Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens at FUERF Meetings?
Family Law in the Movies
What is the Legal Big Picture in Parenting and Divorce?
Are there Second Legal Chances?
Why allege DOMESTIC, CHILD, SEXUAL ABUSE?
What Questions are Typically Asked at FUERF Meetings?
What Issues Are Better Handled Elsewhere?
How Can I Avoid Being My Own Worst Enemy?
Ten Reasons Fathers Facing Family Law Troubles Don't Get Help

top     What Happens at FUERF Meetings?


7:30pm

Legal
Clinic

  • Collect $ from new members and annual renewals
  • Brief introduction by FUERF Meeting Coordinator
  • FUERF Guest Attorney opening comments
  • FUERF Guest Attorney answers questions
    FUERF Meeting Coordinator ensures roughly equal time for everyone.

following
Clinic,
Support
Session

  • FUERF Guest Attorney leaves
  • Discussions continue with senior FUERF members,
    ESPECIALLY VALUABLE FOR NEW MEMBERS
Remember
  • The FUERF Guest Attorney draws on extensive family law experience representing many Maryland fathers to immediately respond to your informally presented legal problems. Some answers are exact (i.e. 30 day deadlines, use this form,...), others are suggested approaches. You'll need to retain (pay) an attorney to get a detailed legal assessment and lawyer / client privileges
  • Different attorneys (and FUERF members) have different suggestions
  • Use second legal opinions to improve your legal strategy
  • Bring your Family Law papers to show the attorney
  • Learn from others to save $$$, time, aggravation

NOTE: There may be occasions when a scheduled Guest Attorney is not able to attend. Thus, we cannot guarantee an attorney presence at our meetings.


top    Family Law in the Movies

Rent these two family dissolution movies to understand family law as seen by fathers:

The respective messages are:  Senseless warfare is common in family law disputes; and Dad's sometimes can't surmount underlying maternal preferences.

top     What is the Legal "Big Picture" in Parenting and Divorce?

Dad and Mom are legally tied together through their biological minor Kids.  Dad and Mom have parenting obligations to their Kids that are legally enforceable nearly worldwide whether married, never married, already divorced, or the Kids were unintended. Denial of love and access to both parents leads to emotionally disadvantaged kids.

Innumerable agencies are ready to collect financial support. Sadly, few agencies have any interest in enforcing visitation. Litigation is often necessary.

An increasing percentage of Dads have residential custody of their Kids, and more Moms are paying child support and alimony, and expecting visitation. Other variations include adoption and in-vitro fertilization.

Courts dread deciding family law issues because anger, unhappiness, and dissatisfaction are guaranteed for everyone except lawyers ($200+/hour), and other legal and mental health system savants ($90+/hour). That's why Courts strongly prefer mediation where Dad and Mom cooperatively resolve all their issues.

When you become adversaries, and someone believes their side is stronger, issues often fall back into the courtroom. Lawyers ($200+/hour) on both sides predict victory. Paperwork, deadlines, postponements, interrogatories, discovery (includes testifying against yourself!), mental evaluations, nothing, waiting, delays, surprises, then your day in court arrives. You believe the other side is lying. In the hallway outside your courtroom on judgement day, many give in and resolve everything. You can't. Different judges, on different days, drinking different coffees, hearing from different attorneys, understanding the same "facts" differently, would issue widely varying decisions. Your judge decides. A new lawyer ($200+/hour) insists "You were robbed! Appeal to a higher court!" Mom and Dad look for another lawyer to find new legal wounds to scratch. More time, $$$, and aggravation.

New "significant others", remarriage, jobs, homes, illnesses, and Kids just getting older, have all been known to initiate parental litigation even between heretofore cooperative parents. This continues until your Kids are grown.

Excepting the enforcement asymmetry between money and visitation, the current legal trend is towards formal gender neutrality. This is an enormous shift from the 18th century and earlier, where men had rights, women were property with weak rights, and children were just property. Today's women are advantaged when appearing before judges raised to believe that marriage is forever, women are fragile, and parents won't vengefully use family law. As products of broken families rewrite family law and ascend to the bench, we can hope for a lessening of actual gender inequities.


top     Are there Second Legal Chances?

