When I first began practicing law, I was approached by the group Parents without Partners to be on their board as a legal advisor. I did this for numerous years. This was a great organization that not only allowed single people to meet other single people with children, but it also arranged and organized events that were child friendly so that single people would have things to do with their children during their parenting time. I have not been associated with the group in Fort Wayne for several years but it is my understanding it is still active.
During that time and up through the present, I have been the legal advisor for Fathers United for Equal Rights of Northeastern Indiana. This is a father’s rights group that over the years has encouraged fathers to act in the best interest of the minor children. This includes but is not limited to obtaining custody of children, maximizing parenting time with their children, obtaining equitable support, assigning tax dependency exemptions so that the parties with the greatest to gain by the exemption receives the exemption, helping fathers to plan their cases for the benefit of themselves and their children, help supervise parenting time if necessary, to ride along in the automobile with a parent when they are picking up or dropping off a child to act as a witness to the exchange of the minor children.
Fathers United for Equal Rights is an informal group with no dues, has one hundred percent (100%) volunteer staff, does not charge for attending meetings and helps father’s to be better parents. This is done through informal discussions at meetings with fathers discussing with others in attendance the various stages of paternity and/or divorce that they may be going through. Many people may find after participating in this group that their particular problems are not as bad as some and that there are ways to lessen the impact of divorce and paternity on children and to decrease their own stress due to the situations of not getting along with the other parent.
As the years have gone by, fathers have been receiving greater rights in the State of Indiana. Fathers now can obtain joint legal custody, primary physical custody and even sole legal custody and are accepted equally by the Court in such determinations. Support laws have changed over this period of time also to make certain that both parents and the child can reasonably live with the child having adequate support from each parent. This is done by not only giving specific parenting time but by allowing a person without physical custody on a specific day to have the children if they are available and the physical custodian cannot be with the child on that day. This in the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines is called “opportunities for additional parenting time”. It was more commonly referred to as a first right of refusal.
Fathers United for Equal Rights in Northeastern Indiana meets at the International House of Pancakes (“IHOP”) at the corner of Coldwater Road and Coliseum Blvd. across from Glenbrook Mall in Fort Wayne. The meetings are the second and fourth Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Please feel free to come to these meetings. For more information, you may call the group’s president, Robert Fraser at (260) 493-9788 or you can call me, Josh Tourkow, at (260) 426-0545.