Father's Rights: On-Line Legal Information
and Self Help Services

This article is about: how to search for and use on-line legal information and self-help services. I strongly believe that this short article is a critically important message to Father's (and those helping Father's) seeking to win their cases by utilizing on line legal information and services. If you are really serious about winning your case through utilization of on line legal information and self-help this article is a must read. I would also recommend that you read "The Truth About Family Court and Attorneys" prior to reading this article. Its information is a prerequisite to this article.

One more point before we begin: As I wrote in "The Truth About Family Court and Attorneys" you likely will not need an attorney to handle your case. However, you are going to need help from someone with experience in the Family law court system. In other words, you won't have to pay $3000.00 to $5000.00 plus plus... to an attorney but representing yourself is not free either. Further, to dispel a family law myth: there really is no such thing as a pro bono attorney in Family law. Pro bono attorneys are usually found in human rights, social injustice cases and some unique criminal cases but not in Family law. There are, as discussed above, a few court and bar association sponsored legal clinics that are free or low cost but they are very basic in nature and are usually limited to consultation. They do not provide the advanced services most Fathers really need. Wherefore if you are truly committed to resolving your case issues using on line information and acquired self-help legal services (including court filing fees) you can expect to spend from $500.00 to $1000.00 depending on the legal nature and difficulty of your case.

I became involved in the Father's rights movement in 1993 through a local support group called C.O.P.S. (Coalition of Parent Support.) Meetings were held twice a month and were visited by attorneys, judges, paralegals and local and State legislators that would speak to us on a variety of Family law/Fathers rights issues. That's how we learned about Fathers rights legal issues and how our respective cases should proceed. The internet was still in its infancy so we didn't have a lot of access to Fathers rights information as we do today. Further, there were no books, articles, tapes, videos to instruct us on the subject of Father's rights. We acquired additional information through visits to the local law library, court house, discussions with attorneys, marriage counselors, child psychologist and our own personal experiences in the Family law court. It was literally learning by trial and error but I really learned how it all worked and how to fight the legal battles. Equally as important I learned how to teach others how to fight the same battles.

Looking back on the 1990's, Fathers Rights legal issues have not significantly changed during last 23 years. Couples are still getting divorced, post judgment custody and child support battles are still common but the emergence of the World Wide Web, e-mail, cellular technology and social media has changed the way we search for information and assistance. Today, unlike the 1990's, when we have questions about Fathers rights/Family law problems and want answers we turn to the law firm of "Yahoo, Google, and Bing". Seriously, it has become easier and quicker for us to do an internet search than ask another human. We can search from home, work, and car or anywhere we have access to the internet. Ultimately we will locate and click on a link that will direct us to a website/webpage that may or may not have the information we really need. Point is: Fathers that are served with divorce papers, a hearing notice for a change in custody and/or child support, domestic violence restraining orders and/or other assorted family law problems are now turning to the internet to find answers and solutions. In fairness I need to point out that there is an upside and a downside to internet based legal information and assistance.

Although the internet has become a great source for obtaining Fathers rights legal information and related legal services it is not problem free. Among the relevant and useful information on the web is also a growing amount of bad and misleading information. Determining that which is relevant, correct and useful from the irrelevant, incorrect and unusable can be difficult and even dangerous if used incorrectly. Wherefore there needs to be some discussion on the good versus bad information available and just as important the types of information and services most Fathers are really searching for and need.

In 1996 I opened my Fathers rights law office and at the same time I also created one of the first Fathers rights websites. In 1997 I wrote the Fathers Rights Survival Guide and began offering it on my website. I could have never imagined that the Fathers rights website would almost instantly exceed the law office in popularity and become a far greater source of information and legal assistance and remains so as of this writing. In fact, in 1999 the website had become so popular that I closed my law office and dedicated myself exclusively to Father rights legal and political matters.

Over past 17 years I have personally counseled and advised thousands of American Fathers in relationship to their specific family law cases. These same American Fathers who had experienced the bias and discrimination against dads in family court learned that attorneys were not the answer and in many cases attorney were the problem. The Fathers also learned that correct and relevant on line legal information and reputable self-help legal services worked very well in resolving their case issues.

