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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>Yeah.  So, I married a pathological liar, and we have a son who is nearly 5.  I'm in the process of filing the petition for dissolution, temporary parenting time, etc., and I expect those documents to be filed in the next week.</p>
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<p>X has, through a temporary agreement that was the result of a mediation session, regular parenting time including one overnight e/o weekend.  He made plans this weekend to take our son out of state to another city north of us.  Foolishly believing that he was being honest, and based on my recent good faith offer to extend his weekend overnight time by a few hours the following day (ds loves his daddy, of course), I said it was ok with me.  Of course, he'd already talked it up to our son, anyway.</p>
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<p>I just received a response to my request for him to clarify their itinerary, and he has no intention of following our agreement and plans to be back at least a day late.  I have no recourse at this moment, but I'm wondering if anyone has some words of wisdom as far what kind of legal language I can use in my filings to prevent this kind of thing in the future, or to expand recourse that I might have.  I have made this mistake many times where my x is concerned; I forget that he's a pathological liar, and forget that it is actually worth my time and energy if I want to have any idea of what he is actually up to, to actually really closely scrutinize whatever he says and research it as thoroughly as possible.  I'd like to be done with all of that, of course, but it doesn't look to be ending any time soon.  Ds hasn't been away more than one night before, but as long as x remains sober, he'll probably have a good time.</p>
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<p>Based on his behavior this weekend, will that give me grounds for being more stringent with parenting time guidelines?  It's a clear violation of our agreement, my trust (no surprise there), and I believe shows an inability to honor agreements in a way that might be demonstrable to the court.  I have grave concerns about x's ability to remain sober beyond about 24 hours, and particularly if time with certain of his associates is concerned, not to mention his reliability.  I think I'm caught between a person who is really pretty reprehensible, ethically, and a court that doesn't really care about his character, of course, except when it's felonious.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<p>Oh I have a lawyer.  I spent some time hoping that we would be able to mediate...somehow.  And when I got clear that mediation really truly wouldn't work, at least not as a holistic approach, I got myself to legal aid and was assigned a lawyer.  I just met with her Friday to go over the petition for dissolution, the tpor, and the whatever the other one is (one order concerning parenting time status quo, one order concerning status quo finances/living arrangements).  The papers should be filed this coming week.</p>
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<p>Will his choice to take off with our son be seen as much of a negative?  I know how I feel about it, but I'm wondering how it will play out.</p>
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<p>The language as discussed with my lawyer Friday stipulates that he's not to leave the state with our son without written permission (standard boilerplate, I think), and I'm wondering if I might be able to change that, for example, to not leaving the county without written permission.  Or if, even though he's so far avoided a DUI, he might be starting to mess up in ways that will not aid his case.</p>
 

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<p>I would start by making sure you get full legal and physical custody. That usually means you will get to be the primary parent and primary decision maker on all matters.  (you want both types of custody).   You don't want to appear as though you are restricting his access to the child, but you want to word it so you have control over any non-typical vacations or travel with the child.</p>
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<p>I would discuss this with your lawyer at the next meeting.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
<p>Thank you.  I fully intend to pursue full legal and physical custody, and was hoping that wouldn't be challenged.  As it stands, x continues to deride my concerns about his drinking and its possible effects on the welfare of our child, so I wouldn't be surprised if we end up in a custody evaluation.  At which point, I may have less choice than I would prefer, but I am very clear about my concerns and their validity, and I won't back off them voluntarily.  </p>
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<p>X has invested considerable time and effort trying to convince anyone who would listen (myself included) that I am  suffering from PPD (his familiarity with that is obviously limited, since a nearly five year case of PPD is laughable at best), among other things, and the only thing I "suffered" from after the birth of our son was his deliberate dishonesty, fraud and drinking.  I have been very careful to remain flexible and accommodating as far as offering extra time during school vacations and things of that nature, and I have been documenting his time spent with our son.  Our communication takes place primarily via email, so I also have clear records of anything that's gone on these last few months.</p>
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<p>I was hoping to avoid a contentious divorce, but given that his nature is to be sneaky and underhanded under normal circumstances and downright spiteful when he feels cornered, that is probably pretty unrealistic.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
<p>I don't know what that kind of documentation would look like, really.  For a while, over a year ago, I was keeping track of when he was gone/when I knew he was drinking, but I really needed to get away from the dynamic in our relationship where I was basically his parent figure to be got around.  So I stopped keeping track.  Looking at his credit card history (what I've been able to see of it) clearly reveals regular trips to bars, purchases at liquor stores, and purchases from the local convenience store that I can clearly tell by the amount are beer.</p>
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<p>He has never, to my knowledge, been able to accurately self report his consumption.  I stopped drinking with him completely over two years ago.  It used to be the only time we would talk, so I would sit with him and have two or three bottles of beer and he would have eight or so over the course of a few hours.  When I stopped, he just found other people (unknown to me) to fill my place.  He has lied over the course of the past two years about needing to be at work when in fact his credit card shows he was out at a bar/bars.</p>
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<p>Do you have any suggestions as to how to approach documentation?  He's probably the walking definition of a functional alcoholic.  He doesn't need an eye opener, doesn't usually drink during the day, unless there's a special event going on, but he reserves his evenings for beer and more recently, liquor, too, apparently, and once he has one, he continues to pour them down his throat until he's drunk.</p>
 

