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Question about visitation

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi Mamas,
I am on the fence deciding on whether I want to get a divorce. We have one child, a year and a half old together. I have already consulted with a lawyer who says DH would likely get supervised custody due to the fact that he is addicted to marijuana (smokes weed 24/7) and will never pass a drug test. My question is about supervised custody. What exactly does that mean? Who would be supervising? Me? His family? His girlfriend (if he gets one once we split?) I am torn up about this and I feel like I need to know how it could play out if I choose to go through with it.
Any insight would be very much appreciated.
Thank you!
post #2 of 23

This is a good question for your Atty..  Usually, the judge will appoint someone to supervise visitation.  It could be a relative or a non relative based on who the judge feels will be a better fit.

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Problem is I would need to pay for another visit to the attorney to ask this question. I emailed her and she wants me to come in. I can't afford another visit just to ask this question. The next time I go to see her it would have to be because I am definitely ready to file. So if anyone has any more information on how the person supervising is selected, I would really appreciate it.
post #4 of 23

What I have done in the past with other legal issues is I sought an attorney that offered free consultation services either by phone or via E mail.  Therefore, I would suggest that you research attorneys in your area who specialize in this specific area and who are willing to provide you with a free consultation.  Surprisingly, many attorneys provide free consultation services.  The question that you have is general enough that it would seem to me that any attorney would be able to answer it.

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your advice Mark. And now I'm really hoping to hear from some mamas who can share their knowledge and experience with this particular issue.
post #6 of 23

Where I live, there is a place that provides space and supervision for visits for a fee. I am not sure how a judge determines who can supervise.

 

I don't know who pays or how that's decided.

 

Does he care for the child unsupervised now? I ask because I think that it might look odd to the judge if you were leaving the child alone with him now but want to argue that he shouldn't be alone with the child.

 

You can get information and do a lot of guessing and ultimately have very little control over the outcome.

 

I would not want to be with a partner who was stoned or using 24/7.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
In the year and a half she has been alive he has probably been alone with her maybe 4 or 5 times for an hour or two at a time if that. He has never driven her alone in the car and only once or twice with me. Basically 99% of his interaction with her now is supervised by me anyway so I am wondering if his visits can just consist of him coming over to play with her, etc. If that were the case things would basically stay the same as they are now in terms of his involvement with her. Obviously he won't be able to pick her up and drive her anywhere if he is failing drug tests so either he comes here, I drive her to him or his "supervisor" comes with him to pick her up. My issue is that if one of his family members were deemed capable of supervising I know for sure they would not stick to the "rules" and I am sure they would let him drive her or take her wherever. They are clueless about the extent of his drug use. It's not recreational, it's like complete dependence.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by anneca77 View Post

In the year and a half she has been alive he has probably been alone with her maybe 4 or 5 times for an hour or two at a time if that. He has never driven her alone in the car and only once or twice with me. Basically 99% of his interaction with her now is supervised by me anyway so I am wondering if his visits can just consist of him coming over to play with her, etc. If that were the case things would basically stay the same as they are now in terms of his involvement with her. Obviously he won't be able to pick her up and drive her anywhere if he is failing drug tests so either he comes here, I drive her to him or his "supervisor" comes with him to pick her up. My issue is that if one of his family members were deemed capable of supervising I know for sure they would not stick to the "rules" and I am sure they would let him drive her or take her wherever. They are clueless about the extent of his drug use. It's not recreational, it's like complete dependence.

 

I don't know. I know of visitation plans that have started that way.

 

Personally, I would not want that to be the only option, ie I would not want to find myself court-ordered into spending time alone with my ex. (Which I think would be the case if the paperwork says that visitation happens at your house with you supervising with no alternative.) 

 

Again, whatever you manage to get the paperwork to say, you ultimately have little or no control over how he (or his family, or anyone) chooses to behave.

