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Author Topic: wife part time alchoholic how do I get custody?  (Read 9163 times)

Kitty C.

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Re: wife part time alchoholic how do I get custody?
« Reply #10 on: Aug 27, 2009, 07:51:31 PM »
MOT,

No alcoholic or recovering alcoholic is 'diagnosed' in the formal sense (formal meaning medical), unless you consider judges to be an authority to do so.  Because they are the ones who orders the alcohol recovery along with any restitution/penalty the accused is required to do.  And unless you've experienced and lived with an alcoholic, you don't have the authority to say that this OP's ex is NOT one.  But everything the OP describes of the symptoms of his ex screams alcoholism.  Especially the pattern.........all alcoholics have a pattern: what they drink, when they drink, where they drink, and why they drink.  And she has a definitely pattern...once she starts, she goes full bore.
 
Davy is right.......'She will blame everybody else in order not to deal with her own problem.'  Denial, along with justification are two of the biggest issues with alcoholics and drug abusers. 

Yes, he may have put up with it for 13 years, but again, if you haven't lived with an alcoholic, you have no idea what the lifestyle is like.  Yes, he had another child, but every enabler truely believes that the alcoholic will 'see the light' and change their ways.  Given how long I put up with DS's dad's drinking, I should have left LONG before I did, considering what I subjected my son to.  But I was an enabler and co-dependent, which most co-habitants of alcoholics are, and always hoped/wished/prayed he'd come to his senses and see what damage he was doing to himself and everyone else around him.  It took me a VERY long time to even understand the mechanics of alcoholism, which is probably also the case with the OP.

It doesn't sound like the OP is wanting to 'cut her out of their lives', it sounds like he finally is starting to understand the mechanics of the disease and that, as a parent, he has a responsibility of protecting his children from the repercussions and the fallout.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


brwneyedmom

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Re: wife part time alchoholic how do I get custody?
« Reply #11 on: Aug 27, 2009, 09:13:42 PM »
I agree with Kitty C completely, even though I have not lived with alcoholics or hard core drug addicts- although my son could be working on a drug addiction.  An alcoholic who has not had a drink for 30 years (and has been in AA or other groups) will still refer to him/herself as an alcoholic.  A sober one.  But an alcoholic, nonetheless.  So will a drug addict.  The disease may be under control but the addiction is still there, waiting to grab the person again.
I smoked for 30 years.  I am still a smoker, even though I haven't touched tobacco for four years.  I've quit three times for long periods of time.  All it takes is one cigarette, one drink.  It's waiting to get me again.
The OP's wife could very well be a binge drinker alcoholic.  All the signs are there.  The OP's wife will have to hit bottom and ask for help for herself.  All the OP can do is protect his children and himself from the consequences of her drinking.

MomofTwo

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Re: wife part time alchoholic how do I get custody?
« Reply #12 on: Aug 28, 2009, 05:07:02 AM »
Kitty,
 I don't disagree with you, but he is going to need a lot more then his claim and a video from one time from a long time ago for him to have sole custody, particularly in FL.  The FL statutes changed and the standard is shared custody and shared parenting time.   For one parent to be given sole custody is VERY unlikely and especially with his allegation.  I am not saying there isn't a problem, I am saying with what he alleges without proof, without evidence of her putting the children in harms way -- this will NOT be a reason he will get sole custody / primary physical custody in FL. 

Kitty C.

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Re: wife part time alchoholic how do I get custody?
« Reply #13 on: Aug 28, 2009, 08:44:43 AM »
I understand that FL statutes are strict, but it doesn't change the fact that he can demand and get evaluations from the National Council on Alcoholism ordered by the court and that, along with the proof he has and the possible testimony of the children would be plenty to put some serious restraints on the custody decisions.  He can ask for whatever it takes to protect his children.  Given the kids' ages, I would not be surprised if the judge wants to talk to them about what they've seen, heard, and smelled.
 
We had NCA evals done during our custody battle, both of us were ordered to do it after my atty. brought it up in court that I believed ex was an alcoholic....that's all it took.  My results stated I was co-dependent, so I found a Co-Dependents Anonymous group to join and the results of my eval were shared with opposing atty. and ex, as court ordered.  But for some reason we never got ex's results.  The lack of response was telling.  Another thing, this may have been done back in the early 90's, but NCA didn't charge us a thing, so even if there is a fee, I'm sure it is nominal.
 
Shared custody doesn't have to be changed in this case and I never stated that it should.  But some strong stipulations can be put in place to keep the children safe.  Like if Dad suspects that BM has been drinking when the children are exchanged, he can refuse to turn over the kids until the BM does a breathalizer test.  Also he can stipulate that if she gets a DUI, with or without the kids along, she will be forced to have supervised visitation until she tests negative for alcohol for a given length of time.  And I'm sure there are other stipulations that could be made that could be tailored more specifically to their case. 
 
