Who will fight for the rights of military fathers?

March 28, 2013

Here's a sad but true story. It starts with a young couple living in North Carolina, married two years, wife pregnant, husband in the Army Reserves.

He's deployed to Afghanistan for a year, and she moves to Maryland to live with her parents and newborn daughter. One year later, a week before the child's father comes home from Afghanistan, the wife texts her husband to say she's divorcing him — she claimed abandonment, even though they had kept in touch weekly — and then takes two thirds of the money they had saved.

The Army returned the soldier to North Carolina to the job that was waiting for him. He had to rent an apartment and furnish it because she had everything. He hired an attorney at $300 per hour because the attorney advertised he could protect the father's rights. But as it turned out, there is no such thing.

The wife had a bachelor's degree and finally decided to get a job. So now they were making close to the same amount, she grossing $2,300 a month and he $2,600. She had the added expense of day care, at $860 a month, but she was still living for free with her parents.

But the court ordered the father to pay $967 a month in child support, which left him $1,200 a month in take home pay to live on. Plus, he can only see his daughter if he goes up to Maryland after the judge said he couldn't take her back to North Carolina for visits because the car ride would be too hard on an 18-month-old. The wife also asked for alimony but that has not been granted so far.

Now the father has added expense of driving seven hours and paying for gas, food and lodging. The mother gets to keep all her paycheck and her child's day care is paid for.

Meanwhile, the father who stayed faithful while serving his country is abandoned by the "injustice" system. Seven other fathers in the soldier's unit also came home to similar circumstances.

Is there anyone who will fight for these fathers after all the fighting they did for us?

Jeff and Laurie Madsen

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