Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Divorced Fathers Network

I went to a support group for divorced fathers, the Divorced Fathers Network. The one-hour meeting was run by the founder. His book was available for $10. He tried to get everyone to memorize their mission statement:
The Divorced Father’s Network is a grass roots peer support non-profit founded in 1987. Based in Santa Cruz County, DFN is dedicated to improving the lives of children, fathers and mothers by supporting engaged, effective shared parenting after divorce.
Strangely, the mission statement is not on his web site.

He was a bit defensive about the group; he implied that some people are critical of men attending a meeting with other divorced fathers.

His group does have the respect of the courts. He said that they give certificates to those who attend 12 meetings, and apparently some fathers have to present the certificates to the family court in order to comply with court orders. I didn't think that it was a very productive meeting.

A reader (who calls himself Masculiste) writes:
It's not supposed to be productive. It's supposed to do what the courts want it to do, as long as it wants the funding to continue...
I guess I am a little naive. I thought that it was a genuine support group. When I got to the meeting, the leader asked me why I was there. I mentioned that I was looking for ideas on dealing with the courts, among other things. This seemed to be squarely within the groups charter, as I want the court to let me do more shared parenting. But every time I started to say something in the meeting, the leader rudely cut me off. I couldn't figure out why, as he let others talk.

Now I wonder if the group is funded by the court, on the condition that no one be allowed to criticize the court. I wasn't going to criticize the court, but maybe the leader thought that I might. If Masculiste is correct, then the group is creepy.

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