Fathers' and Children's Equality
A nonprofit support and self-help group for
non-custodial parents and their families.
1990 - 2015
The following are some of FACE's success stories. There have been other more recent successes, and another dozen children have been rescued from one-parent custody. Because the specific circumstances in these cases would identify the parties involved, to prevent embarrassment to anyone, we elect not to write of these cases at this time.
Another child saved
from one-parent custody
Score card changes to 64 children saved.
November 14, 2011 -- Sorry ... To protect the parties' privacy we can't give a lot of details now. Dad joined FACE six months before he filed for divorce and was counseled by FACE throughout the entire process. He says its the best decision he ever made. Mom, with the help of women's shelter and her free lawyer, tried all the tricks -- False domestic violence allegations ... Dad beat the final restraining order. False child sexual abuse allegations ... Dad uncovered it early and stopped the unneeded therapy. Fabricated DYFS charges ... All unfounded. Dad was represented by a lawyer, but he stayed in control of negotiations instead of just letting the lawyer decide what to do. The parties agreed to a 50/50 custody arrangement very early in the case. The divorce was final today. Both parents share joint legal custody and shared physical custody of the child with neither parent designated the Parent of Primary Residence. We will provide more details when we can. Meanwhile, Dad is now another experienced FACE member, ready to help others.
Increase FACE's score to 63.
Oops ... We just realized that we forgot to include in our score two children whose two parent status was assured when their parents divorce was final in April 2011. Mom filed for divorce, but she and Dad continued residing in the marital home with their two daughters, age 11 and 3. Early on, Mom's lawyer made a child custody proposal. Dad, who represented himself through most of the case, took FACE's advice to never agree to anything that you are not willing to live with for the rest of your life. He held out for a 50/50 physical custody arrangement, which was agreed to early in the case. All that was then left to fight about was property and money, and toward the end Dad hired a lawyer. Dad wanted the final marital settlement agreement to say the parents equally shared custody of the children and that neither parent was the Parent of Primary Residence. Lawyer said that could not be done, but Dad held out, directed his lawyer what he wanted, and refused to sign anything that did not include what he wanted and what he felt was in the girls' best interest. Now, the girls have equal time with both of their parents, and neither parent is designated Parent of Primary Residence.
Another child rescued
FACE's score card changed from 60 to 61 cases.
Background – Unmarried Mom and Dad have three children together – an adult son, a teenage daughter, and a now 8-year-old daughter. Mom and Dad broke up a few years ago when. Mom then met someone new -- in jail. The facts that he was a con man with a long criminal record, was addicted to drugs and alcohol, was over $100K in arrears in child support for his own children, was dodging child support enforcement in New York, his ex-wife had a domestic violence restraining order against him, and that he was court-ordered to have no contact with his own children didn't seem to bother her. She moved him into her house with her children and her own senior-dementia father. Once there, new boyfriend had to establish his role as king of the house by getting rid of all the male competition, so he conned Mom into throwing out her own adult son and getting a domestic violence restraining order to keep Dad away.
We first met Dad in the spring of 2010. Mom's restraining order gave him parenting time, but most of the time Mom was withholding the kids. He showed us a video of, when he was at Mom's house to pick up the kids, his then 7-year-old daughter coming to his truck and crying because Mom had told her that, if she goes with Dad, she would be punished when she returned. A few weeks later teenage daughter found new boyfriend's heroin kit in the house. Teenage daughter resented that Mom had to go to work and that new boyfriend just stayed home all day playing computer games and contacting other women on Facebook. Teenage daughter was very uncomfortable around new boyfriend and afraid of him.
In summer 2010 Dad was able to get teenage daughter to a FACE representative who told her about how other kids had changed their own custody. Shortly thereafter, while at Dad's home for the weekend, teenage daughter refused to leave. Even when Mom brought the police, teenage daughter and Dad were able to convince them that forcing her to go back to the house with new boyfriend was not in her best interest. Dad later went to court, judge interviewed teenage daughter, and Dad was given custody of her. Mom since then has made no effort to contact teenage daughter. We reported this last year as another child rescued.
But that left now 8-year-old daughter still in the house with Mom and new boyfriend. Mom, meanwhile, was now pregnant with new boyfriend's baby, and eventually married new boyfriend. Dad knew 8-year-old was subjected to lots of mental abuse, but that couldn't be proven. There was physical abuse too, but even complaints to DYFS were ruled "unfounded." That is to be expected when a highly skilled con man is running the house. Dad took pictures of 8-year-old's cuts and bruises every time she was with him. Teenage daughter told 8-year-old how she had just refused to return to Mom's house. 8-year-old tried it too, but did not have the maturity and tenacity to pull it off.
