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Walk the Talk / Giving Back / Paying it Forward

Separated Dads need to convert their stated love for their children into action for change ... and to be prepared to cover the costs of those who help them and ideally subsequently help others.

Attending DiDs for the past 2 1/2 years has taught me that many blokes complain (uncharitably called 'boo hoo') but not all act to try and change the situation for their children and for themselves.  (Additionally, many do not tell all the real story upfront but try and gloss over important facts and issues that later come back to bite them on the bottom.)

Some say they love their kids SO much but then want/expect others (you/me) to do all the work - I won't.  I'll point 'em in the right direction and provide whatever resources but I expect them to do their work for their children and situation.  It might sound hard but it's their children, their love, consequently their (responsibility for) action!  It is unwise to give up control of one's family law matters and to outsource them.

Fortunately for some of these blokes around the country, they have found groups like SRL-Resources who (to date) have helped for free, and out of their own personal resources of time and money.

It amazes me that these blokes claim such GREAT love for their children but it is not matched by directed, purposeful and ongoing (persevering) effort.

What is also annoying is when blokes complain and call for action and you/me/someone offers to help but then the blokes don't follow through and provide the requested/needed details and documents and don't turn up at appointments to discuss issues and talk about information, strategies and tactics.

Some of these Dads are more active on forums, complaining about the situation, but with little or no followup about converting that into action for change for themselves and their children.  Let alone any broader political or systemic change.  Such men need to be called to account on the contradiction between what they say and what they do.

That said I realise that some are emotionally battered, dazed and confused, etc. and a bit like a bunny in spotlight.  But at the end of the day they are the ones responsible for themselves and for their children.  Life may not be, and ISN'T fair, but we have to work from where we are, in order to get to where we want to be!

I don't want to silence men and Dads from complaining and whinging.  Too many do; they want to shut men down and out.  They find it uncomfortable, or unmanly.  But men do have the right to talk about and share the problems and oppressions and injustices in their lives.  All I ask is that they match the rhetoric (talk) with action: walk the talk

Then there's the fact that some of these blokes want help but don't want to pay - they want everything for free AT OTHER'S EXPENSE.  They are prepared to eat up our time and our resources, at our expense, and they don't want to cover expenses or make any contribution toward them.  Not all.  But some think we are just on this earth to help them.  Most would be more attentive if they had to cover costs and make a contribution.  They take advantage of people who are motivated to work for change and who are already giving support and help to them to others.  It is a disappointing state of affairs.  We should pay for what we get.  What we pay for we tend to value.

And it would be great if more of those who have been helped paid it forward and went went on to help others.  Currently what tends to happen is that once Dads have been helped, they've gotten what they want, they just walk, just walk away, thinking only of themselves.

They neither offer to:

1) Pay for the expenses (time and resources - such a phone calls, faxes, emails, photocopies, transport, subscriptions to publications and information, even attendances to support at court etc) incurred by others in providing the help they received; or

2) Subsequently help others, coming behind them, with similar problems and issues.

Sometimes those who help are left wondering if the evident selfishness is the reason those Dads' relationships didn't work.  :o
The most important thing that my Dad taught me, was to help others. His reasoning was that if you don't, the day you need a hand up, there may not be one there.

 

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

Costs

And just in case you are still wondering about costs, I recently purchased two updated law books at a cost of $160 and a new ink for my laser printer, another $150.

A family law specialist is $400 per hour!

Our time is limited; more and more people request it… so something will give.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
Some very valuable points.

One of the hardest things to do is to keep the "Tribe" close. I use the term tribe because in essence humans are still tribal but society has pushed us further apart and thinned us out.

The amount of time and money saved by the those who use the services, help and support of the site seems to go unappreciated and that is a reflection on society and it's selfishness.

It would be a great loss to see such a valuable support service disappear.

When the financial cost concerning my X's lawyer came through it would have cost her over $20k and this was just the first day in front of judge, surely this is worth a nice little donation from what you've saved?
One of the great things about charity is that it can make a person feel good to give. If they are no longer able to do that or feel put upon then maybe its time to do something else.

Of course the operating model is to get government to handout money to help people do their charitable work - this can sometimes be done by setting up a charitable donation mentality (not for profit org) organizations can apply for this status to the ATO .This makes donations tax deductible.

One of the great things about society is having groups WHO DO support others without the expectation of recompense. I Like the IDEA OF IT. That's one reason why the latest idea of PAYING CARERS (e.g. stay at home mums) who care for children grates. Everyone wants money, all the time from someone else.

As far as the notion of appreciation goes - sometimes it takes people a lifetime to recognize what has happened in their life and what they need to do - how to value the interaction with others . Sometimes they never reach that point.

As no paid service is being supplied it also represents a no cost /no responsibility process - no liability - this protects well intentioned charitable people from being employed in a 'job' or held to account for essentially free advice and help. I.e by being free its not a contract.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough

Costs

Jon Pearson said
One of the great things about charity is that it can make a person feel good to give. If they are no longer able to do that or feel put upon then maybe its time to do something else.
The problem is that they do something else, due to the cost they incur. Law is not cheap. To keep up with the latest rules and cases we have to subscribe to some very expensive subscriptions. Just to keep up requires a tremendous amount of reading and time. Then you have to couple this with the set of skills required to help with the law, prepare cases and understand it inside out. You are not left with many people.

