A Father and a Veteran in Need
Organized by: William Steuerwald
In 2008 I returned home from Iraq and I was handed divorce papers. That was the day I lost my 4 year old daughter and the place I called home. It turned out the battle I would face at home would be a bigger enemy than the one that I faced overseas. Being homeless and not having a job was just the start. I would soon find out that my ex-wife spent all of the money I made overseas to pay off all of the debts in her name while leaving me with my own debts still left to pay. After that the courts would take custody of my daughter away from me and order me to pay $875 a month in child support and spousal maintenance. With everything seeming to be spiraling out of control I found myself at a Veterans Affairs hospital because adjusting back to the civilian life was very difficult. I would now be labeled with having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. With help from a long time friend I was able to find a job, but starting a fresh career after 7 years of active duty service to my country wasn't going to bring in the money needed to suffice an unfair court system. $800 every two weeks? One of my paychecks wouldn't even cover the debt owed to my ex-wife. How would I pay my bills? Find a place to live? Eat? Meanwhile I was sending my now ex-wife what money I could. $300 here, $400 there via bank transfers. I didn't know that all of this would later bite me in the ass. Jumping forward five years later my daughter was 9 years old and still I hadn't seen her. My ex-wife is active duty Air Force and was stationed in Germany during much of this time. I couldn't even fully pay child support, how could I fund a trip to Germany? I couldn't. At one point my daughter told me on the phone that she didn't want me to be her daddy anymore. Now jumping forward another three years to the present day, I now have two boys, a two year old and a two month old that I am with full-time. My daughter will be 12 years old in a couple of months and again I have not seen her nor have I held her since she was 4 years old. My ex-wife has been stationed back in the states and has officially filed for child support. I am now having $636 per month pulled from my paychecks and another$125 per month for health insurance despite my daughter being covered 100% through the military. That's $764 a month to support one child and the system apparently doesn't care that I have two sons at home. Back tracking to the $300- $400 I was giving my ex-wife when I could, we'll because that wasn't paid directly through child support it doesn't count and if disputed could ultimately be considered gift money. I now have a $58,000 debt on my shoulders. The state is threatening to go after my drivers license if I don't pay. With no driver's license I will soon have to drive to work illegally and risk becoming another criminal statistic. I usually wouldn't ask for help, but I don't want to end up losing my two sons out of my life like I did my daughter. I do need help. I am looking for help to get a lawyer and fight for my rights as a father. I'm looking for any financial help that I can get. I understand that there are a lot of people out there who need money more than I do, I get that. So if you can't donate or if you feel like my situation isn't worth a donation, at the very least could you please share this on your Facebook page. Thank you so much.