This past Saturday at the UIC Forum, Anderson & Boback joined more than a dozen other law firms in offering free legal advice to fathers embroiled in custody and child support disputes. The non-profit group Fathers Helping Fathers organized the all-day, first-ever “Dad School” event which was open to any dad, free of charge, interested in connecting with his children.
More than 90 dads registered and received a 40 to 50 minute session with a lawyer. Representatives from the Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Police Department, the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services, and the Secretary of State’s office were also on hand to answer questions for dads, many eager to save their relationship with their children.
My colleague, fellow associate attorney Alexandra Martinez, and I participated in sessions with dads whose questions ran the gamut—issues about mortgage foreclosure and supervised parenting time. The organizers had partitioned off several small “conference rooms” allowing for privacy and each dad came in with a completed questionnaire which summarized the issues in his case. It was remarkable how much we could accomplish in a 40 to 50 minutes. Of course we did not resolve their entire case but you know the dads walked away feeling better and they didn’t have to spend a month’s pay getting that advice.
Organizers Aaron Del Mar and Mike Smolka, two dads who founded the Fathers Helping Fathers organization, say by all accounts the event was a success and they intend on doing it again. Their group offers numerous resources (helpful for all parents) which can be found at fathershelpingfathers.com