Meanwhile Dad, through some internet research, found new husband's ex-wife. He got from her copies of court orders regarding new husband's acts of domestic violence, non-payment of child support and abuse of his own children. In early October he went back to court again, presented evidence of physical abuse of younger daughter, new husband's drug abuse and abuse of his own children. Dad was given temporary custody of 8-year-old, and a return date of October 25th was set for a final determination of custody.
October 25, 2011 – Mom began by saying that she had always had custody of 8-year-old, and she should be returned to her. Judge said he had already awarded Parent of Primary Residence status to Dad, and that Mom now has the burden of proof to show why 8-year-old should be returned to her. He also said, regardless of who got custody, it would be the court's objective that both parents have time with the child.
Mom said she wanted to call witnesses, but they couldn't get off from work, and she wanted them to testify by phone. Judge said that could be done if Dad agreed. Dad said he had no objection to telephone witnesses because he, too, wanted to call witnesses by phone. Mom said she didn't know who Dad's witnesses were. Judge said there was no discovery for this hearing, and Dad did not have to tell her in advance who his witnesses are. Mom withdrew her request for telephone witnesses rather than risk what Dad's witnesses would say.
Mom called her sister and sister-in-law as witnesses. Both said they had never seen Mom do anything physically abusive to 8-year-old, and they had never seen Dad do anything either. New husband was also in court. Judge had him drug tested. Since he had almost a month to clean himself up, test came back negative.
Dad called as witnesses adult son and his wife. Neither had been well prepared to be a witness in court, and both annoyed the judge. Daughter-in-law testified about witnessing Mom beating 8-year-old with a metal-handled hair brush, causing a cut to open on her head.
At the end of testimony, judge's decision is that 8-year-old stays with Dad. Mom will have supervised parenting time with her every weekend from mid-day Saturday until Sunday evening, during which time new husband is to be out of the house. Parenting time will be supervised by teenage daughter. Dad likes that because now Mom will be forced to have a parent-child relationship with her too.
So Dad gets to keep both girls, Mom gets parenting time, but the girls are protected from Mom's new husband. It took Dad over a year to rescue both girls from their abusive mother, but he kept at it. This case is a prime example of Never Give Up and Never Do Nothing.
2 More Children Rescued!
November 17, 2010 -- FACE proves again that Mom doesn't own child, and every child has a right to know both parents. Number of children rescued from one-parent custody changes from 58 to 60 with 2 new cases.
Case #1: Married Mom and Dad of a 12 month old boy separate, with both parents returning to their parents' homes. Mom tells Dad "You can have visitation only when I say you can." Dad hasn’t seen child in a month. He comes to FACE for assistance. We tell him, since no one has been to court yet, and there is no custody order, both parents' custody rights are equal. Next time you have the child, if you can do so without breaching the peace, just keep him. Mom wants to party next weekend, so she drops child off with Dad. Sunday at 4:00PM Dad calls and tells Mom "I'm not returning child." Mom comes to Dads house with her big, aggressive father and brothers. While they are pounding on the door, Dad calls 9-1-1. Police arrive within minutes. Police officer comes in and asks Dad "Why don't you just be a nice guy and give the baby back to the mother?" Dad says "I haven't seen my son for over a month. She has no more custody rights than I do. Until we go to court, Mom can see child any time she wants, in my house." Police tell Mom that, without a court order, they can't remove child from Dad. Mom comes back a couple of hours later, saying "I just want to kiss the baby goodnight." Dad allows her in, lets her hold baby, and stands between her and the door. Mom tries to run out of house with baby, but can't get past Dad. Dad gets hold of child, turns his back to Mom to protect child, and Mom strikes out at Dad. Dad's sister calls 9-1-1. Mom runs away. When police arrive, they see marks on Dad's back, and tell him he can get a domestic violence restraining order against Mom. Dad says no because he wants to be able to mediate with Mom. A few days later they try mediation, but mediation is not successful. Now Dad sees no reason not to, so he applies for and gets temporary restraining order giving him custody of child, At final restraining order hearing, parents' lawyers negotiate a deal: Civil restraints instead of DV order, each parent has parenting time 7 days out of each 2 weeks, and communication between parents only by text or email, except in emergencies.
