The Wilderness Within…

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PART ONE: Defining Fathers Rights: The language men need to more accurately describe the truth

This is my first column for DadsDivorce.com…from time to time, I will be sharing this space with my partner, Heidi Nabert, President of the National Shared Parenting Association. Together we’ll help you understand how to become a better advocate for your child through education, “reframing” your situation, how to find and work with your lawyer effectively, cost saving child focused negotiation, mediation and litigation strategies that have worked for countless fathers.

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The Wilderness Within…
PART ONE: Defining Fathers Rights: The language men need to more accurately describe the truth

This is my first column for DadsDivorce.com…from time to time, I will be sharing this space with my partner, Heidi Nabert, President of the National Shared Parenting Association. Together we’ll help you understand how to become a better advocate for your child through education, “reframing” your situation, how to find and work with your lawyer effectively, cost saving child focused negotiation, mediation and litigation strategies that have worked for countless fathers.

dynamicdivorceduo.jpgBefore I begin, I’d like to express my deepest gratitude and thanks to Joe Cordell and Richard Ortiz for the opportunity for Heidi and I to write for DadsDivorce.com – Joe and his firm are doing some extraordinary that is almost unmatched anywhere in the world.
It’s a GREAT resource, and it takes a very special sort of person to build such an organization with resources designed for dads.

And I should know – I’ve been involved with divorce all my life, and I turn 50 this December 2008. I’ve been the kid, the step dad, dad, divorced dad, single parent with and without custody, international divorce reform activist for almost 15 years, divorce management counselor / strategist / senior Certified Family Law Clerk.

Here in Canada, I have had much, much more than my 15 minutes of fame on family law reform and “Fathers Rights”. If you “google” Heidi and I, you’ll see we are tireless on this subject…

As Executive Director of Fathers Resources International, we are the ones that fathers in Canada turn to again and again for help. In fact that’s how I spent Fathers day last Sunday…helping yet another father facing a mother moving away to a far and distant new home.

How did it get so bad? It’s simple when you look at the history of Family Law…women have done the work; they have done so in an effective way; they have defined who we are as men in the public’s mind, the media and the Court’s.

I’ve also seen the lack of cohesion, organization, business sense and cooperation amongst men to build a team, organization and resources that are funded in an equal way to more accurately describe the truth of what is going on:

Evolution…progress…change. That is the one constant in life; the new order replaces the old, and brings a new set of difficulties, challenges and obstacles. With women learning how to become an effective political voice over a 125 year period, they have supplanted within their natural sphere of influence the role men once played in parenting, all under color of law.

There’s just one problem – Heidi and me: We’re adult children of divorce who lived first hand through every change of the last 50 years. It just so happens that I am a man who has been a successful divorced dad who became a mentor to countless others along the way.

And that is going to lead to another HUGE problem for those who wish men like myself would just go away. It’s coming sooner than you think: “Son’s of the Liberation”.

That’s what I am. I suspect you are too. You’re asking for the equality you naturally came to expect, being taught to you from the cradle onwards by women such as your mom, grandmother, most primary and secondary school teachers…and that’s just for a start.
It’s not that men have been demonized and minimized at every turn by women. Many women such as our own mothers, sisters, daughters and new partners and second wives are our greatest supporters.

The truth is this: We became what women wanted over a 30 year period, while forgetting who we are in the process.
Last time I checked, it’s still legal to be a man.

It’s just that it requires a new sensibility and discipline that is a lot of work – especially when war is declared in Family Court; it requires a lot of positive mental conditioning and reinforcement to not react to being called a wife beating, child molesting, deadbeat who can’t be trusted as far as one can spit…

So let’s begin here: Wage Peace, not War when you are in Family Court. Refuse all attempts to succumb to inflammatory remarks, baiting, gutter sniping. Turn the tables and emphatically insist and be unmoved from a higher standard of conduct, so you can credibly hold others to the same.

Credibility is the coin of the realm in Family Court. If you are not believed, you won’t be heard.

The # 1 complaint I get is the bias towards women in Family Court.

My answer is always the same: Who told you life was fair? They lied to you…Women and Men have always been held to a double standard that goes both ways depending on the specific issue.

The bias you face goes back to childhood: When your sister falls off the bike and scrapes her knee and runs into Daddy, he becomes the hero” Don’t cry sweetheart – daddy’s here!”

When it’s his son, he tussles your hair and say: “C’mon big boys don’t cry…”

It is understanding the terrain, having an accurate roadmap that helps you to best learn how to stickhandle around this set of circumstances when it happens in Family Court.

When you understand the game and its rules you play better. Make no mistake: Justice is created in your heart, mind and soul, not at the end of a Judge’s gavel.

The law is the bastard child of politics. What is wrong today is right tomorrow, and vice versa. That’s how women got the vote, blacks were emancipated, and why America no longer has a King…and Canada has a Queen…

Whining about why the sun comes up in the east instead of the west won’t change the orbit of planet Earth. Neither will politics played out in Family Court win your case.

However, knowing the game and its rules gives you the optimal chance of success, especially with a game plan based upon the countless success stories of other dads.

In the many years I’ve been watching divorced dads win and lose, the ones who win, where winning = peace for their child ALWAYS waged peace, not war.

After all is war over a child appropriate?

In Part Two, we’ll explore Asserting Fathers Rights: The War in Family Court is lost before it begins…feel free to join the dialogue at http://DivorcedDadWeekly.com  to ask your questions, give me you comments and feedback. Heidi and I welcome every question of every kind for our weekly virtual meeting / telewebcast for dads just like you…

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3 comments on “The Wilderness Within…

    Interesting commentary. Looking at divorce from a kid’s view is what should ALWAYS happen! Great stuff! Looking forward to much more from the Dynamic Div Duo. Hats off to Dads Divorce Great new addition!

    I am in a ugly divorce case in California were i it seems my attorney keeps us on the defence rather then the offence, is this a way to make more money for herself or is there a thery. My Wife ‘Respondent’ has not followed through with 85% of the stipulated agreements and my attorney does not pursue issues such as filing tax returns, medical issurance, late paying mortgage loan which the loan is in my name only. Ive recieved three intent to foreclose notices and non of these items have been adressed. Yet my wifes attorney is able to motion strike agreements made while we were setting visitation/ custody arangments. My attorney says she wants to go into court showing we have doen everything the Respondent has asked and that they have done nothing to uphold there end. Is this good logic? Im tired of being on the defence and am having a hard time trusting my attorney’s logic. All these responses to motions is causeing big $ that i cant afford. Help

    Hello!

    I’m in a very difficult situation and just don’t know where to begin. I was divorced and ordered to child support back in 1998. The order was for $465 per week. I’ve been
    incarcerated since that time and never got that order
    adjusted. Now i’m behind approx. $140,000 with fines/late fees. There’s a bench warrant for my arrest in that State at this time. I’m currently residing in Tucson, AZ., and the case is in Michigan. I’m currently unemployed and looking for work. MY ex wife won’t let me see my 2 boys because i dont have money. Can you please advise me where i can begin to get this issue managed? I dont have money for an attorney. Is their any help organizations for men that could help?

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