It's not about taking the kids away from the BM or going for sole/primary custody, it's all about protecting the kids........because if nothing is done, then the only alternative is to wait until the inevitable happens.  And if that's an accident, dead kids make the whole issue a moot point.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

Momfortwo

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Re: wife part time alchoholic how do I get custody?
« Reply #14 on: Aug 28, 2009, 06:48:07 PM »

I understand that FL statutes are strict, but it doesn't change the fact that he can demand and get evaluations from the National Council on Alcoholism ordered by the court and that, along with the proof he has and the possible testimony of the children would be plenty to put some serious restraints on the custody decisions.  He can ask for whatever it takes to protect his children.  Given the kids' ages, I would not be surprised if the judge wants to talk to them about what they've seen, heard, and smelled.

 
My alcoholic father was able to sweet talk himself out of a DUI, even though he was drunk at the time. 
 
Alcohol does not stay in the body like other drugs do.  My alcoholic father only drank on the week-ends.  He would have passed any evaluation there was.  And, yes, my father drove all of us (5 kids total) in a vehicle when he was drunk. 
 
A video does not prove anything.  I can act drunk when I am stone cold sober.  All the mother has to do is say that she was just acting.  There's no proof otherwise. 
 
The original poster is in a tough spot because his wife has an addiction that is hard to prove. 
 
 
 


MomofTwo

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Re: wife part time alchoholic how do I get custody?
« Reply #15 on: Aug 29, 2009, 08:57:14 AM »
I agree with previous poster, and that is all I was saying, at this point in time - this is his allegation.  No history of arrests, public drunkeness, no DUI, no rehab,.... he is in a very difficult position to prove this and to use it to gain custody, particularly in a state where the standard is now shared legal/shared physical
 
Incidentally Kitty, the Journal of American Medicine absolutely does have an established criteria for diagnosis of alcoholism.  It is a medical condition and is recgonized as such. This definition was prepared by the Joint Committee to Study the Definition and Criteria for the Diagnosis of Alcoholism of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.  It's criteria for diagnosis is used every day for evaluation of patients into the clinical or rehab setting and for determination of treatment.  You legally can't treatment someone without rendering a diagnosis.
 
Also, FL courts do not readily ever want a child to be involved in a custody determination. It is highly frowned upon. 
 
But, you are right, if it is his contention, then he can and should request for an evaluation, but based on it being his allegation only, it is not a slam dunk it will be approved. 

Kitty C.

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Re: wife part time alchoholic how do I get custody?
« Reply #16 on: Aug 29, 2009, 10:41:44 PM »
I know that alcoholism is a designated medical diagnosis..............I went through the NCA eval.  What I'm saying is there is no requirement of the court to have it medically diagnosed in order to stipulate to it in an order.  Drug abuse is another one............when you're talking about addictions, DUI's and dirty drug tests are perfectly admissible in court without getting a medical eval. to back it up.  And it is very possible that they would approve ordering NCA evals. just on his allegations alone....that's how I got it.
 
I understand how the FL courts act.....but it is NOT the rule....they still go on a case-by-case basis, so anything is possible at any time.  But I will not tell anyone they don't have a flying chance in he!!, regardless of how tough or lenient a court may be.  This OP sounds defeated from the get-go and I'm only giving him as much info and pass on as much experience as I've had in order to give him the incentive to fight this as hard as he can.  It is ALWAYS a crap shoot, no matter what court or what state one might be in.  All that matters is what happens in HIS case and how HE prepares for it and fights in it............
 
As for anyone trying to talk their way out of a DUI nowadays, that's almost virtually impossible, unless you're talking about some backwater sheriff's dept. who has 'buddies' they don't want to see get into trouble.  I've been taught by deputies on what they look for to have probable cause in order to pull a vehicle over for suspected DUI.  I've called in plenty of suspected vehicles myself...I have 2 sheriff's dept. non-emergency numbers in my cell phone.  Just in my state alone, the number of DUI's has risen dramatically as law enforcement agencies have gotten tougher.  For anyone who drives drunk, it's only a matter of time.....
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

jeepin00787

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Re: wife part time alchoholic how do I get custody?
« Reply #17 on: Sep 01, 2009, 06:55:43 AM »
First I want to thank everyone for their comments, even though some were hard to swallow.
 
Second, I had posted after the third post, but its gone?
 
I have a lot to read here and consume and I appreciate everyone's input, no matter how cold it is. I would like to state that I dont believe I said I wanted to take my children away from their mother, rather for her to get help. But I have come to the point where I realize I can not help someone who does not want to help themselves. Also, I did not realize she was an alcholic until 2000, this was after our second child was born. I noticed symptoms before that, but didnt realize it. And for you to say someone to say I dont have the ability to diagnose alcholism, what do you call it when someone is 44 yrs old picks her children up from school drunk, eats taco salad with her hands and passes out by 6pm? I talked with my son for an hour last night about this, as it happened yesterday. He is so scared, he wants to leave, yet he doesnt want to leave her. I dont blame him, she isnt bad all the time. I didnt even ask him and he asked me if he could tell the judge he wanted me to have custody because he was scared to stay with his mom. This is only getting worse. I will ask the children about calling the police again.
 
