions taken by DOVE, Sheriff Shofner and Judges Bryan and Broach? Ultimately, the children.
In DeWitt County on July 29th at 5pm at the Vespasian Warner Public Library, with a second forum being held at City Hall in Farmer City on August 13th at 5pm, DOVE will be hosting meetings in conjunction with Judges Richard Broach and Garry Bryan and are sponsored by the DeWitt County Sheriffs Department to discuss Domestic Violence. We have filed a request for permission to speak at these events to help ensure that research provided by Save Services about the broader extent to domestic violence is presented. We still haven’t received a positive confirmation of our ability to be a presenter. So we have decided that in one method or another we will be there. The question is, will be holding signs or flyers? Only the Sheriff can decide. On this note, we have received confirmation that Judge Bryan will not be able to attend.
A beautifully done video by one of our members. Shane we wish you luck on time with your child. As so many of us have seen the difficulties involved in having meaningful time, we hear you.
Comment: Illinois is by far the poster child for the actions described below by Eagle Forum head Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly. In a high majority of cases in Illinois, Illinois does not consider the incomes of custodial parents, creates orders solely on the assumed income of the non-custodial parent, routinely imputes income based on non-realistic figures, and refuses to acknowledge the children’s needs at the non-custodial parent’s home. Further more, the percentages of income in Illinois are so high, that it becomes a major incentive to fight for custody of children which significantly impacts time that each parent can spend with their children, creates significant difficulties on non-custodial parents when they do have time with their kids, and can leave many NCP’s in dire straights if they lose their jobs. Further more, her comments regarding Debtor’s prison are alive and well in Illinois, as published here previously, special work permits granted during license suspensions are less than 1% of all driver’s licence suspensions due to child support arrears creating situations where NCP parents who do fall behind can never catch up. Illinois Fathers agrees with the findings of this opinion piece and gratefully thanks Mrs. Schlafly for granting us the permission to republish her article.
We Should Reform Child Support
by Phyllis Schlafly
June 19, 2013
President Obama’s Father’s Day speech included one provocative yet very declarative sentence: “We should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children.” Obama didn’t elaborate, but we can build on what he said because, yes indeed, child support laws urgently need “reform.”
Many fathers work long hours and make incredible sacrifices for their families. Child support formulas are based on the ridiculous notion that a father would make those same sacrifices for an ex-wife who is living with her new husband or boyfriend and for children he never or seldom sees.
Many fathers would happily do more to support their children if they got to see their kids more and were more engaged in their lives. But current child support laws have reverse incentives: the more the mother prevents such contact, the more child support she receives.
Child support is not even really child support because the mother has no obligation to spend the money on the kids, and faithful payment of child support does not buy the father time with his kids. The purpose of child support is to allow the mother to maintain a household and standard of living comparable to the father’s.
Because of perverse incentives, a so-called “no fault divorce” is often followed by a bitter child custody dispute with bogus allegations of domestic violence or child abuse, and the winner can get a huge child support windfall. Usually the family court judge cannot tell who is telling the truth.
Reform should eliminate these bad incentives. No parent should collect money for denying kids the opportunity to see the other parent, and payments should not exceed reasonable documented child expenses. If both parents are willing and able to manage joint child custody, there should be no necessity for child support payments.
As annoying as the IRS is, it follows accounting rules and taxes only actual income. But a family court judge can ignore current income (or lack thereof) and instead calculate child support on past income or on imputed future income.
A California wife, under community property laws, is entitled to 50 percent of her husband’s income and 50 percent of her own income. But if she divorces him and gets custody of their two kids, she then gets 40 percent of his income plus 100 percent of her own income.
We can no longer ignore how taxpayers’ money is incentivizing divorce and creating children who never or seldom “engage” (Obama’s word) with their fathers. We can no longer ignore the government’s complicity in the predictable social costs that result from more than 17 million children growing up without their fathers. Fatherless boys and girls are much more likely to run away, abuse drugs, get pregnant, drop out of school, commit suicide, or end up in jail.
The root of the family court evil is the redefinition of a legal doctrine called the Best Interests of the Child. This phrase originally meant the presumption that courts should generally stay out of family decisions because, as the Supreme Court wrote in 1979, “natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interests of their children.”
Some states say “best interests” and some say “best interest,” but it means the same thing. That’s just a buzzword to conceal the transfer of parental rights to judges.
This phrase is now used as an affirmative grant of power to family court judges to overrule parents on all child-related issues. Three things are wrong with the current interpretation of Best Interests of the Child.
First, it is contrary to the rule of law by giving judges extraordinary discretion to enforce their own prejudices and to micro-manage lives. They punish parents for things that were never written down as crimes or offenses.
Second, the “best interests” standard undermines parental rights. Instead of saying that parents are the final authorities, as the family unit was understood for centuries, it allows judges to make routine child-rearing decisions.
Third, courts have no competence to determine a child’s best interests, so they rely on poorly trained evaluators who make unscientific recommendations about custody and visitation. There is rarely any evidence that a court-defined schedule is better than joint child custody.
Reform should get family courts out of the practice of pitting parents against each other, entertaining criminal accusations without evidence, assessing onerous support payments, sending dads to debtors’ prison, and appointing so-called “experts” to make parenting decisions. Instead, the courts should protect the rights of both parents.
In past Father’s Day messages, Obama has blamed fathers for abandoning their responsibilities, but this year’s message had no such comment. Perhaps Obama has learned that many fathers are locked out of their rights and responsibilities by family courts.
Our Fatherless Day Event for Rockford will be held at the
Booker Washington Center
524 Kent Street
Rockford, IL 61102
6:00pm – 6:15pm Speaker Travis Turner Illinois Fathers – Program Introduction
6:15pm – 6:30pm Speaker Juan Carlos Illinois Fathers
6:30pm – 6:45pm Speaker Member from the Faith Community
6:45pm – 7:00pm Speaker Ms. Jackie (Grandmother)
7:00pm – 7:15pm Speaker Jay Hughes
7:15pm – 7:25pm Video
7:25pm – 7:40pm Speaker T.C. Bell – Project Fatherhood
7:40pm – 7:45pm Closing Remarks
7:45pm – 8:00pm Meet and Greet
If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Travis Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Springfield Event will be held at
Second Street and Capitol
(At the Lincoln Statue immediately East of the Capitol Building)
Monday June 10th
8am – 9am Stage set up
9am – 10am Sound check
10am – 11am Introduction and Raffle Details
11am – 11:30am Steven Westerfield ( Court watches in Sangamon County Special thanks to Bill,Richard, and Tim.)
11:30 – 12:00 Michael Ragan ( Introduction to Illinois Fathers.)
12:00 -12:30 Shane Shomide ( The effects of not seeing his child.)
12:30 – 1:30 Todd Bottom ( Research on divorced fathers.)
1:30 – 2:30 Captain Tony Taylor ( what ever he wants lol.)
2:30 – 3:30 Steven Westerfield ( How a bill becomes a law.)
any questions please contact Steven Westerfield at email@example.com