Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Victim #163: Army docks soldier's pay for alimony with no warning

by Stuart Watson / NewsChannel 36
NewsChannel 36
Posted on November 13, 2009 at 9:24 AM
Updated Friday, Nov 13 at 5:02 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Soldiers in the U.S. Army fight to uphold the Constitution.But do they get those same Constitutional rights when they get divorced in a foreign court? The I-team follows the story of a soldier who lost his son and half his pay with no chance to fight.

September 11th compelled Patrick Riley to join the U.S. Army.

"I was 27 - in decent shape - figured I'd go do something for my country," he says.

Between two tours in Iraq, he was stationed in Germany where he met Daniela. Riley and the German woman had a baby boy. Before he left again for Iraq, he married her. "I wouldn't have got married if it hadn't been for my son. I wanted to make sure he was going to be taken care of if anything should happen to me my second tour," he says

But shortly after the family moved stateside - to Shelby, North Carolina - where he was stationed as a recruiter, Riley says, "She left and my whole world turned upside down."

His wife took their son and flew out of Charlotte Douglas Airport back to Germany.  "I can't even explain to you some thoughts - it's just so hard - cause you know two years of not having your son. It's hard," Riley says.

Then - with no notice - no court hearing - no way to contest it, the Army docked more than half of Sergeant Riley's pay. He says it leaves him with about 13-hundred dollars a month. Most of the garnishment was not child support - but alimony.