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<p>Ok, since you are about to ask for sole custody (with supervised visitation I hope?), then you definitely need to prove why he is not able to parent safely. I would strongly suggest that you start keeping a journal of..well, everything. Include dates, times, and events in point form (i.e. Feb 20, 2012, 5:30 p.m. X picks up DS with bloodshot eyes. Gets in vehicle". Document all instances of inebriation ESPECIALLY those pertaining to visitation, all instances of cancelled or delayed visitation. Also document alcohol purchases in this journal. To back up your claims, start gathering receipts indicating dates and amounts of purchases. If you can, gather credit card statements from several months prior and highlight all alcohol related purchses.</p>
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<p>Also, are there other people who can attest to his problem with alcohol? I would look into getting sworn statements from such people (but check with your lawyer first to see whether this sort of documentation is admissible).</p>
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<p>What does your lawyer say about your chances for sole custody?</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
<p>I haven't raised the question of custody with my lawyer, I've just been assuming that as the primary caregiver, it would be a given, and x wouldn't really have a reason to challenge that, but now I'm not so sure...</p>
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<p>The thing with the drinking; as far as I know, he has not been drunk and definitely not hungover enough for me to be able to tell for sure during a time that he's been scheduled for parenting time.  I don't have concerns about x spending time with ds during the day, more or less, or at least not about drinking.  I'm sure he'll be a weenie and just trying to get him to take a car seat seriously has been a major hassle, but it's not like he can't be sober for two afternoons a week.  The thing that I am deeply concerned about is an overnight schedule.  He has pushed and pushed and pushed to go to e/o weekend, from Fri.-Sun. afternoons.  I don't for a minute believe that he'll remain sober for that many days, and given his desire to travel with ds and get out to do stuff (camping kind of stuff), likely with friends of his whose lives all revolve around alcohol, more or less, I am even more concerned.  One of his friends becomes very aggressive when drunk, another has a concealed carry permit--as far as I know always has a loaded weapon with him--and drinks like a fish.  From what I have seen of x's priorities and his social circle, I can't imagine a way that ds would be safe.  I'm guessing that my arguments against extended overnights are going to look pretty nebulous, and I don't know that there's much I can do aside from the standard evaluations and to hope that he'll give in before it gets to court or that I'll have a lot going in my favor and the court will be on my side.  X was raised in a family of alcoholics, as far as they're concerned, I'm just a malicious bitch.  His friends get together to drink, basically, so there isn't anyone there who would see x's habits as problematic.  I can't think of anyone who would be in a position to back me up, and it took the first three years of my marriage for me to finally realize that alcohol was actually a huge part of the problem, not just character or whatever.</p>
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<p>You need to discuss these concerns with your attorney. The fact that you already allow unsupervised visitation, means that you won't get supervised visits. You allowed him to leave the state with the kid - which means that he will most likely get overnights. He didn't come back on time, but as long he comes back within a reasonable amount of time after, the judge probably won't care too much (or they might - depends a little on the judge and how stringent they are, what their own background is, etc.).</p>
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<p>Good luck, sounds like a crappy situation all around. I hope your kiddo is back from his trip, and had a good time.</p>
 