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
I know you are right. That loss of control is why I haven't divorced him yet. I do not want my child in the care of someone with an addiction as I have seen firsthand that feeding an addiction comes before everything else. greensad.gif
post #10 of 23

My neighbor has an ex who has a problem with substance abuse and he is allowed supervised visitation.  She informed the court early in the divorce process about his abuse issues and after several failed drug tests, he was given supervised visitation and he suggested his mom for the supervising party.  Neighbor had her reservations but let it happen since the children are 8 and 11 now(this was a year ago though).  Due to negativity between all parties, the drop off and pick up is at the local state police barracks in our town and the visitation is one day per weekend 9-5.  No overnights.  And he had to pass 2 drug tests 6 weeks apart in order to just get that.  While he was actively using and failing tests in court, he was not receiving visitation.  Keep in mind though that they are in court every month to 6 weeks and over the last 2 years, this has cost my neighbor over $10K in legal bills and court costs.  Her ex is a complete idiot though who has been in arrears on support for 2 years to the tune of multiple thousands of dollars and is so messed up on pills and coke that he is currently NOT choosing to exercise his visitation and is living in his vehicle.  So this obviously may differ from your situation.  He has not had his children alone since she kicked him out.  His family was paying his court costs and lawyer bills and now they are finished with it.  The judge has lost patience with all the continuations and drug tests and drama and is about to revoke visitation again.  Obviously this is an extreme case.

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Wow, that sounds crazy. I know my DH would fail every drug test but I don't know if they treat marijuana the same as pills and coke. My DH has no intention of quitting even if it means it will interfere with seeing his daughter, he has said so himself. It's his lifestyle and he says being himself is more important that anything else. *smh* I would be comfortable with a 9-5 situation but leaving her overnight would be a nightmare.
post #12 of 23

I'd never agree to acting as the visitation supervisor, but I would probably want to be able to observe the interactions he has in a supervised visitation setting.  

 

MJ is not a totally harmless substance.  It can induce psychosis, in which case he could become very dangerous...especially with the unpredictable emotions of separation.  He just might be so severely narcissistic that he can't begin to imagine you would actually leave someone so 'special' as him.  In reality, when it sinks in, he could do a turnaround and flip out.  I wouldn't want to be alone with him if that happens.  Better safe than sorry.  You can always start strict and dial back later.  But you can't start lax, and expect to be seen as credible when you've already allowed something.

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
The idea of going to court and having a stranger (judge) decide what happens to my child and our lives gives me so much anxiety. I often feel like the custody arrangements and all the court drama seem more draining than being in a crappy marriage. Where can I go to find stories from the other side? I think I may need to start therapy to work through figuring all of this out. I have never been more scared or confused about making a decision.
post #14 of 23

Read all you can on the topic of divorce.  Do you have a local mental health and addictions counselling centre, or al-anon (or equivalent for drug abuse) who could support you through the process of dealing with someone with addiction?  Does he smoke in the home?  

 

Try very hard to get some other supports lined up who would be prepared to swear affadavits to say they have seen him impaired by MJ, and other evidence (so you have enough credible evidence to justify an order for drug testing).  Try to get indiscreet photo and video evidence of him getting high.  Anything and everything now - while still in the same home and before he goes underground to try to hide his habit.  document everything in a secure, private place he cannot access.  Try to avoid using a shared computer, and if you have to, be sure to erase all browsing and search history and log out of MDC immediately afterwards.  protect your privacy online and beware of keylogger programs!  I don't know if he has paranoid tendencies, but it's possible he could have an abusive personality and be monitoring your activity.