Case #2: Unmarried couple have a 6 month old daughter. Couple broke up before child was born. Mom has only allowed Dad to see child twice shortly after birth. Mom told Dad "We're not together any more. Leave us alone and move on with your life." Dad refused to accept that. He went to court to file for parenting time, but was told he would first have to prove paternity. Mom didn't put Dad's name on birth certificate, so Dad requested DNA testing. Mom then cut off all communication with Dad. That's when Dad came to FACE for assistance. DNA paternity testing proves that Dad is the father. Mom files for child support, and Dad cross-files for parenting time. Because of a filing technicality, her child support petition is heard, but his parenting time is delayed. Mom has a lawyer; Dad does not. Dad proves that Mom has understated her income from business that she owns, income is imputed to her, and child support is set. They come back 2 months later for parenting time. Mom wants Dad to have 1 hour per week supervised in the courthouse and have him get a psychological evaluation. Dad asks for 50/50 shared parenting. Judge starts by telling everyone he will hear cases one at a time, and recommends that, while sitting in the hall, parties try to negotiate settlement. Dad and FACE representative approach Mom's lawyer to ask about negotiation. Lawyer asks "Do you accept supervised visitation in the courthouse?" FACE rep replies "No, but somewhere between 'supervised in the courthouse' and the 50/50 custody we are asking for, there must be something that both parties can accept. Lets talk." Lawyer is reluctant, but all go into a conference room. 2 hours later agreement is reached: Parties have joint legal custody; Dad's name goes on birth certificate; Dad begins by seeing child short time 3 days per week for 60 days, then parties enter into mediation for the sole purpose of expanding parenting time; parties agreed on Mom's actual income and Dad supplies health insurance for child, resulting in Dad getting a small reduction in child support. Judge signs consent order.
April 7, 2011 Update -- Child is now 11 months old. It took 5 months (a little longer than 60 days) to expand parenting time. First, it took some time to arrange mediation through the court. Then mediation failed because Mom refused to mediate in good faith and mediator was ineffective in encouraging her to do so. Then court was scheduled for today. Mom's lawyer sent Dad a settlement offer, but it was inadequate. Dad sent a counter-proposal to lawyer. This morning everyone met again in the courthouse and the parties negotiated mutually acceptable parenting time. Dad will get child 2 days each week for 9 hours plus 2 hours on a third day, all unsupervised, the parties will also share a few holidays each year, including a few over-nights, and the parties will share transportation. Dad also gets a modest child support reduction because Mom will now need one less day of child care each week.
Tribute to a fallen FACE member:
Robert Wojciech Blicharz
1959 – 2011
FACE member Bob Blicharz passed away some time between Tuesday evening September 27th and Thursday morning September 29th 2011.
According to Bob's story as he told it to FACE, he once had several businesses including a small trucking company and a small automobile dealership. Having himself emigrated to the United States as a child, when he was ready to settle down Bob returned to Poland to find a “nice, old-fashioned girl.” He found Joanna, who already had a son, Peter, from a previous marriage. They married in Europe, and Bob brought Joanna and Peter back to his home in New Jersey, followed soon after by the birth of their daughter, Magan.
To complete his family, Bob wanted to adopt Peter as quickly as possible. Peter was about the same age that Bob was when he arrived in the U.S., and Bob looked forward to guiding his new son through learning about life here just as Bob had. During the adoption process, it was necessary to get the approval of Peter's birth father, but this was difficult because the father was a merchant seaman who spent most of his time at sea. When Bob did finally make contact with him, the father immediately approved of the adoption of his child without protest.
Bob was looking forward to enjoying life with his newly formed family, but Joanna had different ideas. She had done some research and found that marrying Bob would put her on the fast track to U.S. citizenship. She also found that, if she was a domestic violence victim and had a restraining order against Bob, she would be moved to the front of the line on that fast track, be eligible for free or subsidized housing, be awarded child support from Bob far more generous than the paltry stipend she received in Poland for Peter, and have her and the children's other needs provided by the government.
Joanna concocted a story about domestic violence and moved with the children to the local women's shelter. With the help of the shelter workers she was able to get a temporary restraining order, but apparently her story was not credible enough to get a final restraining order without the help of a free lawyer from Legal Services of New Jersey. The free lawyer also filed for divorce for Joanna, and then the really sneaky lawyer-instigated or initiated tricks began.
