- JOIN WFCF
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- RESOURCES / Very helpful BOOKS
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- Shared Parenting - 10 myths
- Why do kids NEED shared parenting
- FAMILY COURT Resources Booklet includes: glossary of terms(pg 57) & divorce flow chart(pg 6 and pg 56)
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- WFCF History
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By-Laws and Board Members
UPDATED 12/16 / To read the Wisconsin Fathers for Children and Families By-Laws, please click here.
CURRENT 2017 WFCF BOARD MEMBERS:
Tony Bickel (Dane County) President since 2016 - Biography
I’ve been a member of WFCF since 1999. I starting attending board meetings in 2002/2003, and was an active participant and volunteer during our WFCF Rally in 2004. In 2014 I joined the board as treasurer and currently still fill that role. During 2014, I was able to also convert our database to a more current software package and now I maintain our main database. As database administrator I send out all electronic communications we do, including the reminders/invites for our eight current Fathers Night Out meetings each month.
In 1997 my 14 year marriage ended. I have 2 daughters that were 9/11 years old at that time, and I secured placement with my daughters 45% of the time. At that time I was unaware of WFCF, but thanks to the internet I was able to immediately determine my rights and exercise them without the assistance of an attorney. Becoming the primary care giver 45% of the time (my ex-wife was a stay at home Mom) was a huge change for me, but one that I embraced wholeheartedly right from the start. The benefit of that placement situation was absolutely beneficial to my daughters and me.
By 1999 I had come into contact with a great number of fathers that had not enjoyed the relationship and time with their children that I had with mine. While I had to fight at times to have my rights enforced, I became aware of other fathers plights that were much worse than mine. So I joined WFCF in 1999, and later became an active member to help other fathers.
I am currently happily married to Vicki (2011) and added a five year old step daughter to my family, joining my daughters who are now 28 and 30 years old. After 30 plus years working for an analytical instrument manufacturer, I semi retired in 2012 and now work 25% of the time.
Mary Ciano (LaCrosse) Facebook and Social Media Manager - Biography
I am a special education teacher with multiple teaching certifications and a Master's Degree in Special Education from University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. I have always been interested in child development and psychology of human behavior which has led me to work with students and their families who need behavior management within their school day. I have been on many facets of this multi-faceted issue of equal parenting. Previously, I have been summoned and looked to as a teacher for the best interest of my students. However, more recently in my own situation, I am now working towards a goal of equal parenting alongside my husband Anthony, for his two son’s ages 9 and 6 of a previous relationship. We have been married for almost two years of our 5 year relationship and have an 8 month old daughter together. There have been ups and downs with having step-children, but what I do know is that I love them like they are my own. We have been saddened that the "system" does not give a fair chance or a proper representation of fathers through due process. Fathers are guilty until proven innocent. It has been heartbreaking that overnight we have gone from a happy, blended family, reduced to only my husband, our daughter and myself. The professionals involved fail to see signs of parental alienation or that the "buying" of love is winning out when these very young boys are allowed to choose where they want to go. My husband and I have experience using pro se advice, representing ourselves, and we have learned what makes a good attorney for our case. We also have experience working with psychologists and psychological evaluations, custody assessment teams, GAL’s, social workers and the reunification process. Unfortunately, our experiences with the system has been a nightmare. Through this, we have been motivated to initiate the La Crosse Area Father's Night Out so that we can get in touch with other fathers, families and supporters of father's rights in the La Crosse and surrounding areas. We are here to help you!
