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One Fatherâ€™s Story
First, you can read about my background.
The Family Court system in the United States is broken.
More than just being in disrepair, itâ€™s dangerous. It ruins lives. It destroys families. It tears children from loving men who are perfectly fit to be fathers. It rewards dishonesty. It promotes hostility.
Under the idea that litigation is the best way to solve family disputes, the Family Court system only escalates problems, with no safety valve. Lawyers dump fuel on the fires because they have no incentive to settle.
Family Court is a meat grinder that cares nothing for the truth or children. Through kickbacks, Family Courts have financial incentives to order lopsided custody so they can order fathers to pay huge support payments which are matched by the federal government. Unlike fathersâ€™ child visitation orders (which go unenforced), judges and lawyers â€“ and ultimately men with guns â€“ enforce payments to mothers.
When I got divorced, I was ordered to abandon my children and pay my ex-wife more than 100% of my after-tax salary. Although my ex-wife and I each earned 1.6 million dollars during our 12-year marriage, I was ordered to finance her retirement at the expense of my own. We werenâ€™t even 46 years old yet. Why should divorce be profitable for anyone? Why should any parent get rich simply by raising their own children?
When the US Housing Bubble burst in 2008, my ex-wife and I were dangerously overextended. Our entire net worth was wrapped-up in real estate that we couldnâ€™t sell. We quickly lost everything. To keep food on the table and a roof over my familyâ€™s head, I volunteered to go to war. From 2009 to 2013, I worked in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a civilian defense contractor, where I earned more than three times my base salary. But it came at a steep price. I left just three days after my second daughter was born. The first time I heard her cry was over a satellite phone at an Iraqi base the Marines called Dreamland (video). I missed it all: her first words and first steps. By 2010, my ex-wife left Hawaii with my girls. It had been my home for 20 years, and the dream was finally over.
Several long years later, at my divorce, the support I was ordered to pay my ex-wife was based on my wartime income. The judge didnâ€™t care that the war in Iraq was over, and the war in Afghanistan was ending. He didnâ€™t care that, in Afghanistan, I worked 84 hours a week, in hardship and hazardous conditions. I slept in a bunkbed in a tent, and shared a shower in a filthy bathroom with a hundred other men. The internet there wasnâ€™t fast enough to Skype my daughters. I missed birthdays. I missed Christmases. The judge didnâ€™t care that I was weary of years in war and weary of living without my kids. I wanted to return to the USA to be with my children, my friends, and my family.
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