Operation Dead Beat Dad
by Stephen Henry
I reside in Fulton County Ohio, I have served for most of this decade with the 101st Airborne, and the 37th Infantry out of Ohio. I split with my wife when I deemed our marriage harmful to the well being of our daughter who was still a baby.
Even as we were only separated I was denied time with my daughter while I was in preparation for Operation Enduring Freedom. In the end I followed through with the divorce on the grounds that no one in their minds would deny a father shared parenting before he went off to war. I was very much wrong. I ended up paying for bills that I never even heard of even though I had already been paying all of her bills amidst our separation, her lawyer, and my lawyer that helped her by setting me up for failure.
The Judge with out saying the word liar called me a liar. I ended up three months before my deployment receiving Nine hours a week with my daughter. Two hours on Wednesdays and Seven hours on Saturdays. They disregarded the part where I said that I work late on weekdays and had drill on some Saturdays. The Ohio Jobs and Family Services took almost three months to process everything for me to pay my Child Support and penalized me in doing so.
My final court papers were at my house less than two weeks before I was sent away so that I could not appeal the final order. I found out that The Jobs and Family services take two percent on top of the child support, making the system very partial. When I go back home I have no job, and because of the large amount of money the courts ordered me to pay in a short amount of time, I had to get rid of the home that I was renting in order to have a place to bring my daughter. They will take my drivers license and then put me in jail if I cannot pay, although there is a weak job market around North West Ohio. It is a set up for failure that results in a downward spiral.
When I returned to Ohio on leave and on pass I was denied the court appointed time with my daughter and there was nothing that I could do about it. I asked the courts to put in something that ordered my Ex Wife Nichole Dominique to let me have contact with our daughter while I was away. the Judge said that he thinks that she is working with me. So, nothing was added in my defense. Currently, I go several months at a time without hearing from my daughter.
The only time I hear a word or receive a picture through email is when I send a check to her that she does not even spend on my daughter ( Not child support, but a personal check). My phone calls are ignored, and I am not alerted when my daughter is in the hospital. the Judge said that " I had enough on my plate". My daughter does not even say Daddy. I suppose that enabling parental alienation makes my plate less full. There is so much more to this story, but I do not have the time to write it all right now. This story that is mine is the same stories that you will hear from soldiers in every Platoon in the Army. whether it be Active Duty, or Guardsman. Let us defend your rights, so that we my be denied our own.