The law values finality and process over truth and justice. Finality prevents the losing side from retrying the identical issues over and over. Process tries for greater fairness and consistency of judgements by following innumerable rules about "hearsay" evidence, deadlines, "dirty hands" penalties, ...  But notice that a truth discovered wrongly (unconstitutional, threats, ...) or too late (after trial, after a 30-day appeals deadline, ...), isn't admissible, and therefore finality trumps justice.

Fathers under the enormous strain of family breakup, are often persuaded to sign excessively burdensome Separation Agreements. Other Fathers withdraw into their "cave" to emotionally recover, then emerge after various family law deadlines have passed. Correcting these emotionally coerced mistakes is challenging and sometimes not possible.

Fathers (and all litigants in general) need to understand that you generally get a single chance at any given legal issue. This is why you need the best legal advice and your strongest legal arguments before you enter the courtroom. Wrongful decisions can be appealed, but lightning strikes more often than appeals courts reversing lower court decisions. Thereafter, some statutory review interval or "significant change in circumstances" must occur before you'll be allowed a second chance.

top     Why allege DOMESTIC, CHILD, SEXUAL ABUSE?

All incidents of domestic abuse, child abuse, and sexual abuse as traditionally defined are abhorrent, must be stopped, and certainly should be punished. Our comments here are limited to the modern "victimologist" definition of "abuse" faced by too many fathers as tactical nuclear weapons during divorce and separation conflicts.

The laudable intent of the abuse laws is to promptly and effectively stop the abuse. False "abuse allegations" are not an unforseen result of these laws, and innocent people will be hurt ("No good deed goes unpunished" and the children's fable of the "Boy Who Cried Wolf Too Often"). To enable a "swift and sure response" the initial "proof (or evidence) requirements" were minimized. No one could possibly disagree about preventing a wife from being pummeled by her husband, or immediately stopping deranged parental torture of innocent children. Most of us would agree that careful assessments should be addressed afterwards, at a more leisurely pace. The good intent is to stop the abuse immediately. These "abuse" laws gained effectiveness in the 1970's (for example, see Dave Peltier's worldwide best selling books A Child Called It, The Lost Boy, and A Man Called Dave, that detailed his nightmare childhood, rescue by social workers, and recovery as an adult).

Lawyers for women quickly recognized the powerful legal and moral advantages gained by "appropriately educating" their divorce clients about how to recognize "abuse" by "victimologist" standards. Failure to "educate" their divorce clients about "abuse" was arguably legal malpractice. Abuse allegations became so automatic in divorce and child custody proceedings since the 1970's, that they earned their own acronym "Sexual Abuse In Divorce (SAID)."

Abuse allegations were nearly unquestionable until several spectacularly false abuse allegations grabbed national headlines, including: The McMartin Preschool case in Los Angeles; The Edenton, North Carolina, 429 cases of alleged sexual abuse; and several "Recovered Memory Therapy" false abuse allegations by grown children against their parents. The eventual dismissal of all these hysterical "Salem Witch Hunts" after the falsely accused spent undeserved years in jail and after too many coerced plea agreements, meant the courts and the public were disgusted by this abuse of good intent.

Fathers in divorce and custody conflicts need to anticipate possible abuse allegations. Tragically, you can't prevent a false allegation. Even if demonstrably false and dismissed, you may be unable to remove your name from various government databases of sexual abusers or predators. The earlier false allegation spectaculars mean abuse allegations are no longer unassailable. You're going to need an experienced family law attorney (and possibly a criminal law attorney) to adequately address abuse allegations, and to ensure that your access rights to your children aren't affected. Courts can be so incensed at manufactured abuse allegations in divorce, that accusers have been stunned by loss of residential (primary) custody. Making reputation destroying false allegations is evidence of unfitness to parent. Come to our FUERF meetings to learn more.

top     What Questions are Typically Asked at FUERF Meetings?

These questions are about Dad, Mom, and their biological minor Kids.

top     What Issues Are Better Handled Elsewhere?

top     How Can I Avoid Being My Own Worst Enemy?

top     Ten Reasons Fathers Facing Family Law Troubles Don't Get Help