From the beginning, Bob tells us, because of the domestic violence allegation, Bob was permitted to only see Magan in supervised parenting time. Peter, under the influence of his mother, said he didn't want to see his father at all. Then Joanna told Bob that, if he ever got unsupervised parenting time, she would penetrate Magan and say that Bob had sexually abused her. One day when he was in court Bob noticed that Joanna had brought Magan who was toddling on the other side of the room. He went over to say hello to Magan, but Joanna covered her face with a blanket so she couldn't see her father. Then Joanna went to a sheriff’s officer, told him Bob had made a terroristic threat to her, and Bob was arrested for violating the restraining order. Bob was found not guilty, as he also was for three other allegations of restraining order violations.
FACE has heard all of those things before in other cases, but that wasn't the end of the dirty tricks in this case. Bob tells us that Joanna filed a complaint with the police that Bob had stolen a truck from her. In truth, the allegedly stolen truck was one of Bob's work trucks. When Joanna had gone to the DMV with the title to register the truck, she registered it in her own name. Next, Joanna complained to the EPA that Bob was burying 55 gallon drums of toxic waste in his backyard. The EPA came in with backhoes and dug up the backyard, but found nothing. (As they often do, sheriff's officers had already torn Bob's house apart looking for weapons.)
Due to the stress of continually having to look over his shoulder and wondering what new false allegations his ex-wife was going to bring against him next, Bob lost his businesses and took a job as a tractor-trailer driver. Wednesday was always his day off, because that was his supervised parenting time day with Magan. He would spend the whole day getting ready and buying small gifts for Magan.
Parenting time was supervised first by Catholic Charities, then later moved to the courthouse. At least half the time Joanna would cancel, often at the last minute, for some lame excuse, or just not show up.
In February 2010 Bob hired one of the top lawyers from one of the most prominent law firms in New Jersey (names will be provided upon request) to get him out of supervised parenting time. Over the next six months, they took $4,235 of Bob's money, but never filed a single document with the court. Bob fired them and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The lawyer told the Better Business Bureau he would give Bob a partial refund, but Bob never received it.
Then Bob came to FACE. At this time Magan was 5 1/2 years old and had seen her father only in supervised parenting time for five years. With FACE assistance, in April 2011 Bob filed a pro se motion for UN-supervised parenting time with Magan, and to re-establish a parent-child relationship with Peter.
Shortly after filing, a brick was mysteriously thrown through the windshield of Bob's truck. Bob didn't think Joanna had the strength to throw a brick through a windshield. He suspected that it was thrown by Peter (who, coincidentally, is the valedictorian of Burlington County Technical Institute's graduating class of 2011 http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/burlington_county_times_news/teen-excellence-peter-blicharz/article_be2f57dd-9844-5a78-99e9-ff94c6cddc17.html ). Bob withdrew his request for parenting time with Peter.
Burlington County family court judge Kenneth Domzalski (who many lawyers complain has great difficulty ever making a decision about anything) heard the case. Despite glowing recommendation letters from both Catholic Charities and the courthouse supervisors, instead of just ending the supervision, Domzalski ordered that Bob must first get an updated risk assessment (cost $1,000), pay off $5,000 in child support arrears and, because of the arrears, pay $800 of his ex-wife's counsel fees (even though she gets free lawyers). Interestingly, when asked why the risk assessment was necessary when the supervisors wrote in their letters of Bob's loving relationship with Magan and the strength of the parent-child bond, Domzalski said “I've never seen an unfavorable report from a supervisor.” If that is true and supervisors' opinions cannot be trusted, why ever waste anyone's time using supervisors at all?
So, once again, as too often happens, a family court judge treated a father as nothing more than a wallet and a sperm-donor. Bob gave first priority to the risk assessment. The report was very positive, but it was delayed over a month because the psychologist (name available on request) went on vacation. Bob filed another motion for unsupervised parenting time. It was to be heard on October 7, 2011.
In his frustration while waiting, Bob took FACE's advice to “Never Do Nothing.” He went to the Burlington County Prosecutor's office to file a criminal complaint against Joanna for Interference with Custody (New Jersey statute 2C:13-4 – an indictable offense). The supporting evidence was the letters from the supervisors documenting canceled and missed parenting times, and Bob's log of the missed days – a total of 20 missed times out of 36 weeks since parenting time was moved to the courthouse! The detective Bob spoke with (himself a divorced father) was told by his supervisor not to take Bob's complaint, but he did refer Bob to the detective who handles family matters for the Mount Holly police department, and charges were filed in municipal court.
Bob also re-opened his Better Business Bureau case against the lawyer who took his money and did nothing for him, and then didn't honor his commitment to the BBB to refund Bob's money.
Bob's workday started at about 5:00 AM. On Thursday morning, September 29, 2011, Bob didn't show up for work. This was very unusual for Bob, and his employer phoned a mutual friend and asked him to go and check whether Bob was OK. The friend went to Bob's house and found him in bed, but couldn't wake him. He called 9-1-1.
