Initially, the prospect of becoming a father scared me to death. Being responsible for raising another human being was unfathomable to me. My life had been a roller coaster up to my mid-thirties. I didn’t want to bring an innocent kid into that.
Then, a miracle happened. The sound of my son’s tiny heart beat over an ultrasound burst through my trepidation like a charging fullback. Fear and reticence were instantly transformed into profound love. I knew there was nothing I wouldn’t do for him.
Months later, a second miracle happened. I looked at an ultrasound image of my younger child with whom I was already in love and realized I had a daughter. I knew there was nothing I wouldn’t do for her.
I worked. Sometimes 7 days a week. Sometimes, 2 jobs at a time. Sometimes, 12 hours a day. I saved money. I paid my bills. I built my credit. I bought property. Not only did I want to be there for the kids every day, I wanted to make sure they were well provided for. I invested 15 years into establishing a good life for my family. Then, divorce tapped me dry. Clearly, it had been the goal of the opposition to drive me to financial ruin. For them, it was a question of leverage.
I have reached a point where I cannot meet my goals as a father or activist without the help of good-hearted strangers. No social services agency has $10,000 to help me save the home I bought for my children. No relative can help with my astronomical legal bills. No friend can afford to pay my back taxes.
While I search for suitable employment to help regain my footing, I find myself in jeopardy of losing my home and car. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: No father shown to be dedicated to his children should suffer financial catastrophe as the result of a divorce strategy. The very idea is absurd. My aim is to not only reclaim my life, but to help other fathers avoid the same fate.
I have lost it all and started over more than once, but this time is different. At 48, I have to weigh how many years it will take to clean up this mess against how much quality time I will have with the kids. The numbers don’t look good.
This is why I’m asking the public to not only recognize the plight of good divorced fathers whose lives are ravaged by the divorce/custody/support complex, but to think of the kids who love and need them. I’m asking for help not only for myself, but for my kids and for other fathers and their kids. Single moms deserve all the help they can get, but they are by no means the only single parents facing impossible challenges.
Please weigh my words carefully, then spread them. Thank you.