Alan Frey (Fox Valley) Legislative Liaison - Biography
Kevin Monahan (Fox Valley) Survey Master - Biography
I have been attending the Fox Valley Father’s Night Out, event since the summer of 2015 and have progressively became more involved in the organization. The mission of this organization is near and dear to my heart as I have had an unfortunate experience in dealing with the Wisconsin Family Court System. With the exception of about a 5 month period my entire post high school years have been spent working in various aspects of the EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Industry with the majority of that time spent working in the business office end where I have spent the last 11+ years. I am also a former EMT, and Emergency Medical Dispatcher. I met my first wife and mother of my daughter the summer after graduating 8th grade through the Fire Department Explorer Post, we became best friends and were only friends for the first 6 years we knew each other, before beginning a relationship that moved very quickly we were engaged 3 months in, and married 5 months later. In February 2008, we welcomed our daughter Madelyn. We went through the same ups and downs that most couples go through in life, when the opportunity arose to relocate our family to Central Wisconsin we seized the opportunity viewing it as a fresh start for our family. Well as it turned out the move resulted in a life changing fresh start, one that neither of us ever would have expected as I ended up petitioning for divorce 6 months after moving to Wisconsin Our divorce took 1 year to finalize, included a temporary order, a Guardian ad Litem evaluation and recommendation, 11th hour mediation. We share joint custody, and shared placement we had equal 50/50 placement until my ex relocated. Our case went back to court and back through the Guardian ad Litem for an updated review and recommendation on placement now that there was nearly a 150-mile difference between our two residences, placement was modified our daughter now spends 67% of the time with her mom and 33% of the time with me and her stepmom. It is my plan to dedicate time to helping advance the initiatives of the WFCF and focus on our motto that the “Best Parent is Both Parents”. I couldn’t agree more with that motto, and believe we need to work to set aside the biases that exist in the family court system. Unless there is evidence proving some type of neglect or abuse I don’t believe there is such a thing as a bad parent, or even a better parent we are all individuals and are all different and those differences are what make us unique and what our kid(s) learn from, that help form the person they become. We have to remember just because we don’t like or don’t agree with something the other parent says or does that doesn’t make them any less of a parent or less important to your child(ren).
Rick Frazer (Brown County) FNO Manager- Biography
I grew up in Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my dad growing up as he owned and maintained an apartment building and my mom worked as a Magistrate. I spent a lot of time watching and helping him fix cars, weld, plumbing, wiring, and building stuff. While it wasn’t all work, we managed to hunt, fish, go to camp and have fun along with my brother and sister. When I felt it was time to settle down, I specifically sought out a single mom, as I always wanted to have a family and be a father. I felt had something to offer and something to gain from joining a fatherless family and was right.
It was a wonderful and rewarding family life, with normal family issues and challenges of forming a blended family. Despite the ending of my marriage in 2015, I was blessed with adopting my sons (her two boys now 27 and 25) from her previous marriage when they were 8 and 10 years old, and having my daughter together, now 16.
At the time my ex-wife filed for divorce, I was granted 50/50 custody and she was awarded placement until the GAL and counselors determine the best placement schedule for my daughter. After 627 days at the time of writing, I saw my daughter for a total of 5 hours with counselors and GALs. I missed her entire freshman year and soon sophomore year of high school because she has negative feelings toward me since the divorce, as do my boys, from a variety of reasons. I am now preparing to return to court to get a placement schedule that works for my daughter, that includes me in her life. Early on in my plight, I sought support and resources to help me and found the WFCF.
I attended a Father’s Night Out in Madison and worked with the groups leadership to form a group in the Fox Valley area (Green Bay to Fond du Lac) which meets in Appleton. I have heard a lot of tough stories and the group has both participants there to support others and fathers seeking support. It has been a very rewarding experience which is why I accepted a board position to help expand FNO and make it even more beneficial as a part of WFCF. I am involved with other related activities to support our cause. I am a contributor to the legislation to promote equal placement which is gaining some traction. I have been a leader in the Boy Scouts of America for 16 years and a participant in the Fox Valley Voice of Men organization. As one of the WFCF Board members, I welcome all suggestions and comments to make our group vibrant and effective for both fathers and mothers in supporting “The best parent is BOTH parents”.
Devin Gatton (Milwaukee area) Legislative Liaison - Biography
President (title) at Log Cabin Republicans of Wisconsin
Former State Campaign Director at Gary Johnson 2016
Studied Religious history at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
Lives in West Allis, Wisconsin
From Honolulu, Hawaii
Thomas Strickland (Madison area) Member at large- Biography
Past board members
- Peter Kerr (Ozaukee County) - Biography Peter has been a member of WFCF for 8 years and has been an activist in the area of Family Law Reform. Peter's daughter who was born in Australia, as he was, received the standard cookie cutter treatment from the Wisconsin Courts of "Every second weekend and one night through the week". Considering there was only one reason Peter remained in (to him) a foreign country, was to be a Father to his child, he was flabbergasted to learn that Fathers were treated in such an unfair, disrespectful and unequal fashion, which simply astonded him, not to mention his experience of the type of damage that can be done to a child when one parent is given a superior parenting position over the other parent. (Australia has the Equal Shared Parental Responsibility Act)
As a child - like so many other children - Peter was subjected to the "able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, faster than a speeding bullet...Truth, Justice and the American Way" belief, only to find out, when it comes to the Family Courts and Fatherhood in America - it was all a lie.
