My son was conceived in my hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico. His mother was a childhood sweetheart. When we were teenagers, we lived together in Santa Fe for about a year, and then for about six months in New York City.

After not seeing each other for about ten years, we started hanging out again when she started breezing through town from time to time. She would call me up and say she was going to be in town for a few days, and we would perhaps spend the weekend together. She was traveling around a lot, so when we did see each other it was usually for only a day or two at a time. After an intimate encounter she would always say something like, " the way, I'm leaving for Thailand on Monday. Don't know when I'll see you again..." The last time this happened, she said " the way I'm leaving for Tucson on Monday to take care of a sick friend..." That was the last I had heard from her until two months later, when she called me to say she was pregnant and she was going to give birth.

I was not unhappy to hear about her pregnancy. Although we didn't plan to have a child, we had talked with each other about what it would be like once on a weekend camping trip. I told her I would support her any way I could; I offered to marry her; I asked if she wanted me to move to Tucson; I asked if she would like to move to Santa Fe; I said if she wanted to live with me, I would take care of all the living expenses; I said if she wanted to have her own place, I would help out any way I could. After some time, she called me to say she would live with me in Santa Fe. We made arrangements for me to go to Tucson and move her stuff to Santa Fe. I reserved a big rental truck for the weekend of the planned move. I kicked out my room-mate, cleaned my rented house from top to bottom, painted all the walls, spruced up the grounds and did a dump run--the place looked beautiful. Then, just two weeks before the planned move, she came to visit. She took one look around the place and said "Why is everything so clean? I'm not going to live here" then she drove back to Tucson...I canceled the moving truck and looked for a room-mate.

When she went into labor I called her at the hospital and told her I could be in Tucson, within eight hours. She said she didn't want me to be there and asked me not to come. She chose to leave my name off of the birth certificate and, regardless of our agreement that if she were to give birth to a boy I would name him and, if a girl, she would name her, she gave my son a first name that I never would have chosen for him; her own middle name; and her own last name. Although Arizona guidelines recommend it, she refused when I asked her if she would share travel expenses in exchanging my son. I have never been allowed to see, or even speak to my son on his birthday; she has never let my son spend Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Summer Break with my half of his family--essentially robbing him of his right to a relationship with his grandmother, three aunts and multitude of cousins. She has always dictated everything regarding my son and I have had no say whatsoever about any aspect of his upbringing. She took him to Thailand when he was only two-years old and I had no idea where they were staying or for how long they would be gone. She has never sent me a report card or even told me were he was enrolled in school. She has never informed me of his medical condition or well-being. I had to find out from my son that he was allergic to citrus. She has even told me that she brought my son to Santa Fe, without telling me about it or letting me see him!

Although she has always done all she can restrict and control my contact with my son, she was at least somewhat cooperative and let me have my son (at my own expense and with no reduction in child support) for a couple of weeks at time when he was very young. However, after she became involved with some weird aggressive guy who she eventually married, she became increasingly uncooperative about discussing visitation. Eventually, she refused to speak with me at all; effectively completely alienating me from my son. I was reduced to leaving unanswered messages month after month in an attempt to have any kind of contact with my son. She started to (and does still) encourage my son to call her husband "Dad," and to refer to me as "Daddy Dave." Her husband even assaulted me during an exchange: "Your a little piece of sh*** I oughta kick your ass!" he yelled in my face while poking his finger in my chest--my son was barely outside of hearing range when this happened. Had my son not been so close by, I might have followed my instinct to break his finger and jaw--this guy is much larger than me and I was considerably intimidated...I am glad that I was able to control my fear. As I was driving away, my girlfriend, my nephew and I, all witnessed as my son's mother came out of the hotel and stuck her middle finger high in the air (in full view of my son). I had not witnessed such atrocious behavior in humans since high-school. Their bizarre and belligerent behavior made me more determined than ever that I would do all in my power to rescue my son from the obvious insanity he was being raised in.

She asked me for money often, even before my son was born, but she always refused to discuss a parenting plan. I sent her what I could at first but when she continued to refuse to discuss a parenting plan, I encouraged her to file for child support. I mistakenly believed that the court would hear the custody/visitation issue at the same time as the support issue--unfortunately for my son and I, this was not true. Although she was appointed an attorney who spoke for her at the hearing, I couldn't afford one and none was provided for me. The New Mexico court refused to hear the custody issue and said I must petition the courts in Arizona for visitation. The New Mexico courts were happy to award her with a generous support order, even though she was making approximately four times what I was at the time. I was living in poverty, making less than $10,000 per year, at the time I was ordered to make these exorbitant payments. The added financial burden made it almost impossible for me to visit my son in Tucson, much less bring a paternity action in the Arizona courts on his behalf.