I do get the feeling you begrudge paying someone's costs.

Any way, back to my 700 page Family Law book and then forensic accounting for family lawyers!

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
I have paid costs - $70,000 plus in legal fess. I have paid my dues and don't ask for legal advice here (nor do I offer it).

Its not the small things about the individuals (although important) its the fact that so many people are desperate and out of their minds with fear and panic about what the legal system does to them and their children. Millions of people are affected by this but the government devotes MORE MONEY to the relative small percentages of people who suffer other pains.

Its simply not recognised by the government, politicians in general, the legal frat, etc - THE SYSTEMATIC ABUSE that people go through - for to do so would open up a can of worms and guilt that took 50 YEARS for the government to acknowledge with the "stolen Generation" speech.

Even then -  Rudd and Nelson lacked the insight to understand the repeating patterns of governments as they abuse people while using the excuse of "saving" them.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough

Commitment

Recently I sat beside a SRL through his trial. Eight days. Plus many many hours helping him prepare his case, including the entire weekend before the trial stated on Monday.

He had received his ex wife's affidavit, with her evidence in chief, on the Friday. It included 90 new paragraphs, mostly relating to welfare allegations in relation to the children. The SRL faced the difficult choice - prepare to respond in court, have the material disallowed or ask for an adjournment, likely to be months (in fact the trial did not finish in the four days allocated and ran another 4 days, 4 months later) The father had taken annual leave from work. Valuable time which cut into his leave time available to be with three small children. And of course no real action for costs thrown away because he was SRL.

Also note, that in her financial statement, the mother claimed to have spent $130K in legals with her daddy providing the slush fund. Her plan was she got the children, the house and other assets and he got the bills. The way his ex wife had started and run her agenda, she effectively defined how everything happened for two years.

Why did I commit to sit beside him for that length of time? Because the stress on him had not let up for the entire period. He doubted his own ability to think, let alone run a case in court. Like most SRLs he did not recognise inconsistencies in her evidence, instead being more hurt by the allegations and innuendo she offered as evidence. And because the man was dying inside; he saw no future.

We are still waiting for the reserved decision. Despite the hurdles he faced, including English as a second language, this SRL managed his case well enough for the Judge to have at least one sleepless night. This is against a very experienced solicitor and barrister. At the end of day three, the judge commented "We are 3 days into a 4 day trial with one party represented by senior counsel and the other self represented. And the self rep has not caused any delay". On day one the Judge was not happy about the late affidavit, or the fact that it contained a large amount of new material. The Judge offered an adjournment, indicating that while he would listen to a motion to disallow the new evidence, it would be unlikely to succeed because of the nature of the allegations.

Could he have done it alone - I doubt it. Would he have done it alone - no way (his words). Could he afford a comparable legal team - no way.

Also worth noting is the Judge's clear indication that he would grant an application for interim orders giving the children 6 nights with dad. Sadly both my printer and his ran out of ink so we were unable print then lodge such an application. The nature of the trial meant the opportunity did not arise again because there were always more pressing issues to be addressed.

That level of support requires experience and commitment to be effective. That level of support deserves the costs being met.

To simply suggest that some one who can't afford or won't do it for nothing any more should "do something else" is extraordinarily wasteful.

Wasteful of the experience gained.

For someone to dismiss legals of $70K is to ignore reality. $70K is well in excess of the average male gross income. Most don't have it available. And by the time many people learn enough to effectively self rep, it is too late!

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
Well spoken Mr oneadadc perhaps the belief in paying it forward may yet live on in those who can afford to donate money and those who can't to share and support.

There is a movie of the same name for those who are interested 'Pay it Forward'.

Keeping ethics pure can mean not following the piper and this may reduce funds but you have your piece of mind intact.

sadly ethics don't put ink in the printer

Or paper to print on, pay the phone bill or put petrol in the car. Let alone put food on the table.

Ethics is being willing to say "you are being unreasonable" to someone with unreasonable expectations.

Ethics is saying I won't help you pursue that course.

The rest is a debate over what someone should provide in return the use of another's skill, knowledge and experience.

Even legal aid expect a contribution from those they represent. Many who cant effectively afford a solicitor still don't qualify for assistance either because of the gap between the legal aid means test and the reality of average wages. Or the merit test, if administered in a minimalist way. He's seeing the kids occasionally, who cares about a few dozen contraventions.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
Not having a go at the work people do - but the people who need this help are the ones least likely to be able to afford it. It's unlikely that people who have loads of money - in the above example say - the wife's father - would be likely to donate money to a cause devoted to supporting struggling men as they try to self-represent.

So how to get some costs (consumables, capabilities - printer, toner, phone calls, parking costs, petrol, etc.)?