So, that is the end of the story for Bob Blicharz. What will the results be? The hundreds of people who attended his viewing have lost their son, brother, friend, neighbor, co-worker, or fellow FACE member. Joanna loses her big American child support check, and will have to find somewhere else to spew her hatred. We now see why her first husband didn't object to Bob adopting Peter. He would finally be rid of Joanna forever and would be able to come back home to Poland and resume a normal life. Maybe anyone new Joanna tries to get involved with will find this web page and have second thoughts about having anything to do with her. Peter, although he is still immature and under his mother's thumb, might some day wake up and realize he missed his last opportunity to have a father. And Magan, only 5 1/2 years old, who developed a strong father-child relationship with Bob even though for five of those years she only saw him in supervised parenting rooms, will never again have a hope of a normal relationship with her father. Maybe if the big shot lawyer from the big firm had done his job, or if judge Domzalski had done the right thing the first time, or if the psychologist put higher priority on Bob's risk assessment report than on his vacation, Bob would be alive today.
There was one more thing that Bob didn't get the chance to do. Legal Services of New Jersey has a web page that features the case they handled for Joanna – www.probononj.org/safesecure.aspx . It even includes photos of Joanna, Peter and Magan. Since Bob's last name, Blicharz, is unusual, anyone checking Bob out on the internet finds that web page. This has negatively effected Bob's reputation, his efforts to find better employment, and even his social and romance relationships. Bob's next move was to demand that Legal Services take down that web page. He never got a chance to do that. Maybe, now that Bob is gone, Legal Services will find this web page and just take down their web page on their own initiative.
October 2, 2011
Need dental care in New Jersey but uninsured or can't afford it? Click here for New Jersey Dental Clinics from the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Children's Oral Health Program's county-by-county directory: CORRECTION: www.dentalclinics.nj.gov . Adults, too, are eligible for these services.
Donate Your Unwanted Vehicle to FACE
Donate your unwanted car, van, SUV, truck or motorcycle to FACE. We will pick up your vehicle anywhere in New Jersey or in the five boroughs of New York City at no expense to you, and provide you with all documentation required to claim it as a "Non-Cash Charitable Contribution" on your tax return. Just phone the Vehicle Donation Center at 888-395-3955 and we do the rest. Advantages to you: No phone calls to answer, no strangers coming to your home, you can stop paying insurance and registration on a car you don't drive, and you can claim the maximum tax deduction available.
We have all heard of vehicle donations to charities. Many vehicles are donated to charities about which the donors know nothing. By donating your unwanted vehicle to FACE, you will know it benefits an organization that you know and believe in.
Bring Fairness Back To Domestic Violence Laws
In her June 19, 2010 article, "A Good Father's Day Gift," national columnist Phyllis Schlafly writes that the "extravagantly expensive and discriminatory" federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has created a bureaucracy that provides shelters and other services only for women, promotes vague legal definitions of domestic violence -- many having nothing to do with violence, and considers all men to be batterers. "Charging domestic violence," she writes, "practically guarantees that a woman will get custody of the children and sever forever the father's relationship with his children even though the alleged violence had nothing whatever to do with any abuse of the children." VAWA, originally enacted in 1992, comes up for reauthorization later this year. Ms. Schlafly suggests this would be a good time to hold balanced hearings aimed at making VAWA gender-neutral, and to "assure men that family courts will accord them constitutional rights equivalent to those enjoyed by murderers and robbers."
The High Price of Restraining Orders
March 30, 2010 -- We all know that the Family Court/ Divorce/ Domestic Violence business is a multi-billion dollar growth industry (that's BILLION with a "B"), and that all those judges, lawyers, psychs, child support people and all the others who feed at the family court trough don't want anyone to do anything that will effect their bloated paychecks. Now, in an article entitled "The High Price of Restraining Orders," Bruce Watson of America Online's Daily Finance website reports that the cost of only the temporary restraining order portion of the Family Court pie is costing all of us $4 Billion per year! Certainly, when the effects of final restraining orders is added (including permanent criminal record, loss of employment in certain professions, lost employment opportunities, defense of falsely alleged violations, etc.), the total cost of restraining orders is far, far higher. Click here to read the full article.
Also, click here to see Bruce Watson's January 30, 2010 Daily Finance article "A Hidden Crime: Domestic Violence Against Men Is a Growing Problem."
Friends of FACE:
This page last updated 10/22/2014.