In 2006, with the support of Wisconsin Fathers for Children and Familes and the Milwaukee Fatherhood Collaborative, Peter walked 800 miles across Wisconsin taking the issue of Fatherlessness and Equal Parenting to the court of public opinion. His journey can be seen at Walk For Children. (Unknown to him at the time, in 2006 Peter was awarded the presigoius "Outstanding Father" award from the Mayor of Milwaukee sponsored Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative).
Peter continually gives testimony to Wisconsin legislative hearings and visits many of our elected politicains in support of Family Law Reform.
He believes this year is the year of change and to quote him "Equal parenting will happen, the only variable is when!"
- Mike Landwehr (Waukesha County) - Biography I have three brothers and was raised on a veal farm in the DePere area. In 1983 I graduated from West DePere High School and in 1988 I graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a BS in Industrial & Systems Engineering.
At age 25 I was married to my first wife and we had our first child, Natalia three years later. Our other daughter, Elise was born four years later. During this period I worked in various engineering and managerial positions for Wisconsin Tissue, Medical Advances, Fotodyne, and Menasha Corporation. In 1999 I petitioned for divorce. Because my job at the time took me out of town two to three overnights a week, I stipulated to a placement schedule which provided me with only 29% of the nights with my daughters.
During the divorce proceedings, I notified my soon-to-be-ex that I would be leaving my job to start my own business in order give me more time flexibility and make myself more available for the kids.
In 2000 I founded our company along with two partners and an investor. My previous employer quickly became one of our largest customers. However, the events of September 11th and economic recession significantly affected our fledgling company. As a result, my income was about half of what it had been when I was divorced.
My current wife (and business partner) Brenda and I were married in 2002. Later that year I filed a motion seeking equal placement and a reduction in child support, factored on the income my new company was able to pay me. After a year-long legal battle and several thousand in legal fees, my placement was increased to 31% and my child support was unchanged.
This order was despite the fact that the GAL recommended significantly more placement time with me, and the court found that I was not shirking in regards to my income. Completely dissatisfied with this outcome, I sought help from others with similar circumstances and found WFCF.
I began working with the group on organizing the 2004 rally in Madison. In 2005, I joined the WFCF board as the Legislative Committee chairperson and have since spent much time focused on getting legislation passed which would ensure a level playing field between responsible fathers and mothers.
I appealed the family court order, and after another 1-1/2 years and thousands more in legal fees, I lost again. Even though I had an even greater amount of frustration, friends convinced that my case would be appropriate to heard by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and hopefully establish maximized placement case law for many fathers across the state with similar circumstances.
With the assistance from numerous WFCF members my case was prepared, accepted, heard, and finally decided. Once again I (and fathers in general) lost. The court had bought into the ridiculous argument that the statute’s directive of “maximized placement” really means maximized within the placement allocation that a parent is given.
If any positive came out of the Supreme Court decision, it’s that it can be shown to legislators so that they better understand why ambiguity must be minimized and court discretion must be limited when crafting new family laws. I strongly believe that failure to do so will only result in the status quo of denying fathers their right to be an equal parent to their children.
In 2008 I was elected to the WFCF Treasurer’s role and also became an ALL-DADS helpline counselor. Since then I successfully got my case moved from Milwaukee County to Waukesha County. There (a much more father-friendly environment) I subsequently got my placement time increased to 36%, my ex-wife’s income imputed to a reasonable level and my child support adjusted accordingly.
-Leigh Jahn I’m a newer WFCF member and joined the WFCF board in 2016. I was introduced to WFCF in late 2013, by a good friend who had also been through a divorce. I was married in Australia to my first wife in 1990 who is an American citizen. We had 4 children (2 boys & 2 girls) who are all dual citizens and we all moved to the U.S. in 2000, when I also became a U.S citizen. I found a great job working for the State of Wisconsin, so my wife and I decided she would be a stay at home Mom. In 2012 with two of our children still in high school, my wife and I decided to go our separate ways and dissolve our marriage. My wife very shortly afterwards moved to San Diego to live with her boyfriend.
