To all of our TFRM members and followers:
The Coronavirus, as well as the reactions and precautions taken in response to the virus, has impacted each and every one of us in some way. Whether your social media feed is fraught with memes about quarantine, or if you are actually quarantined, we are all in some way affected and have been watching very closely the developments in response to the virus. Regardless of the impact, everyone must put health and safety, especially of our children, at the forefront.
With consideration given to health and safety, TFRM encourages each and every Father to also make sure that you protect your rights throughout this ordeal. Many Fathers have already reached out with issues regarding their custodial periods being denied and the inability to pay child support while court hearings being delayed. Although frustration may be mounting on what is already a difficult situation, please remember to focus on what you can control and what you can do to protect yourself and your relationship with your child(ren).
First and foremost, absent exceptionally rare circumstances, never willfully violate a court order. If you believe that a safety issue exists whereas you feel a change in your court order is necessary, before you violate that order inform the court of your issues and proposed changes. If you cannot afford a lawyer to file on your behalf, please file a motion, pro se, detailing your concerns to the court.
Secondly, if you are being denied your custodial time, make sure that you maintain records of ALL communications between you and your child’s mother detailing your attempts to exercise your parenting time. Try to keep emotions at bay, as emotions tend to be used against men in court.
Third, if you are unable to pay your child support due to a decrease in your income, you should file for a modification. In many jurisdictions, the Judge can only decrease your child support from the date you filed for a modification. And remember, in general, past child support cannot be waived and arrears will continue to acquire with varying interest rates depending on your State. Also, should you lose work during this economic pause, reach out to your local unemployment office and apply for benefits. If you have custody of your children, or a substantial amount of residential time with them, inquire about food benefits. While WIC (women, infants, and children) may seem to be exclusive to mothers, these programs are available to men as well if they have children. For more information on this, contact your local social services office or visit their website
Lastly, we understand that many court dates are being cancelled and rescheduled. While we cannot control the dockets and scheduling of hearings, we can control the preparation for the hearings. Make sure that you have ALL of your evidence, witnesses and testimony ready for the court, and please do not make any decisions that may compromise your case.
We remind you to stay vigilant, postpone any unnecessary travel, do not expose your children to unnecessary risks and practice good hygiene. TFRM will continue to be here as a support system and resource for all of you good men fighting to be great dads.
-TFRM Board of Directors