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<p>Yes, don't assume anything with regards to custody. The status quo is almost always respected, because it doesn't jostle the kids. There would have to be a very serious situation for things to be changed. I would definitely write all your concerns down, point form, and speak to your lawyer ASAP. Perhaps you can ask that visitation be limited to a daytime schedule, seeing as he drinks mostly at night.</p>
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<p>When I allowed unsupervised visitation with my XH (I didn't have a choice at the time), it was between 12h00 and 16h00,...so, long enough after waking up that he wouldn't be hung over, and early enough in the day that he wouldn't have started drinking again. The schedule was at my lawyer's suggestion and it seemed to suit XH perfectly. As soon as I left, he cracked open his beers.</p>
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<p>Perhaps there's a way to insert in your custody agreement that both parents are to refrain from alcohol or drug consumption during the period where they care for the child. That's what in mine, and it poses absolutely no problem for me since I don't drink. Once that's in the official agreement and he breaches it, then you have something to go on.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
<p>Thanks.  He's had unsupervised and one night every two weeks since our first mediation session in November.  The mediator pretty well railroaded me that session, so I'm glad x decided mediation wouldn't work for him; it was going to be very very difficult for me.  Aside from some bugs and irritations, I have been ok with that, it's time for my son, and it's not about me.  The problem I have is his insistence on changing what has been the status quo because I believe that represents a real threat to ds's safety.</p>
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<p>My biggest challenge obviously is going to be getting my head around working "with" a completely amoral opportunist (as if I haven't already struggled with that for the past six years), and it's not sounding like there's much in the way of provision within the family law system to help me with that.  Really?  He can lie about his plans and take off with our child, and it's mostly no big deal?  His father died of complications related to alcoholism.  His mother is in recovery and has been for over a decade, although as far as I can tell, it's never been dealt with as far as addressing her behavior while x was a child.  X's friends are all committed drinkers.  All I want is to keep ds safe, and free of an environment where alcohol is king.  I also wouldn't mind if ds grew up knowing that lying, cheating, and fraud are not reasonable behaviors.</p>
 

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<p>You may be able to keep the status quo. However, from a neutral 3rd parties perspective, you allowing him to take the child out of state, and then talking about how you are so very concerned about DS's safety that you can't trust him - well it doesn't sound over genuine.</p>
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<p>You really need to discuss these concerns with your attorney. They will know the best way to spin it in court. They will also know how likely you are to get what you are asking for. Saying you trust him to stay sober for 24hours but not 48 doesn't make his alcoholism sound very severe.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
<p>I understand your points, SSM.  Although I would think that my allowing a trip in good faith that was to have fit with the present schedule of one overnight and having x totally disregard that and go rogue would reflect badly on him.  I'm naive in thinking the world is a more reasonable place than it is.  The one overnight has been acceptable only because I know x's habits well enough to know that he will spend the time occupied with ds, and will more than likely fall asleep with him.  The risk of more than one night lies mostly in x creating a social setting that facilitates his drinking, ds or no.  He's not a raging alcoholic, and I've never maintained that he is.  Like I said, he could be the poster child for functional alcoholics, and he's extremely resistant to authority, real or imagined.  So whatever restrictions there are will likely be seen as obstacles to be overcome through deception, not opportunities to cooperate.  His focus is on himself, largely, and what he can get away with.  So the way I see it, I can try to set reasonable boundaries, legally, so that there is some accountability at least, or I can just throw up my hands and wait for him to make a mistake that could be disastrous for our child.  So far, I haven't been able to find a way to live with the risk he represents.  Lord knows I tried to stay married, just so that I could be a buffer to protect ds.</p>
 

