Reunite David with his son

Please help my brother David and his family be reunited with his son and my nephew M, whom he has not been allowed to spend time with for several months despite a court ordered custody arrangement. David should have custody of M every other weekend, every holiday, and every summer (all summer long). Instead, M has been alienated from his Dad, step-mom, older brother, sister, and step-brother, and younger brother. I haven't even seen him for more than a year.  

Earlier this year, David showed up to M's school every day he was supposed to pick him up only to find that he was taken out of school early to prevent that. He was barred from talking to his own son for several months during that time period. David should have parenting time with M per the court order for the whole summer of 2017, but was blocked from taking him home. M hasn't been allowed to come home on his allotted weekends or holidays for the better part of a year. The last time the family did spend any time with M was in June. The last time anyone even saw M was in September, when the family waited 2 hours for his football game to start after being told the incorrect time, which happens for all of his games. My parents, M's grandparents, were at least able to see him and give him a hug, but he was told not to speak to anyone and barred from coming home to visit after that game.

David has spent tens of thousands of dollars in court and attorney fees in the last year ALONE. Two years ago, David was granted full custody of M's full biological siblings after legal negotiations that dragged on for 12 hours. In order to save on costs, the two parties started to use mediators to work out arrangements, but cooperation from the other side has been slow, minimal, and most recently ceased altogether. Unfortunately, contempt of court charges that have been filed don't enforce custody agreements. 

The funds raised by this campaign will help support the minimum amount needed for a custody evaluation. It will cover court fees and attorney fees. The need for this custody evaluation is critical. These court fights have been going on for YEARS now so the frustration isn't new, but this year has definitely been the worst. The effect this has had on David and his entire family including M and his 2 older siblings has been nothing less than psychological warfare. M was the youngest when his parents divorced and if I'm completely honest, the effects on him are already apparent and have been noted by at least one judge. 

M needs to come home to receive the love, support, and counseling that he needs. Please help us make all three of those happen by donating anything that you can! Our target date for a court hearing is as soon as possible, pending availability.

David and I, and our bother and sister grew up on a farm, so we know this cost is astronomical. We're also no strangers to hard work, which has meant that every spare penny earned has gone towards getting his family whole again. If you know David, you've seen that smile and heard that laugh before, but maybe not recently. He is one hell of a father, swaddler extraordinaire, a great husband, the best brother and uncle, my dad's namesake, and my mom's favorite (she'll deny it). Having ANY AMOUNT of help in this matter will bring back David's quick smile, light-hearted giggle, and mean the absolute world to a young boy. 

Thank you for reading this and supporting us. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the time you've taken from your own families just to help ours.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Erin Van Dokkenburg Crist 
Chicago, IL
David VanDokkenburg 
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