MIAMI, July 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — DADvocacy, a law firm just for dads headquartered in Miami, has recently put the wheels in motion to offer child support representation for teenaged fathers. The firm, founded by former child support assistant state attorney and former child support General Magistrate Chantale Suttle already handles cases for bewildered adult dads facing child support.
Miami-Dade County’s Child Support docket is 93,000 active cases. To put this in perspective, the entire state of Florida’s foreclosure docket is 275,000 active cases. Miami-Dade runs its child support enforcement program out of four courtrooms, located separately from the County’s gigantic family law courthouse, several blocks away. Of those cases, only about 5% of obligor fathers are represented, compared to 100% of moms, who are benefitted from free representation by the State Attorney’s office. DADvocacy is seeking to change that. For grown up dads at affordable rates, and now, for teenaged dads at no charge under certain circumstances. Free representation of teen dads is a no brainer. Helping teen dads helps their babies, which will in the long run, also help mom. Some surprising numbers evidencing the involvement of teenaged dads was published by the Ford Foundation in 2005 following a study of 400 teenaged fathers in 15 cities. Surprisingly, teenaged fathers are not the irresponsible young deadbeats society makes them out to be; in fact, 82% reported having daily contact with their children, even when living in a different household than the mother. 74% reported contributing financially to their children. When teenaged fathers are backed by their communities with job programs and educational opportunities, their children benefit. In the Ford Foundation study, 2/3 of young fathers entering programs designed to assist and guide teenaged dads found paying jobs, thereby enabling them to bear financial responsibility for their kids, whether through a court order or not. It is on these promising numbers that DADvocacy thinks some of the best work it can do is to help our community’s youngest fathers. For one, DADvocacy wants to ensure that the young man facing nearly two decades of support payments truly is the biological father.
Second, and most importantly, DADvocacy can help a teenaged dad facing problems with access and visitation to his child. Spending time with his child at an early age helps both father and child establish early childhood bonding that is so critical to development. Helping all fathers is the goal and mission of DADvocacy.
DADvocacy was founded by attorney Chantale L. Suttle. It is headquartered in Miami.