My Ex Is Cheating the Government

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband is an Army veteran. When he was 13 years old, he was in a sledding accident in which he lost consciousness at the scene and was in a coma for eight days. He was in therapy for neurological issues for a long time, trying to help him regain memory and brain function.

He didn't tell the Army about this when he joined. He and his family have kept it a secret. When I was told about this, I was threatened and ordered never to expose him.

I realized too late that he had everything planned out. He was going to use his disability from his childhood in order to "play hurt" and retire early from the Army.  

I even have an email in which he states this. He has chosen to insult all soldiers who have really gotten hurt in combat or during their time in the military.

I am now in a custody battle with him. He is trying to get his alone time with our 5-year-old and he is not capable of being alone with her. I have given the court and the judge examples. The judge sees my husband as a victim, as a "poor wounded soldier" and is not looking in the best interest of the child. The judge is looking for the best interest of this man.

Our daughter has never slept one night -- ever -- under his care. He never made her a bottle when she was a baby. I have taken care of Emma for five years because he was negligent toward her. His video games were always more important.

I have always encouraged their relationship and have always wanted him to be a part of her life, but now, I fear for her safety.

He is a fraud. He has deceived the Army. He has deceived his psychologist and doctors. Now, he is deceiving the judge as she is saying that this man is mentally OK and that he has improved.

I have seen the signs; I have witnessed his actions. He has the mentality of a teenager, and the court is putting my daughter's life in the hands of this man. Who do I report him to? Please help me.

-- CJ

Dear CJ,

I'm not sure to whom you can report this. I mean, I'm sure you can report it to many different people, but nothing will happen. Your husband will continue to receive his benefits.

I believe you when you say your husband had a brain injury prior to joining the military. However, he joined the military and made it through basic training and to a line unit. He obviously was able to perform satisfactorily enough that he did not raise suspicions or give any indications that he had a prior injury.

While he served, your husband was evaluated by medical professionals who agreed that he should be medically retired. Soldiers experience a great many diagnostic assessments before being medically retired. Collecting benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs can also be an arduous task.

I think (from the parts of your letter I could not publish, due to length) this guy was probably a real jerk and didn't treat you with respect or like he truly loved you. However, I think he deserves the compensation. Many people withhold information when they join one of the military service branches.

I also think you and your daughter deserve fair compensation. For this reason, I urge you to get legal representation. I can understand that you are angry. It is normal that you are looking retrospectively at how you allowed your husband to get away with things or take advantage of you when you were younger.

We grow up and we mature, and we look back over our lives and examine our mistakes, wishing we could "re-do" some things. His receiving all of the monetary benefits makes you feel that he is still winning and that you are losing, but this is not true. You still have your health and strength, and he has a serious injury.

What you have to guard yourself against is joining in another relationship with a jerk. In life, we often repeat the same mistakes. In spite of the red flags you had about your husband, you married him against your better judgment.

You have to figure that out really quick so you won't repeat the same mistake.

I'm thinking about you, and I hope you are doing OK. Check in when you can.

-- Ms. Vicki

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