James Murrell is a 46-year-old father who was hit with a divorce notice from his wife of two years when their daughter was an infant. The Oklahoma resident told a legislative panel of the struggles he has had in trying to keep in touch with his child, according to the Oklahoman.
After his divorce he was ordered to pay child support and half the cost of sending his daughter to day care in Tulsa, a payment he still makes despite his wife’s relocation to Texas with their kid, according to the Oklahoman.
Calvin Williams, director of fatherhood services for Public Strategies, addressed the panel as well in an effort to lower the number of children in Oklahoma that grow up without a father.
“It increases when you have the economic downturns like we do because when a father has the inability to provide for his child, his absence is the guilt and shame,” Williams said to the panel. “Mom becomes an impediment at that point — you can’t provide; you’re not going to see your kid.”
Williams and Public Strategies work to try and help Oklahoma residents become more involved in their children’s lives, according to the organization’s website.