Speaker to discuss divorce rights

By Jayna Ronayne

The rights of fathers and children in divorce will be the topic of a presentation Wednesday by the co-author of a law that allows a judge to order joint custody even if one parent objects.

Speaker Jeffery Leving, a prominent Chicago family law attorney who concentrates in matrimonial law, will speak at 8 p.m. at the Illinois Institute for Fathers and Children Together Successfully Inc., located across from the Egyptian Theater.

Leving will discuss visitation rights, why specific visitation rights are recommended in court settlements, grandparents’ rights, the difference between enforcement of child support vs. visitation orders and what parents should look for in an attorney.

“Finding an attorney seems simple, but it really isn’t,” Leving said.

Leving also will discuss the problems with physical, sexual and emotional abuse allegations.

“The rise in false abuse allegations in custodial battles is unfortunate because the child ends up victimized,” he said.

Leving said in one of his cases, although the father won, the child was permanently scarred from the brainwashing, psychiatric evaluations and multiple medical exams to check for abuse that never existed.

He has discussed these issues on numerous television and radio shows, including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Forum” and “A.M. Chicago.”

Wednesday’s presentation is sponsored by the Illinois Institute for Fathers and Children Together Successfully Inc., a non-profit organization that helps men who are having trouble getting access to their children.

“We are a pro-child fathering education service,” said Dave Bruer, the institute’s executive director. “We deal with men’s issues and people needing help getting divorce. We work with everyone, but focus on dads’ fairness and equality in the court system.”

Bruer also feels courts need to do what’s best for the children of divorce. “The kids have a right to their parents,” Bruer said.

He also said people need to realize men, as well as women, are getting abused. “It’s sad enough that we need shelters, but they need to reach out to men more,” Bruer said. “There are battered men out there too.”

Bruer said anyone interested in helping out at the organization can call him to volunteer. “Anyone at all can help, not just men … anyone who is a father or has a father.”

“I feel the speech will help educate people about what’s really going on,” he said.