I called the police one time when I came home and she was drunk, they were eating pork and I went in the kitchen, the pork (that she prepared) was on the stove and RAW on the inside. I mentally lost it and called for a sheriff to come out and try to scare her straight. Guess what, nothing he could do.
 
The reality is, I want her to become clean. I dont think this will happen, and it appears there is no way for me to get full custody. What is a caring dad to do?

Kitty C.

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Re: wife part time alchoholic how do I get custody?
« Reply #18 on: Sep 01, 2009, 09:07:52 AM »
I feel for you....I really do.  Addictions are extremely hard to understand for those of us who aren't.  I had a friend I housesat for in CA for a a while........he was so addicted to alcohol, I could smell him before I saw him, because the alcohol would seep out of his skin.  I could never understand how someone could do something like that to their body, considering how miserable it made them feel.  I even asked DH why and he coudn't tell me, either.
 
Absolutely make sure that the kids understand they can call the police ANY time they feel afraid.  Or if they don't feel comfortable doing that, then they call you and YOU call the police, tell them you've received a call from your children, they are afraid because their mom is drinking, and you want a welfare check done.  If the police arrive, find her passed out or just completely inebriated, they have every right to remove the children from the home.  So when (I know it's not if) you call the police, tell them that you want the children brought to you if they have to be removed.  Get reports of EVERY time the cops go to her door for anything and submit it to the court when you go back.
 
As much as you want her to 'come clean', I strongly recommend you find an Al-Anon group to join to help you through this process.  After much soul-searching and stress, I finally came to the realization that no one can change an addict.  They have to want it for themselves first........and every addict has their 'bottom', the place that they finally reach that gives them that 'lightbulb moment' when they realize they can't do this anymore.  Unfortunately for some, that bottom can be death and for others, they have to lose everything before they reach it.  In DH's case, it was me saying I wouldn't live that way anymore and I left.  He realized he wanted me more than the booze.  But it's a choice only the addict can make.
 
Maybe it will take the BM losing her children, or only having very limited or supervised visitation, to get her to that lightbulb moment, who knows.  But you can't force the issue, no matter how much you would like to........it totally has to be up to her.  Do the Al-Anon and get the kids into AlaTeen......they no doubt will have a lot of guilt, because it's common for them to rationalize that if they were better kids, did all the things they were supposed to do, not make her mad, etc., then she wouldn't drink.  They take responsibility for it and they have to understand that it is NOT them, that it's an illness their mom has and nothing they can say or do will change that.
 
Just don't accept defeat before it's even happened or you've even tried.  There is no way of knowing if you'll get full custody or primary physical or whatever until the judge rules on it.  Half of this battle is mental and you must get your mind in the right place to get through it.  Go through this as if you EXPECT full custody, but understand that there is a possibility that you may have to settle for less.  Ask for the moon and stars and settle for something less than that if you have to.  But don't NOT even try........one of my favorite Beatitudes is one that isn't in the Bible:  Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they will not be disappointed.
 
What is a caring dad supposed to do?  Protect those children, no matter what it takes.....
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

Momfortwo

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Re: wife part time alchoholic how do I get custody?
« Reply #19 on: Sep 01, 2009, 03:52:53 PM »
Just don't accept defeat before it's even happened or you've even tried.  There is no way of knowing if you'll get full custody or primary physical or whatever until the judge rules on it.  Half of this battle is mental and you must get your mind in the right place to get through it.  Go through this as if you EXPECT full custody, but understand that there is a possibility that you may have to settle for less.  Ask for the moon and stars and settle for something less than that if you have to.  But don't NOT even try........one of my favorite Beatitudes is one that isn't in the Bible:  Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they will not be disappointed.

What is a caring dad supposed to do?  Protect those children, no matter what it takes.....

 
The problem with the above recommendation is that she doesn't work.  She's a stay at home mom.  If he can't prove her alcoholism, he's not getting custody.  She is.   Once the judge rules, it's going to be hard to change without proof.  Before he does anything, he should consult with an attorney to see what his chances are.  Because one thing for sure, he doesn't want to try and then find out that he's the one without primary custody.  By then, it's too late. 
 
By staying, he has more control over the situation.  He can hire a someone to come in and clean the house/care for the kids when the kids are there so that she is not alone with them.   If he were to get divorced and get primary, he's going to have to have some kind of childcare set up.  Plus, it's one more witness who could be considered unbiased.  Let's face it, a judge is going to be skeptical of the soon to be ex husband making claims of addiction so that he can get custody.   

 

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