Even though the job-market was horrible I didn't want to move away from Santa Fe; by then I was halfway through the paralegal program at the Santa Fe Community College and I wanted to finish my classes. I didn't know anyone in Tucson anyway, and it is a rather dismal place. Why should I have to move to some other place just because she abducted the fetus there?  What guarantee did I have that she wouldn't just go somewhere else? Had we been married when my son was born it would have been easy to get the New Mexico courts to order back to Santa Fe. I struggled to make my support payments and continue my schooling and visited with my son whenever I could...

I finally finished the paralegal program at the community college, but was still having trouble finding steady work in Santa Fe, and my financial situation was getting worse. I decided to move to the North Bay area of California, where I have some family. Demographic research showed that I would find work there as well. The move took all of my remaining resources and I lived in my car for several months while I tried to get situated in California. Finally, I was able to get on my feet and find regular work. As soon as I was financially able, I planned a visit with my son. I had given up trying to speak with his mother about seeing him, but I sent her an email begging for some visitation. She replied that I could visit with my son for a few hours at a time under the supervision of she or her husband. That was the last straw, I couldn't stomach the idea of being supervised around my own son by someone who had attacked me--I told her that I didn't recognize her husband's authority to supervise my visitation with my son and that after the way he had behaved the last time I saw him, I didn't think it was a good idea for him to be around at all. Then she insisted that I meet with she and her family counselor as a precondition of allowing me to see my son, which I quickly agreed to even thought she had no right to make such a demand. I decided I would bring the paternity action.

Because I couldn't afford an attorney, I prepared the papers as best as I could by myself and planned my trip to Arizona. I would couple the visit with my son and the filing of the paternity action into one trip. I met with she and her family counselor. I made it very clear at the meeting that I wanted some kind of a parenting plan initiated immediately. We all agreed to meet the following day so we could prepare a plan. I had already filed the paternity action, but I could still abort the process by not serving her with the Summons.

After the meeting with her and her therapist, I visited with my son for about three and a half hours with his mother present. We had a great time and my son was very affectionate. She had said she could stay until five-thirty, but at five she said it was getting late and they must go. When I got back to my hotel room I called to remind her that we were to meet at the therapists the following day. On the following day I met with the therapist at the appointed time to discuss the parenting plan, but she didn't show up. Her therapist was quite perplexed but I wasn't surprised at all.  "I knew she would never show," I told him. She did show up later to supervise a few more hours of my visitation with my son, but there was no mention of a parenting plan. I decided to go through with the suit. After another great afternoon at the amusement park with my son, she was kind enough to let me take him in my car while we all drove to the mall. While we were alone in the car, my son told me again (for he had said this many times in the past) how much he loved me and how he wanted to come stay with me at my place. We went to the mall and I bought him a book and then we all walked out to the parking lot and I hugged kissed him goodbye. He squeezed me again as hard as he could--you know, he did that thing where they grab your leg and sit on your foot, like they will never let you go. Then he got in his mother's car and looked very sad. My heart broke as I headed to the airport and flew home. I flew from San Francisco to Tucson, and only got to spend a total of about six hours with my son. In my opinion she and her husband have tortiously interfered with my relationship with my son and his right to have a relationship with his father, but without the benefit of a competent attorney and a large legal fund, I could never get a court in this country to do what's right.

Once she was served with the paternity suit, she came up with the $5,000 to hire an attorney right away and a hearing was scheduled. About six months later at the hearing, things did not go well. Even though I understood it to be standard procedure in the family courts where there were allegations of violence, my request for a restraining order against her husband was refused and I had to present my case with my attacker sitting right there in the courtroom. I went to go find a bailiff (apparently none was appointed to the courtroom, again in spite of my allegations of domestic violence) in order to reduce the intimidation factor. Without the bailiff sitting behind me, I would have been alone in the courtroom against her, her expensive attorney, and her aggressive husband. The judge basically refused to let me speak at the hearing and she didn't look at any of the volumes of evidence I brought. She spent a lot of time lecturing me about how rude I was, and smiling at the expensive attorney. She looked at me with hatred in her eyes and pointed at me as she pontificated. I cried as I tried in vain to get the judge to let me speak.

