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KEEP HOPE ALIVE: Stories of Fathers & Attorneys Who Have Beaten the Odds in Family Court

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By: Timothy E. Rogus, J.D.

Young Father Keeps Son Close to Him

Last year, I was retained by a client whose ex-wife was trying to move their 7-year-old son with her new fiancé from Illinois to Massachusetts. So the mother petitioned the court for the required order, saying that the benefits of removing the child far from dad outweighed the advantages of the child remaining in Illinois in the present custody arrangement.

 As we began to aggressively prepare for the case, I was shocked to see how quickly the court had fast-tracked the hearing. We filed for a continuance, on the ground that more time was needed for proper discovery, but this motion was denied by the court. The week leading up to the trial was filled with countless hours of preparation. My client and I spent the entire pre-trial weekend in the office preparing and interviewing witnesses, reviewing exhibits and formulating strategy.

At trial, I strategically presented many witnesses and evidence, showing that my client was a very vital part of his son’s life. He was not just an unnecessary and disposable part of his son’s life, but was a full-time dad. Moreover, the father had a large extended family in Illinois who had always been a large part of the life of his young son.

 After three days of trial, the trial judge, after careful deliberation, could not look past our evidence and our witnesses. It was clearly evident that my client was an extremely loving father and that he played a major role in the life of his son. The trial judge denied the mother permission to remove the child from Illinois. The mother has since married her fiancé and they have remained in Illinois where my client is still a very active and very happy father.  

Publishers Note:
As someone who has spent more than 20 years as a domestic relations attorney, fighting in the trenches for fathers, I have seen how too often society has failed in their duty to protect the family unit and instead seeks out punitive measures against men.

Some would say there is an unwritten, “anti-male” bias that exists in many of today’s family law courts, especially in child custody cases. Too often in our current system husbands and fathers are viewed as biological necessities, but social accidents.

But even in the face of bias, fathers must never give up when it comes to protecting their children. So in an effort to help give fathers some hope, each edition we will spotlight a case in which a father has beaten the odds in family court and gained extended custody or related rights with his children.

March 2, 2009 at 10:26 pm Leave a comment


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