I was left on my own to deal with two teenage children going to high school, as well as holding down a full time (sometimes more) job. In 2013 our youngest daughter opted to follow her big sister back to Australia, to be closer to her Grandma and others in her family. The courts ultimately decided that my youngest son, should stay with me and finish his high school years in Madison. I immediately re-scheduled my work commitments, as I was totally focused and committed to being the responsible parent. In January 2013 our divorce was final and the court also saddled me with considerably large monthly maintenance payments. Despite my having to deal with the legal battles, financial burden, and being the sole functional parent, our son graduated from high school in 2014. We made it! In late 2015 I went back to the courts requesting the maintenance payments be reduced as my ex wife was now living in a socialized country(Australia) and is a lot better off financially, but the courts would not budge on their previous decisions (this seems to be the norm). The experience I would like to pass onto others is that you must fight for your rights in the very early stages, of the courts deciding on the placement of your children. Once the court has made a decision it is extremely difficult and very seldom do they change on their decisions. I am currently engaged to a fantastic, supportive woman Christy (and her 2 cats) and we will be married in July 2016
– Tom Pfeiffer (Dane County) Tom has been a member of WFCF since about 1997 and has served on the WFCF Board 1999-2013. He first heard of WFCF when a counselor wondered whether he was associated with that “mad dads group”, which stirred his interest and led him to join WFCF. As a father of three young children at the time and having recently gone through a heart wrenching separation, he was shocked to see the extent of gender bias in the Dane County courts. What a surprise to learn that in this bastion of “liberal thinking” fathers were considered to be second class citizens when it came to valuing them as parents. He was involved in their births, all medical visits, schools, activities and nearly all of his free time was spent with these kids, but this was not good enough for the “family court” apparatus to give him significant post separation parenting time. He vowed to himself to right the many wrongs he saw in this flawed system that takes fathers from their children and drains the family assets to feed a system that has out-lived its usefulness. Tom served on the Special Legislative Committee Studying the Roles of Guardians ad Litem as a WFCF representative. He also conducted a poll of all legislators and those running for office to gauge their support for issues of importance to divorced fathers. Tom served on the Board of WFCF as Secretary and Executive Vice President. He has testified many times before committees of the legislature, has served as a counselor to our “AllDads” help line for many years, contributes to our newsletter, coordinates the Madison area Fathers Night Out meetings. Tom grew up “out east” in a large close knit family of seven children with two involved parents who set many good examples, just the way parents should. It was always apparent to him that the influences of both parents are crucial to the proper development of children. Why the state does not see this truism remains a puzzle and an obstacle we must overcome. Tom has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in education. He worked twenty years in the University of Wisconsin System and now works as an independent financial advisor since the late 1990’s. Tom is a strong believer in the WFCF motto that “The Best Parent is Both Parents!”
– Robert W. Moore (Dane County)< – Bob joined WFCF (then known as Wisconsin Fathers for Equal Justice) in 1991, and has served as Vice-President for Membership 1996-2012. He maintained the primary WFCF database, prepared address files for all mailings, sent all membership renewal requests, and assists with other projects. Together with Tom Pfeiffer, Bob hosts the monthly Madison area Fathers’ Night Out dinners. Bob has three children, all now adults. His case is a textbook example of how the family court system is neither just nor functional, and of how it abuses dads and children alike. Bob looks forward to the day when the tragedies of separation and divorce are no longer exacerbated by government policies that act as though legal custody and physical placement time are commodities to be doled out in an arbitrary and capricious way by a single judge in an essentially unreviewable manner, and is instead replaced by a humane and just system whereby law abiding, fit parents are treated equally and with due process under the law. He is confident that one day people will look back at the systematic exclusion of Dads from children’s lives with shock, horror, and revulsion comparable to what we feel when we contemplate human slavery. Bob has a B.S. in Biochemistry from Penn State University, a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Michigan State University, and postdoctoral training in Pathobiology and Environmental Toxicology from the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Moore is a Senior Scientist at the University of Wisconsin, and a member of the Society of Toxicology and of The Endocrine Society. He has served on US government panels, and is known internationally for his research on endocrine disrupting chemicals, particularly how exposure to dioxin early in development affects prostate development
If you need help, contact the Wisconsin Fathers Helpline