The Betrayal of the Military Father

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The Betrayal of the Military Father

Postby Akil Todd Harvey » Tue Feb 28, 2006 2:49 pm

By Glenn Sacks

When Gary, a San Diego-based US Navy SEAL, was deployed in Afghanistan in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, he never dreamed that his service to his country would cost him his little son. Gary's son was not taken from him by a terrorist or a kidnapper. This 17-year Navy veteran with an unblemished military and civilian record was effectively stripped of his right to be a father by a California court.

Gary's story is not an unusual one. Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, if a parent takes a child to a new state, that new state becomes the child's presumptive residence after six months. Because a normal military deployment is six months or more, if an unhappily married military spouse moves to another state while the other spouse is deployed, by the time the deployed spouse returns the child's residence has already been switched. Since courts lean heavily in favor of a child's primary caregiver when determining custody, the spouse who moved the child is virtually certain to gain custody through the divorce proceedings in that new state.

Because of the strict restrictions on travel by active military personnel, the cost of legal representation, and the financial hardships created by child support and spousal support obligations, it is very difficult for returning service personnel to fight for their parental rights in another state. Many struggle even to see their children, much less remain a meaningful part of their lives, and the bond between the children and their noncustodial parent is often broken for years, if not permanently.

Gary has not been able to see his son, who now lives abroad, in nearly nine months. When he calls he can sometimes hear the three year-old ask "when daddy come?" and "where's daddy?" in the background but he is often prevented from speaking with him.

According to nationally-known family law attorney Jeffery Leving, author of Fathers' Rights , there are three solutions to the problems facing military fathers. First, the federal Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940 needs to be amended to specifically prohibit the spouses of active duty military personnel from permanently moving children to other states without the permission either of the active duty military spouse or of a court. (The primary purpose of the Act, whose origins go back as far as the Civil War, is to protect active armed forces personnel by mandating that civil actions against them be delayed until after their return from service).

Second, California laws, which currently do little to prevent a custodial parent from moving children far away from the noncustodial parent, need to be changed to prohibit any permanent removals done against a deployed military parent's will. Third, the UCCJEA needs to be amended to state that the presumption of new residence does not apply if the children are taken in this wrongful fashion.

Gary has lost nearly $100,000 so far fighting for his son and may soon be forced to declare bankruptcy, which in turn will destroy the top secret security clearance he needs for his job. Worse yet is the emotional devastation wrought by his separation from his son and the knowledge that he may never see him again. He says:

"My love for my son cannot simply be brushed aside as the courts seem to believe it can. I can remember holding my little son's hand like it was yesterday. I can remember his cry. I hear it every time I hear another child crying."

"Sometimes I wonder what I risked my life [in Afghanistan] for. I went to fight for freedom but what freedom and what rights mean anything if a man doesn't have the right to be a father to his own child?"

Ho hum, just another example of men without parental rights and some probably thinks, that's, well, problemo, huh?
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Akil Todd Harvey
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Not the Era of the Deadbeat Dad

Postby Akil Todd Harvey » Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:06 pm

By Jeffery M. Leving and Glenn Sacks

Fatherhood has changed dramatically in the era of divorce and out of wedlock births, and much attention has been paid to two unfortunate products of this era—the absent father and the deadbeat dad. However, there is another type of father this era has produced, one which has received very little attention—the hero father.

According to the Children's Rights Council, a Washington-based advocacy group, more than five million American children each year have their access to their noncustodial parents interfered with or blocked by custodial parents. Behind that statistic are legions of heroic divorced or separated fathers who fight a long, hard but generally unrecognized battle to remain a meaningful part of the lives of the children who love them and need them.

Some hero fathers move repeatedly to be near their children. In the controversial case of DeBrenes v. Traub, Eric Traub had already moved to new cities twice in order to be near his daughter when he was forced to conduct a lengthy and expensive legal struggle to prevent her from being moved to Costa Rica. As is typical, the court allowed the move. Traub’s determination paid off, however, as the now teenaged girl became so set against the move that her mother, to her credit, dropped the request.

Most fathers are not so fortunate. In a recent California Supreme Court case, Gary LaMusga, who operates a business in Northern California, fought for eight years to prevent his two young sons from being moved to Ohio, 2,000 miles away. He eventually won, but his victory was a pyrrhic one because his children had already been moved out of state in violation of court orders. In the strange world of modern family law, even with the new decision his children will not be moved back.

While divorced dads are unfairly stigmatized as stingy, some noncustodial fathers raise their children in their homes but still pay child support to the children’s mothers. Many others never ask for child support. In the face of a family court system which usually grants mothers a monopoly of power over children, these fathers must buy or rent their children back. When mothers allow their children to live with their fathers—or send them there because they’ve become unruly or inconvenient—fathers often won’t challenge custodial and financial arrangements because they fear doing so will mean they’ll be pushed out of their children’s lives.

Other fathers endure physical abuse at the hands of their wives but remain in the relationships because they know that divorce will leave their children alone in the custody—usually sole custody—of an abuser. Decades of research show that women are as likely to abuse their male partners as vice versa, and that heterosexual men make up a significant minority of those suffering injuries in domestic assaults. However, gender politics has kept this research from influencing government and law enforcement policies. Many men know that revealing their wives’ violence usually means the wife will claim that she was abused, and the system will side with her. Fathers are commonly arrested, punished or slapped with custody sanctions for their wives’ violence.

In one highly publicized case, Dr. Xavier Caro, a Northridge, California rheumatologist, endured years of physical abuse at the hands of his wife Socorro, who once assaulted him so badly he had to have surgery to regain his sight in one eye. Xavier stayed in the relationship for the sake of his kids but his efforts failed, as Socorro later shot and killed three of their four children.

Some fathers face false charges of domestic violence or sexual abuse, which are commonly used as custody maneuvers in divorce. Those most vulnerable to these charges are dads who are their children’s primary caregivers. Such charges are often made to separate these dads from their children so a new custody precedent can be set with mothers as the primary caregivers.

Falsely accused men often bankrupt themselves fighting to regain access to their children. Meanwhile, many can only see their children in nightmarish visitation centers where fathers are treated like criminals.

Over the past several decades the love and devotion of millions of fathers has been tested in ways few in previous generations experienced. This Father’s Day, let’s honor the hero father.

Yawn.....another case where men are treated like dirt......who cares???!?!?!?!?!?!?!??! I know I do......


We are mad as hell and we are certainly not going to take it anymore....

heterophobes go away........
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