Edited by Alpenglow - 9/19/13 at 5:46pm
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your response. He works IT so no matter what I do if he really wants to find out my business he can. Luckily he seems to be a bit lazy on that end. I have dozens of photos of his stash, text and audio where he admits to using and a photo where he is holding a vapor bag of smoke. I have thought about doing a nanny can in his smoke room (in the house) but I don't know how to set that up and I don't even know if that would be admissible since its kind of like spying. He also abuses alcohol along with the pot and I have a picture of him passed out after vomiting in the toilet. I have been careful to save everything into disks and store them outside the home. I really need to find out whee I can get some positive stories from moms on the other side. Tonight I begged him to stay home and talk things out, not necessarily to commit to staying together but just to gain some peace and understanding but he runs and I mean RUNS from any interaction that involves expressing real feelings. So he left me putting the baby to bed to go hang out with his friends and smoke weed. I feel like a married a 15 year old. I desperately want out but I don't want to have to be apart from my baby just because he has mental and addiction problems. We argued before he left and he accused me of being bipolar (which I am not). I think he is an emotional abuser (calls me a btch when arguing, curses at me) and possibly a narcissist but not sure about that. I do know he experienced trauma as a child (his father held a gun to his mothers head while they argued and his father beat his mother which he tried to get in the middle of). He admits he learned to disassociate from his feelings. Consequently he rarely displays sympathy towards me or tries to see my side of a situation. He just name calls and pushes me away, then goes and gets high and sometimes drinks along with it. I dread having to parent our daughter alongside him. When he goes to battle he is ruthless. Luckily his track record is not the most credible. (When I was three months pregnant he took the dogs medication and punched a hole in the wall before he passed out, when he woke up he verbally abused me for over an hour which I have on tape. He said the most vile things any person has ever said to me. I need the strength to to get out of this but I am so afraid of losing control of my daughters life. Right now I am in charge of her 100%.
post #16 of 23
I had a phased in visitation schedule put in my divorce decree with four hour visits in my home once a week until a specified amount of time had passed. I requested this during to abandonment issues but you could also request it until a specified number of negative drug tests have been passed in a specific amount of time consecutively and at his expense. I would specify the drug testing center also and make sure it is one where they will watch him pee into the cup.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
That is a good idea OneGirl. My attorney had suggested a hair test over pee. He knows a lot about herbal medicine and he can definitely use other herbs to mask the thc levels in his pee. He knows how to do it. How long did you do the four hour visits before it changed? And how did it evolve over time? How did you feel once you had to let your child leave you for the day or overnight? I'm so scared of that, she has only ever slept with me and she nurses a lot at night. She will freak if I'm not there. I really don't want overnights until she can talk. He would be living with roommates, most likely young 20 somethings...would a judge actually have my one year old sleeping over what amounts to a frat house? I am so sorry I am rambling on and on but I really need to talk this out with some mamas who have been there and can reassure me that it will all be ok. I have no one to turn to, my family is fed up with the ups and downs, they want me to leave him otherwise they don't want to hear about it. They think I'm worrying over nothing and that he is going to lose interest and just come visit her every once In awhile but that he won't be much of a nuisance and that I will be so much happier. They are probably right. But I need courage to take that step. My ideal would be to get professional help and keep our family intact but he refuses counseling. His mere presence makes me tense and I hate that my baby must feel that tension too. She is such a happy baby and I really want her to stay that way. Do you think divorce is easier on children when they are babies? That's what everyone keeps telling me.
post #18 of 23
I think divorce with a young child is a lot easier because you can make it a normal fact of life and they don't remember it any other way.

My ex had six consecutive weeks of four hour supervised, then six of four hours unsupervised, then eight hours every other week of unsupervised. Each set of visits is a phase and any missed visits bring him back to the previous phase. I divorced before my DD turned three so the last phase goes by the visitation guidelines for children under four and he doesn't get overnight visits.

My ex struggles with ptsd from the war and it took him a few times of starting visits then ending them before he felt ready to follow through. It has only been this last year that he has become a steady presence in her life. He prefers to do four hour visits once a week and that works better for my DD too so that is what we do. The decree is there to protect her emotionally and I am glad we had it because it did a lot of good legally and will again if he drops out of her life again but I am being flexible and really trying to support a relationship for my DD with him because he has made great changes. You may find that a time for flexibility happens but the decree is good just in case it doesn't.

I don't know how I would handle overnights, he rarely will take her for five hours so this isn't something I have had to face. My mom has been a major influence in dd's life and DD sees her almost daily before and after school but I wasn't ready for her to sleepover there until last month so it would be hard. She has done y nights every year and summer camp this year but that is easier because they are neutral people and there is no expectation of repeat nights.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm sorry, dealing with an ex with PTSD must have been/must be awful and so sad. Your visitation schedule sounds very reasonable. I am definitely going to keep it in mind although I don't know how much control I will have over the outcome. It's great that you and your ex were able to find a schedule that works well for you and your daughter.
post #20 of 23
Annecca I am so sorry for what you have been through. He is abusive, entitled and I'm sorry your family has been less than understanding of the complexities of leaving an abuser. I am so glad to hear you are documenting everything. The abuse (drugs, emotional abuse) will probably worsen since it would appear he has no insight...and there could be very real danger in leaving him. The online mosaic risk tool is useful to asses risk. If you haven't done so already please seek support from a Domestic Violence shelter. Have you read any Lundy Bancroft books (why does he do that)? He sounds vile and dangerous. The behaviours you have described and history all point to the possibility of an escalation to physical violence.

Every state/province seems to have its own local custody culture, but hopefully there are some mamas nearby who can share some btdt experience. A DV shelter counsellor (hopefully free service) may have an idea...or possibly even have lawyers who volunteer to give consultations (but not representation). I cannot emphasize enough the importance of finding a good lawyer who understands male entitlement, abuse and power imbalance and who will work for you and really listen to your concerns.
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