Are you aware that most States today provide some form of family law self-help or legal aid services? Did you know that most family law court forms can be down loaded from the court or State government websites? Many States now have on-line filing and offer payment methods for posting court fees. Truthfully, many American Fathers have found on line legal information and self-help far more effective than paying $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 to an attorney that did little more than file paperwork and post fees. Many Fathers I spoke with believe that their former attorneys offered very little legal information and assistance and were mostly part of the problem not the solution. There are other types of legal assistance available.

Family courts today are becoming more self-help friendly and accommodating to Fathers that wish to represent themselves but there are still States that are more user self-help friendly than others so it's still a work in progress. Keep in mind that court clerks still cannot answer legal questions or even suggest the right form (s). On the other hand most court sponsored self-help legal aid centers do have an attorney (s) you can speak with and most do provide very basic (limited assistance) information and instruction on preparing the required legal forms and related court procedures. Legal aid self-help offices are usually free and many offer limited on-line information through the court website. Be advised that legal aid self-help offices might not offer the degree of assistance you really need. There are other low costs options available.

On line legal information and services are available. I would advise doing a Yahoo, Google and Bing search using a key word/phrase that describes your area of concern. (i.e. Father's rights custody, Fathers rights visitation, Father rights child support etc. etc....) You can even add your State to the search term. Please keep in mind most good Fathers rights groups that offer relevant and useful information and services may not appear on the first page of the search so be sure you search through the first 3 to 4 pages. Most of what you will find on the first page of Fathers rights search results page will be of little use to you. These groups are not bad they just don't provide the type of information and services you need. They are social support groups, political action groups and children's rights groups. They are mostly good BUT again they are not what you are looking for.

When you arrive at a web site/page that discusses the topic for which you are searching be very cautious about the accuracy of the content. No matter how favorable the information may be to your case always confirm the validity of the content (content comparison) by comparing it to information on other web site/pages of the same topic. Most importantly never file court papers or take other legal action solely based upon what you have read on-line. Focus on learning about the correct legal issues and court procedure, not paperwork. Remember, filing paperwork is the easy part of your case and is easily obtained for free or very low cost. Be very cautious about filing paperwork. Filing the wrong documents at the wrong time with the wrong information can doom your case. You can even be banned from filing again with the courts permission. The Family court is respectful of your constitutional right to represent yourself however it is a VERY unforgiving system. You must get this right the first time!!!!! Filing paperwork without a solid legal strategy and plan is dangerous and can irreparably harm your case.

If and when you find it necessary to file for a court hearing I would advise searching for a Fathers rights legal service that can answer your questions and navigate you through the court system. Finding a Fathers rights specialist is by far the most important part of your search. Representing yourself in court (pro-se) is very doable these days BUT you will need the assistance of a legal specialist (Fathers rights specialist) that can advise, teach and navigate through the process. They can also review all your court documents to make sure you are on the right path. A good Fathers rights specialist is worth his/her weight in gold! Again, you likely won't need an attorney ($3000.00 to $5000.00 initial retainer) but you will need help from someone knowledgeable and experienced with the Family court system.

When you have been counseled and directed by a legal professional and/or Fathers Rights Specialist and decided that you are ready to file papers with the court you have another option other than free legal aid which only provides basic/minimal assistance. I would suggest that you do another web search for an independent paralegal or document preparation specialist. There are a number of them in each State. They can help you prepare your documents to make sure they are correct. They can also file the papers with the court and serve the other party. They provide an invaluable service and are reasonably priced.

Finally, I would like to invite you to check out our legal information and services on this website. Our Advocate Plans are very effecting in resolving Father's rights problems. I've been doing this for many years and would love the opportunity to help you. Please read through our website and click on the Advocate Plan icon in the menu bar. If you have questions about the plans just e-mail me and I will be glad to reply.

Click Here For More Infomation On The Advocate Plans

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