It was nearly a complete waste of time bringing the suit. With such financial disparity, I never had a chance. 
For all of my trouble, all I got was an earful of a hateful, sexist judge's, rhetoric; it took all of my emotional and financial resources and I still have no parenting/visitation rights.  I do feel good, knowing that I did all that was in my power to fight for my son's well-being, but that is accompanied by feelings of powerlessness and frustration. My son's mother is still not cooperative about communicating with me, but the judge did rule that I could have at least one phone-conversation per week with my son on a specific day, and his mother has more or less honored that. I was ordered to pay $2,000 of her lawyers' fees, which makes absolutely no sense to me because if I could have afforded attorney's fees, I would have hired one to represent my son's interests in the suit I brought on his behalf. Nevertheless, considering the judges obvious hatred of me, I was just glad I hadn't been ordered to pay all of her lawyer fees. It definitely didn't help me to get the courts involved, I don't recommend it unless you can afford an expert attorney. It is easy to see why so many fathers flip out when trying to deal with the system. Try to educate yourself as much as possible about child custody issues; you can find a great book on the subject, right here: Click Here!

Fortunately, my son has not yet been turned completely against me--when I visit with him he displays great affection. He often tells me he would like to spend more time with me and come visit me at my new home in California. He does display a lot of anger and frustration though, and some of the questions that he asks are hard for me to answer. His questions and remarks suggest that he may have overheard his mother and step-father saying some unpleasant things about me or discussing other matters which a child should be left out of.

The implications of my story are scary and should not be ignored. Arizona has the highest number of single mothers--I believe that is because some women are taking advantage of this loophole in the law: If one parent takes a child out of the state without telling the other, it is considered child abduction, but if a woman takes an unborn fetus out of the state and gives birth in another state, she can then long-arm the father for child support in the state where the child was conceived, and she never has to let him see his child. If a father wants to enforce his paternal rights (and his child's rights), he must petition the courts wherever the abductor has gone off to.

I started this page partly as an outlet for myself since the judge would not let me speak at the hearing. I had to find some way to get my story out. If you are an attorney reading this and you would like to help my son and I, please contact me. Anyone who wishes to contribute to our legal fund can do so by clicking on the "Donate" button below:

Thank you for taking the time to read this! I welcome you comments below:

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PAS is Real

Here is an article I found at Trondson Online: It discusses the various ways that mothers alienate their children from their natural fathers and outlines some interesting statistics on the subject of custody.

The video below explains Parental Alienation Syndrome and some of it's consequences:

Learn more about PAS: Click Here!

Canada's Fathers Fighting For Their Children

Apparently, there is a lot going on right now in the Canada's Courts as far as the legal status of father's rights. It appears the courts are starting to recognize children's and fathers rights more. I keep finding articles out of Canada on the subject.

I found this article on Angiemedia today, and I thought I would feature it. It illustrates the disturbing trend of the courts to ignore the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution as it appears to apply to fathers rights in child custody/visitation cases.

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Parental Alienation Syndrome

I stumbled upon this very interesting article which explains very well my own situation, and the frustration I have experienced in trying to have contact with my son: Court Awards Sole Custody to Father Due to Mother’s Parental Alienation. Although this story has a pretty happy ending, my son and I have not had the same luck.

I think any father who has been going through what I have, will relate to the article. I was especially fascinated by a link in the article which pointed to this Wikipedia entry on Parental Alienation Syndrome.

I am very interested in hearing of the stories of other fathers who have stories similar to mine or have had similar problems relating to visitation/custody of their children. There is comfort and strength in unity.

Thank you.

Fathers For Justice

I thought I would share this article out if England:

The Fathers For Justice is a group of individuals united for the purpose of protecting childrens' right to have a relationship with their fathers. Apparently, they caused quite a stir when they demonstrated in superhero costumes.

I especially related to this article, because when I went to visit my son as a toddler I usually wore my Superman costume just to make sure my visit would stick out in his memory.

The Tarnished Image of the Father

A prominent Australian newspaper reports that a man who separated from his wife, claims that his wife and the religious organization she belongs to acted together to "brainwash" his son against him. See the article here: The Australian. The man claimed to have photos which showed that he had a enjoyed a close and meaningful relationship with his son, until his separation with his wife.

