Gulf War Veteran with Multiple Sclerosis Jailed-Is the Child Support Arrearage Fake?

[Note: Reader Kate Dobson, a second wife, mother and stepmother is joining the blogging team at Kate’s previous posts can be seen here.–GS]

Geauga, OH–According to the Mary”s Advocates article “Gulf War Veteran Fighting War at Home this 2008 Holiday’ (11/24/08):

After his wife filed for divorce in 2002, Timothy Nolan, a Gulf War veteran living in Geauga, Ohio learned that he has Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  The MS is related to his service in the Gulf War.  Dolan also has spinal injuries as a result of his service as a paratrooper.

A news report from Seattle Senator, Patty Murray says, “A disproportionate number of veterans from the first Gulf War are developing symptoms of MS, but they often face difficulty obtaining disability benefits from the VA.”

Because he couldn’t pay as much child support as demanded, Mr. Nolan was taken to Geauga County, Ohio jail by sheriffs for two nights on May 27, 2008. The copies of the warrant provided by the County Clerk and the sheriffs were never signed by a judge, only the assistant prosecutor and the deputy clerk.

Mary”s Advocates says that while Nolan was in jail he was denied all of his medications including those for MS.  He was in excruciating pain and couldn”t control his arms and legs and had to be fed through a straw.  Recently, Sean Levert, another father jailed for failure to pay child support died in jail because he was denied medication.

The issues involved with the alleged child support arrears are complicated and seem to stem from several different government agencies.  Geauga County Courts maintain that Dolan earns over $55,000 a year even though he is still waiting for VA disability compensation and Social Security benefits.

Ohio Law says that the courts can change Mr. Nolan’s child support order to zero once he has documented his physical disability, which he did over four years ago. The court is also not allowed to demand child support money if Mr. Nolan receives any need-based public assistance. Mr. Nolan had been getting Medicaid physical therapy, home health care, and welfare food assistance. But that was stopped this month because somebody in Geauga County reported that he has a high income, says Mr. Nolan.

From the information available it appears that the Geauga County courts are imputing income for Dolan. It also appears that the family courts are ignoring Ohio state statutes and federal laws regarding VA benefits.

Other issues of concern raised in this story are the way in which Dolan was jailed last May without a hearing before a judge as well as the manner in which he was denied his MS medications which could possibly have resulted in a life threatening situation for Dolan. While this type of treatment is always an outrage it seems doubly so in this case involving a war veteran who bravely served his country and is now disabled as a result of that service.

Mention was also made in the article of the way in which Dolan”s two-year old son was taken from him at the time his wife filed for divorce and how Dolan says he was misled about his legal rights regarding his son at that time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *