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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Anecca, it's the worst place to be in, knowing your in a bad situation but knowing if you left it could be worse for your child. I completely agree that having courts deciding what happens to *your* child is not a good feeling. In fact I think the courts are kind of doing the wrong thing in some situations. They are so supportive of uniting unsafe parents with their biological child at the expense of the child. I wish you the best of luck~
I required supervised visitation when I divorced my exH who was an alcoholic. I named his parents and his siblings as possible supervisors. No over nights unless he completed a recovery program and could provide himself sober. I have acted as the supervisor and I allowed my own sister to be the supervisor once. But you do not want to end up the sole supervisor.
To answer your question, it is from my experience that YOU and your attorney provide the names of the possible supervisors. A document to that effect is drawn up by your attorney for the Judge. Likely, no Judge or anyone wants the supervision to take place at a facility of some sort if it can possibly be avoided.