WE COULD ask the Tax Office to allow Tax Deductions for work associated with this charity. It's a bit like people who give $2 to the Red Cross and treat it as a Tax Deduction. Maybe the hundreds on dollars spent could be a Tax deduction.

Maybe all Family Court costs could be TAX deductible and automatically fully included in reducing CSA debt for the first 10 years?

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Jon Pearson said
One of the great things about charity is that it can make a person feel good to give. If they are no longer able to do that or feel put upon then maybe its time to do something else.
What an insulting comment to the people that help. Who says it is Charity, Matrix makes a good point in his post about this type of issue.

Your comments come from Cloud Cuckoo land.

I am certain that when people have spent all night preparing documents for the next day, they must feel really good about it?

Is it so much to ask for out of pocket expenses?
I don't believe the ones who need this most are those who can't afford it.

Personally speaking this site would have been a godsend at the time, but seeing as I had little, the only one who spent money was the X.

I had support enough to make it through. And I could not afford food at the time.

There are all sorts of people who need help in differing ways weather they be rich or poor due to the legal representation and the poor facilitation of the law.

Education is a big part of the problem and I bang on about this all the time because I feel many are misled by their representation whom they trust emphatically.

Although making the cost of family law would be of benefit to some who can afford these costs and maintain them for a financial year those who do not have this ability are once again discriminated from the benefits.

The whole issue is not charity that is not what paying forward is about, it's about doing for someone what has been done for you, some like myself may not be able to afford to donate but if I can help others in any way I will and have done for some years, many others here have done a thousand times more than I and have ask little for those they do it for yet have saved them triple figures. They may not afford costs but I hope in some way they help as they have been helped.

Although laterally thinking I can't see the government giving tax breaks for family law and if they did you would find people with money would simply abuse the system and use it as a deduction that may see cases dragged out for years with no end in sight, basic abuse that would receive extensive media coverage and do nothing for those who need resolution like the children.
Guest said
What an insulting comment to the people that help.
I have done many things many times over many years for others in a charitable way, likewise I have done many things, many times over many years for payment. I for one, and as I would guess many other volunteers, say the SES, Rural Fire service and the list goes on, get far greater personal value from the charitable assistance than I get from my paid work.

What I would find more insulting is that someone would take it upon themselves to speak for myself without asking me if they could do so.

However yes I do think that people should see the true value of what they are getting and offer compensation. However offering assistance, without being forthright upfront about expectations, e.g. (look I can help you, and save you a lot, however I need for x and y to be paid for), is also not really the best way.
 
MikeT said
However yes I do think that people should see the true value of what they are getting and offer compensation. However offering assistance, without being forthright upfront about expectations, e.g. (look I can help you, and save you a lot, however I need for x and y to be paid for), is also not really the best way.
I was always told about the out-of-pocket expenses, so there was no surprise.

Also people must be pretty strange if they expect someone to give away 60 hours of their time without even getting a cup of coffee.

As I understand it some people are just too happy to take the help and walk away and do nothing to help change the system.

This is often the problem with men's organizations: they all want to talk but when it comes to chipping in - the cupboard is bare.

Go to a DIDS meeting and watch the pittances that go in the pot, and then watch half the guys go to the pub afterwards.
Conan.  Are you offering coffee for the calculator?  ;)
MikeT said
Conan.  Are you offering coffee for the calculator?  ;)
I would if I were using the calculator, but we can all see you are doing something tangible. I wonder if anyone using and asking about the calculator even wonders where this site hosting comes from and who pays for it. Probably they don't think or are just a part of the everything free brigade.
I guess it doesn't hurt to be reminded about the fact these things do cost and it is worth a donation to keep things going, as has been seen it is not possible for all to do so at the time they are going through conflict because of associated costs etc and as this is a virtual pot unlike the one Conan describes at a DID's meeting it will off course be even harder.

Perhaps the site can adopt a status symbol for paid members for a yearly subscription, I am not suggesting other do not receive the same valuable advice but more towards a badge of pride and support of the site.

It could be placed where those little faces and star things go.

Those who are in the executives who I believe already monetarily sacrifice to help would no doubt have paid their dues and much more.

Just an idea how do other feel about this it would bond the larger family and hopefully encourage others to be part of the support of the site?
The whole costs, work, pay it forward type things is complex.

The idea about charity is that is SHOULD BE just that - with no expectation.e.g. donate money to red cross. The idea of helping someone is maybe a bit of mutual help is expected - costs, coffee, etc.

The idea of work is then how much you get paid for what work (and are liable for the result).

The idea of pay it forward is that some time in the future the person who benefits helps someone else.

The problem is that if all these models operate on this site - it's not really clear to the person who is being helped which one is operating. How do they know how much to give or pay and when? Is this something that they must work out themselves or do they need to have some sort of "contract" and does it vary with whoever is helping?

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Jon.

To avoid any confusion you may have - it is not a charity and never has been and there has always been an expectation that the person providing the help should not be left out of pocket.

These models do not operate throughout this site - you have one group that provides a service that can save people large amounts of money; however in doing so many of its people are paying out several hundreds of dollars a week.

Pay it forward - we wish! Too many broken promises in that department.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
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