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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My ex called today and said he wants to take ds on an overnight trip. When I said that I didn't think he was ready, he said that it was his parental right and that he would take it to court if he had to.

DS will be 3 in May, but he has never spent a night away from me, and he still nurses at naptime and through the night. Plus, his father hasn't really been responsible for him for more tham a few hours at a time. He works out of town for months at a time and when he is in town he lives up the street with his mother, so he just drops DS off back home whenever he has had enough. Plus, he has never stuck to set times; he will come over when he feels like it and expects free access to our son, no matter what I have planned.

He is a partier and recently he has been struggling with a crack/coke addiction. From Nov. to the beginning of Feb. he didn't work and was spending all his money on crack. He went into rehab for a short time and now he believes he is well. I didn't know how bad it was because he was just not coming around a lot when he was using.

When he does work he pays me a decent amount of child support, but it is like he uses it to get me to do things for him. So, far I have lived with my parents and relied on the child support and student loans to support myself.

I am really sick of this situation as it is. I think I would rather have this situation worked out legally, so he doesn't use child support against me and I know he can't just come and take DS whenever.

One thing I am afraid of is that he will somehow get partial custody. I don't want him to until I know he is fully stable and sober.

What should I do? Given his problems do I stand a good chance of winning? Any advice from moms who have taken the legal route would be greatly appreciated.
 

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At your son's age they would allow overnights.As far as the drug addiction/rehab goes get whatever proof you have.State where he went,how long,if you have any proof he still does it etc.Include in your declaration any specific instances involving his drug use and inability to care properly for you son.If he is truly reformed and holds a steady job they would more then likely give him overnights once a week to every other week.If you have enough proof to show that his drug habit interfered with his ability to parent and if he has only been newly clean you may be able to build a strong enough case to show he needs only supervised visitation until he is better.Try requesting substance abuse help first and counseling to the mediators/judge and then you would be more open to visitation.That will show you are willing and flexible which goes over better with the judges.I know it is really hard especially with an attached toddler but the courts want both parents to have equal access to the kids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I really am open to him seeing ds when he is sober, just not overnight yet. I think he should have to work his way up to overnight visits.

He did drive us to ds parent/child class and fell asleep at a stop light while he was driving and also during the class. I didn't relize he was out of it or I would not have let him drive; I drove us home. He has brought him home with poopy diapers. He refused to change his diaper on christmas day because it was too stinky.
 

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Document with dates and be specific.You can submit this stuff to the courts.With mediation you can ask to start off with short visits and working up to longer,this doesn't mean you will get it but you can try.I would for sure use the recent rehab and any stories of neglect.
 

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I just want to say that I am sorry that you have to go through this!! It is really difficult to deal with a father who is irresponsible and using drugs. I wouldn't think he would have any rights if he is using drugs.
Even if he is clean for now, he could always relapse.
If the courts know about his previous drug use I highly doubt that they would grant him any custody rights at all.
Anyhow, good luck to you.
 

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What is his timeline on wanting to take DS on this overnight trip? The legal system moves relatively slowly and deliberately - it's highly unlikely he'll get any satisfaction from the courts anytime soon. Threats of court are pretty common scare tactics. He would have to hire an attorney, file a motion, wait for your response, set a hearing date for a Temporary Orders...you get the idea.

You have no formal custody or child support arrangement currently, is that right? If so, he has no specific right to have DS for any period of time. For the short term, I would think that, given his rather scary and irresponsible history (falling asleep at a stoplight
), you *could* refuse to allow the overnight trip based on very real concerns for DS's safety.

Like Avani said, document everything. The dates, times and durations of visits. The poopy diapers, drug use, refusal to provide basic care (diaper changes), falling asleep at the wheel. It's all important. I am glad to have kept the records I have, because I have *forgotten* some pretty freaky behaviors my ex has exhibited.
 

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Before i would allow any over night visits I would ask for supervised day visits first (a few hours a time). Given his history I don't think any judge intheir right mind would just hand over visitaion to a recovering cocaine addict, with unstable work history who heavily depnds on his mom to help him with the child. I would stick to my guns ont his one. NO WAY.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
What is his timeline on wanting to take DS on this overnight trip? The legal system moves relatively slowly and deliberately - it's highly unlikely he'll get any satisfaction from the courts anytime soon. Threats of court are pretty common scare tactics. He would have to hire an attorney, file a motion, wait for your response, set a hearing date for a Temporary Orders...you get the idea.
I think you are right about this being a scare tactic. This time it is not going to work. He doesn't come back in town until the second week of April. I am going to get an appointment with legal aid and be prepared to call his bluff.

I have let him take ds when I had a gut feeling that I shouldn't, because I couldn't give a logical reason why. It turns out my intuition was right. Last time he was here I didn't want ds to go over to his mothers. It turns out he and his mother were holed up using crack over there.

I don't think he is a bad person, but I don't think he is capable of being a resposible person until he has been clean for a period of time. I have been watching the HBO special on addiction and it is a real eye opener. He only did less than a couple of weeks in a special hospital and a couple weeks of inconsistant meetings. From what I have been watching addicts that have put much more time into recovery have a hard time staying sober.

I think that it would be irrisponsible for me to let my son be with him, without question, but he has it in his head that he should have unlimited access to our son whenever he chooses, with the option of cancelling if he "doesn't feel well."
 

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Remember sweety, it doesn't matter what 'he has in his head'. The fact is he is untrustworthy, and irresponsible, and an ADDICT. You obviously have proof of this. It matters not, at this point, if he's the father of your child. He is not in his right mind, and therefore it is up to YOU to be responsible and keep your child safe. If he has issue with that, you must take the appropriate legal actions to make sure that you do your duty to your child to keep him safe! Don't let him make you feel guilty for it.

I'm not saying he's a bad person either. I'm saying that right now, he's obviously not making the right decisions in his life, and that has major effects on your son, no matter how old he is. Don't give in. Seek help as soon as you can, present your proof (document everything! Write down date and times of the stuff you have told us) and take care of your son. In the long run, you know you can be helping him as well, because he'll have to get sober if he wants any time with his son. This is the right thing to do. You don't want to wait until something actually happens to get your ducks in a row, do you? You can do this, and we'll help you along as best we can. I know it's rough!
 

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I couldn't help but notice the similarities-- my ex (who had had past drug problems when we met but had been clean for a couple of years) relapsed on heroin and crack when I was 7 months pregnant leaving me to have to find a new place to live and give birth to our ds with out him. He got clean when ds was 2 months old and then had outings w/ ds for a few hours at a time. He suggested overnights and I had the excuse that I was breastfeeding and ds won't take a bottle w/ xpressed milk...then ex wanted me to sign a parental responsiblity agreement (this is in England-- gives parental rights and responsibilities) before I left to visit my mom in the States.. I refused and he threatened to have a court order to stop me leaving the country until the custody hearing went to court...all came to nothing as I pointed out to him his past history of drugs, the fact he hadn't supported me financially at all and that he has 3 other children with 3 other women and no contact with any of them due to his drug use... I don't see how a court would back him just as I don't see how one would back your ex either. As addicts IMO a lot of hot air gets blown about and there is little follow- through. As the others have suggested keep a log of all the behavoir. Good Luck!

Zoe mamma to Thomas 22 Jan 2006
: h2o birth
 
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