First, a bit of background about me... I'm a divorced, now remarried father of two. My first marriage lasted 9 years, resulting in two wonderful children. In the process, we went through four separate marriage counselors before deciding to end our marriage. With each counselor came recommendations for change but when those recommendations conflicted with my ex-wife's opinion, the sessions were promptly terminated (by her) thus the number of people we spoke with. I am a responsible, hard-working father both in my parenting and professional life. I pay my child support religiously. My family is my world. When going through divorce the process, I was shocked to see firsthand the unfair bias against responsible Dad's like myself. To save money and time, I went through the divorce pro se (without an attorney). My ex had a friend who practices family law and all documents were drafted by her attorney. I found I often ended up compromising far more than the other side, in the interests of completing the procedings in any reasonable amount of time so that I and my children could move on and begin the next phase of our lives. My ex agreed verbally to re-evaluate the terms of the divorce at certain milestones in the childrens' lives. Shocking, I know, but when those milestones came and went, my ex denied any knowledge of those verbal agreements and refused to even discuss adjusting parenting time with me despite an earlier mediation session where she agreed. As any devoted father would do, I fought the good fight. I hired an attorney to help correct some of the wrongs from the original decree and agreements. Because the documents were drafted with an obvious bias, we had an uphill battle. Further, my ex's friend took on her case pro bono which meant I was the only one paying any attorney's fees in the process. Their strategy was clear. They stalled and took as long as possible to even acknowledge communications, let alone have a substantive discussion on the issues and work to a mutually agreeable solution. They were trying to get me to give up by making this as costly as possible. It almost worked. I financed the legal battle with bank loans and credit cards. In all, I spent more than $40,000 to make things right. Money well spent as my family enjoys our time together and the children are beginning to come into their own with every additional day we spend together, but the debt has taken on a life of it's own and demands it's own attention before it takes over another aspect of life. Here's where you can help. The expenses of this legal fight nearly bankrupt me. I feel I need to repay my debts as opposed to simply declaring bankruptcy and walking away from those responsibilities. At the same time, I'm struggling to make those loan and credit card payments without sacrificing the very time with my children I worked so hard to regain. Anything you can do will help. I'm having a custom lapel pin designed respresenting my fight and that of so many other good fathers out there. It's relatively inexpensive to do, only about $1/pin (I'll post photo's of the pin when the design is finalized). I'd like to use this opportunity to raise some money to help my personal situation and create a conversation piece to help raise awareness of this growing problem. If we raise enough money, I'd like to start a foundation to help other good Dad's fight the good fight. The laws and bias of the courts are outdated and need to be revisited! Thanks in advance for your time in reading this, your help in my personal situation, and your support in fighting the good fight for responsible and dedicated fathers everywhere!
P. S. I didn't post pictures of the kids as I have a general concern about that. As I research more, I may change my mind on that but the artwork is a drawing my Son completed last year. I love it. I hope you do, too.