Family Justice Initiative
Parents maintain the legal right and responsibility to parent their children, while pursuing a self-determined life outside of ultra-Orthodoxy. Footsteps’ family justice programming supports this right and works to preserve the relationship between parents and children.
Please contact [email protected] or (877) STEPS-55 (877-783-7755) for more information about our family justice services, or to join as a member.
Navigating the legal system while transitioning out of the ultra-Orthodox community can be overwhelming. We help families through processes of divorce, custody, and more, including: access to legal representation, individual counseling for emotional impacts of divorce and custody proceedings, and peer support groups.
Referrals to legal counseling: Footsteps offers referrals to pro-bono, low-bono counseling or attorneys, as well as other legal services as needed with external partners for eligible members.
- Case management: Footsteps staff is available to meet with members to provide family justice case management, including information about the separation or divorce process and to connect you with other resources.
- Legal reform strategizing: Footsteps staff is working to solve systemic issues in the legal system that affect members.
- A published legal manual: This informational handbook created by Footsteps staff, members, and supporters is designed for individuals to better understand the divorce and custody process and its potential ramifications.
- Support groups: The Footsteps Parenting Group is a weekly peer support group for parents navigating their current realities and difficulties of caring for children while transitioning into a new life, custody and visitation issues, estrangement, and beyond.
- Legal education programming: Footsteps staff and legal partners will participate in webinars and events to educate both members and the general public about relevant topics in the field of family justice law.
- Education and mentoring to legal firms: Footsteps staff strategize with attorneys representing Footsteps members in custody or divorce proceedings and a range of legal matters.
Thank you for your interest in Footsteps!
If you are interested in volunteering, or able to provide low-bono or pro-bono legal services please contact [email protected].
Please find the below resources available about our members’ experiences in divorce and custody:
- When One Parent Leaves a Hasidic Community, What Happens to the Kids? portrays three very different outcomes for parents and a good overview of our custody cases.
- This New York Times series on education in yeshivas covers our legal work in the field.
- This earlier New York Times article profiles our custody work and shows some of the progress we’ve made in the past few years.
- Please find further resources about our members’ experiences and backgrounds here. Our top recommendations for lawyers includes: 1) One of Us on Netflix, 2) All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen, and 3) Unorthodox on Netflix.
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