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<p>How long was he away for with DS? 2 nights?</p>
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<p>I think the obstacle you are going to run up against is that now that you no longer live with him, the court doesn't see you as "knowing his habits".</p>
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<p>The best you can do, is to try and maintain the status quo visitation until you get a final court order that says that is the permanent visitation schedule. Once that is the permanent order, then both of you are protected in a way, as you will know the schedule, and be able to take him to court if he violates it. The judge may get super angry with him for going against the agreement that he leave the state for 1 night, and being gone for 2 instead. But, its unlikely to really affect her end ruling.</p>
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<p>What is the "standard" visitation in your state? You need to prepare for that to be in the final order.</p>
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<p>Also, if your son does not know how to call you, you need to teach him to use the phone. Tell him that if he ever needs you, feels uncomfortable, daddy is sick, etc to call you and you will come get him.</p>
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<p>The hardest part of being a single mom is letting go of the things you cannot control. It sucks, and all of us have been there. I also totally understand having a completely narcissistic ex - I have one too. It sucks, but all I can do is what I can do.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>annalivia</strong> <a href="/community/t/1345682/suggestions#post_16885399"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><p> So the way I see it, I can try to set reasonable boundaries, legally, so that there is some accountability at least, or I can just throw up my hands and wait for him to make a mistake that could be disastrous for our child.  </p>
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<p><br>
Yes, you can try to set legal boundaries, but it your X is as nuts as mine, then you will be placed in the unfortunate position of having to police him with regards to visitation, in order to catch him making mistakes. Yes, it's dangerous and soooo stresful, but since overnights are already in place, it may be difficult to prevent him from getting more of them.<br>
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<p>Yes, I agree with the PPs. Most US courts do not just award custody to the mother or primary parent like they did in the 1950s. They will want good proof as to why you can't do a 50/50 or work towards one is most what areas do now.</p>
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<p>Alcohol and drugs is a good one but it will become a he said/she said argument which is why you will want to present proof that backs up your side. It can be receipts, pics, DUIs, etc. that show your side.</p>
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<p>You will want to discuss custody with your attorney because it will influence your plan and you initial filings with the court. In my state you list what you want and if they other person doesn't respond it's automatically granted. If they file a response then it goes into the court system unless you mediate where you'll want your evidence that you don't keep the children away, he needs supervised visits due to drinking, etc. My attorney told me most judges don't like alcoholic parents so they are easy cases to win with proof.</p>
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<p>If you fear kidnapping (I did in mine) check with your attorney. In my state once you file the initial documents it puts a restraining order so that you cannot leave the state. Many states have something similar. I think county will be not likely be granted. Usually at the county level they only grant jurisdiction. I would instead push for supervised visits and have a plan for why you feel you need them along with as much proof as you can find.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
<p>All the papers for the initial filing, including the statutory restraining order (concerns property and assets, primarily), and the temporary support/custody order are to be filed this week.  I should have known that a) trying to be transparent and encourage a spirit of cooperation was stupid (let ex know what was up with my lawyer, so that he wouldn't be surprised) and that b) I was just fine as long as I wasn't actively trying to do anything, but the minute I took action, x came out swinging.  Fortunately, in my state, the court won't award joint custody unless both parties agree, so it's not going to happen, and as the primary caregiver/sahm since birth, I'm pretty sure custody is a non-issue.  Pretty sure.</p>
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<p>Since his escapade this weekend, he has decided that we don't have an agreement about parenting time, in spite of the last four months, and that he'll just be dropping by whenever he feels like it.  Part of the filing to take place this week grants me exclusive use of the house, but it's not in place yet.  He's pushing and pushing and trying to get ugly.  I hate to think that I'd have to waste money on a hotel just to get away from him for a few days and to avoid conflict in front of our son, but it's looking possible.</p>
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<p>He is such an outrageous ass.</p>
 

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<p>I too had to learn to be a hard @ss about the legal proceedings, because it eventually dawned on my that XH would never "play fair". So I became sneaky because it was the only way to "win". I also practiced saying "no" a lot, in front of a mirror, because interaction with him required that.</p>
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<p>IMO, it's time to become sneaky and expect the worse from him. Don't come forward with any information, but continue to "play nice". Document everything. Keep all communication to email so that it can be used as proof later on. As for him dropping by whenever, document that, AND perhaps invite a friend over to stay with you so that there is a witness to difuse the situation should things turn ugly? And yes, maybe you'll have to stay in a motel or with friends, but once that temp order is in place, you'll have stronger footing to stand on.</p>
 

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<p>This is one of the awful issues I dealt with in my divorce. My ex is an alcoholic, but as an officer in the Navy, he would never admit to it, and I didn't have a lot of proof b/c I didn't even truly realize it until a little while after I filed for divorce. I mean, I had known he drank a lot and it affected his decisions and behavior, but I didn't realize that he really was an ALCOHOLIC. </p>
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<p>One of the things I used to my advantage, in spite of my atty and the mediator telling me "a judge is never going to make him blah blah blah" was that I had scared him enough with having my atty write his atty letters stating things like "Perhaps if your client would agree to refrain from drinking around Banana and the baby, then Banana would consider agreeing to XYZ regarding visitation during the temporary provisional order." He also did things like open my private bank statements (post-separation) and ransacked my room, tried to snatch DD and run out of town before he was served w/divorce papers, and many other things. So each time he did something bad and/or ILLEGAL, there was a paper trail to HIS atty, which caused his atty to drop him, though ex said he fired him b/c he ran out of money (complete utter BS). </p>
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<p>Anyway, in mediation he agreed to much less parenting time than a judge probably would have given him, since he doesn't want to be a parent (the words of the mediator) and gave me spousal maintenance even though if we went before our judge, this particular judge almost never awarded SP.</p>
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<p>So, be a hard ass via your atty, and keep your mouth shut around your ex. You're enemies right now, and you have more to lose than he does. Walk softy and carry a sharp knife. Saying no is a good thing to practice, and if you can't, just say "I can be reached through my atty if you wish to discuss that." Don't talk about anything divorce-related. Don't ask him about anything except kid-related info. Don't let him know where your head is at, and don't fish for info from him. Act like your mind is already made-up and it's just a matter of time before he gets what's coming. That'll rattle him, and when his atty asks "Is there anything else I should know before we mediate, he'll confess things you don't even know about him. Then they might think he's at a major disadvantage and try harder to keep things from going to trial. </p>
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