Local group shows support for parents in family court

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- The phrase "custody battle" can be a frightening term for parents when trying to determine who should get the kids: mom or dad.

That's why a local support group is here to help.

Wisconsin Fathers for Children and Families hosts Fathers’ Night Out: a local support group for fathers going through the family court system.

“To hear someone say, ‘well who gets the kids?’ well they’re not furniture, they’re human beings,” said TRY Family Mediator Denise Sprunk.

But it can be difficult for parents working through the family court system, trying to do what's best for the kids.

“I have gone through a custody battle with a child, that was about 6 years ago,” said Roger Halls.

Since 2012, Halls, a father from Stanley, decided he wanted to make a difference by helping start a local Fathers’ Night Out group for WFCF.

Halls said he's successfully had the group going for the last 7-8 months.

“Our primary goal here is to help fathers that are going through the issues of the family court system because it is a struggle with fathers,” Halls explained. “It's a lot of time investment, it's a lot of money investment, but the only reason we do it is because we love our kids and we feel like we should have our fair share time with them as well.”

Halls said you're starting to see more fathers become active in their children’s' lives, a reason to be there for others having issues in the family court system.

And that's something that Sprunk agrees with. Sprunk said having both mom and dad as positive role models is in the best interest for the kids.

“Mom had the kids, dad had Wednesday night and every other weekend, so they were basically, I call them ‘The Disney Dads,’” Sprunk said. “But it seems like now, dads want and need to be more involved in their children’s lives. I mean little boys need a male role model, a good healthy male role model, and little girls need that man to look up to.”

Sprunk added parents argue a lot about time, but having smaller amounts of time that are meaningful can be just as good as a 50-50 split.

Although the NW Fathers’ Night Out group invites local dads to share in their support, they also encourage anyone going through child custody issues to attend.

The group meets every third Thursday of the month at Milwaukee Burger Company in Eau Claire at 7 p.m.

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