This is similar to the stories I hear time and again from fathers who have separated or where never really together with the mothers of their children. Many of the single fathers I know say that although they pay regular child support and try hard to be a part of their childrens' lives, they are often refused contact with their children by the mothers. Or, the mothers just make it so difficult for them to see their children, they rarely get to see their children at all. A few of the men I have spoken with even reported being attacked or assaulted during an exchange by the mothers' new boyfriends or spouses (an experience I have had myself).

I will be post more articles on this subject as I believe it is a part of a country-wide social phenomenon. I will also be posting articles on and discussing the legal issues that single fathers face.

Letter From a Frustrated Father

Message: Hi David,
I like your website. It's interesting how the Universal Mind guides us in life. I was once homeless in Reno, Nevada when I was 19. Although my mother came to my rescue after I tried to do everything in my power to survive on my own as I did not want to be a burden to her. She raised me and four other siblings on her own after my father died in an accident. I was abused as a child as well and didn't even know it until many years later as an adult.
I have always tried to help the homeless in this way or that. One day, I came across a lovely old lady in Redondo Beach, California an area close to where I live. I saw her and realized that she was at least around my own mother's age. I stopped and asked her if she would take some money. She refused. So I asked her in her caution of me, if we could just talk. Initially she was standoffish, which I totally understood. I noticed that she had hands that were deformed. Although that did not bother me and certainly it seemed to not bother her as she was obviously born that way.
She asked me why I was interested in her. I told her that when I saw her, that she reminded me of my mother. And that I wondered how it was that a woman of her age had come to live on the streets. She told me that she had been living this lifestyle (her words) since the late 1940's. She said she used to be one of the original Pismo Beach Beatniks that decided to live outside of what mainstream society had created for itself.
I had told her a little about my street experience. She wasn't shocked or surprised of course. She was 73 years old and had been living her way for about 56 years. She said that she had had a family, but that she was always the outsider. She never mentioned anything about her hands in that regard. But people were even harsher in the '40's and '50's towards people with deformities and mental handicaps.
I thanked her for sharing her story with me and asked her once again if I could offer her any money to help her out even just a little bit. She eventually agreed to take some money but I think she only did so because I seemed a bit melancholy as I had told her that my mother was only a year or so younger than her and yet, she was wasting away in an Alzheimer's care facility in Colorado near my hometown of Aspen. My older brother and youngest sister look after her.
My wife and I worry a lot lately as we barely pay our rent and other bills. I have two children from a previous marriage who live in my neighborhood where we moved to after living 30 miles away for about four years and I was traveling three to four days a week to see my kids and also on the weekends. I had always sworn to myself that I would never abandon my children no matter what, especially after losing my father when I was seven years old. It devastated me and it took me until I was about 19 to stop crying. Losing a parent is tough when you are that young. Although it must be tougher when they are alive, but never really there for you.
My ex-wife has custody, even though she is abusive to my children, the Los Angeles County Department of Family and Child (Services?) granted her full custody even after she had been reported for abusing my son and daughter. Bureaucracy always amazes me. The abuse of my children from when they were infants is another story all together.
I would send you a few bucks, but I would need an actual mailing address as I do not have a credit card. ( got rid of it a few years ago after maxing it out trying to pay my massive child support payments). That's what's killing me. Having to pay my ex-wife for abusing my children. It enrages me. My wife and I have been trying to deal with the fascist state bureaucracy for the last five years. We are presently waiting to hear back from Child Support (Services?) about a court date to reduce my garnishments. I lose more than half of my measly paycheck to my ex-wife every week. I have had such a hard time just giving my kids the simple little things they ask for. We don't even take them to breakfast or out to dinner anymore. That's how tight our money is.
So you see, my fear is ending up on the streets again. I have even thought about talking to my wife about getting a divorce so I will not be a burden on her. My other fear is ending up with Alzheimer's like my mother. I can't live on the street with a disease like that.
It's interesting how we are all just trying to survive. I give thanks everyday for the wonderful woman who thought so much of me that she would be willing to take on my children AND my ex-wife. My children say that they love my wife more than their own mother. That's a sad thing to hear when your children say something so profound that they would rather be with us than their own mother. I have already warned my ex-wife that her children are already moving away from her, distancing themselves from her.
I have a good family and a few good friends and that's all one can ask for in life.

I hope you keep up your blogs and your stories.


Blaise Gauba
Torrance, CA