Proving alcoholism during a custody dispute in TN

Parental Alienation Syndrome, Malicious Mother Syndrome, dealing with the ex, and various other non-legal concerns throughout the process.

Proving alcoholism during a custody dispute in TN

Postby dadnTN » Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:00 am

First and foremost, I am in TN. I have a 3 1/2yo daughter with my wife, and an 8yo son from a prior relationship that i have straight 50 50 custody of. My wife filed for divorce about four months ago, our temporary hearing followed a few weeks later. We both sought PRP and asked for 80 days for the other. My wife had become an alcoholic by the end of our marriage and that is exactly what I testified in court. She of course made the same claims against me along with a few others that were completely false. It became a he said she said mess. The judge granted me three weekends a month and one day per week of my choice. He also told us to go work it out, that he had no interest in hearing us squabble in the future. I was assigned a child support obligation and a final hearing date was set for five months past the temp hearing. Since our temp hear, we have worked out a 50 50 split between ourselves, divided assets and debts and essentially done everything but sign an agreement. This is where the trouble begins... I began to notice and received reports of irresponsible behavior on her part. I have maintained a timeline of occurrences and attempted to keep track of them as best I can. Just to hit the high spots...

She has spoken to me while inebriated and in care of our daughter on two occasions, each time I spoke to a responsible party who claimed to be in control of the situation.

She began taking Klonopin, in addition to Xanax and Zoloft prescribed for anxiety

I received word from mutual friends that she had been drinking heavily and had become very promiscuous which was out of character for her, however this was on her time, not during parenting time.

She has asked me to keep our daughter on three separate occasions during her scheduled time. I found out after the fact that she was partying through witnesses

She has exhibited memory loss on several occasions, this is a side effect of mixing alcohol with klonopin. On one occasion she actually forgot I was coming to get our child.

She has a romantic relationship with her neighbor whom she reports "put his hands on her" at some point. She also reported him to the law for drug possesion. He was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession and paraphernalia. She continues to have the relationship with my daughter present, often including her in trips to the lake, zoo ect...

I received first hand information that she was abusing her prescription by over taking the medication, as well as drinking to the point of passing out on a nightly basis. She is supposedly having relations with multiple partners, unprotected while doing this partying. She was allowing strangers or people she had known for two weeks or less to enter her apartment and behave the same way. This was happening with my daughter in the apartment.

I have three separate witnesses that approached me with concerns for my daughters safety. They advised me that the situation is out of control and I need to do something before an incident occurs. They made the following claims.

a alcohol, marijuana and pill abuse

b That my daughter found a "pipe" and bag full of marijuana while in her home

c That my daughter isnt being feed properly, bathed, or given clean clothes

d That my daughter can and does leave the apartment of her own free will unattended by an adult

e That my wife and her new neighbor/boyfriend have explosive arguments involving yelling, cursing, and door slamming in the presence of my daughter

f That my daughter has begun wetting herself (she has been potty trained for two years, this does not happen ever)

g My daughter has walked in on her mother in the act of romantic relations



I have taken the folowing steps at my attys advice

contacted DCS with a full account of the allegations

had the police do a welfare check on the apartment

and filed for temporary custody, my hearing is still three weeks out


Im left with how to prove the things that are being claimed against my wife in court. All three witnesses have agreed to testify, each of which have questionable lifestyles of their own. Im saving text messages, emails, facebook photos, ect... all trying to build a case. I have looked online for methods of proving alcoholism and the best thing ive found is this FAEE and EtG alcohol hair test i had never heard of. Supposedly it can prove from a hair sample if a person is dependent on alcohol by showing the last 180 days worth of drunkenness. What would it take to have the court order this kind of test? I feel as though this would be the silver bullet with regard to proving she has a problem. I dont want to take our daughter from her mother... however she must get professional help with her dependency issues. This entire process has been exhausting physically and emotionally. I apologize if some of the pieces dont seem to fit together, there is 25 times more information I left out for the sake of time and boredom on the readers part. Any advice or questions would be much appreciated. I would like to eventually get to a point I feel my daughter is safe with her mother and successfully co parent with her. Thanks in advance for help and suggestions.
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Re: Proving alcoholism during a custody dispute in TN

Postby Fatheroffour » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:29 am

I think the judge telegraphed his intentions early on.

You have nothing but hearsay and innuendo concerning her alleged alcoholism and promiscuity. What you need is proof on how these issues negatively affect the kiddo. If you don't have that I'd say you are at high risk of ending up with what you have now.

Since our temp hear, we have worked out a 50 50 split between ourselves,


In theory or in practice?

Your ex's muddled thinking may open the door for you but I'd be surprised if she doesn't stick to the temporary orders after finding out your making a grab for the whole thing. That would put a bug dent in your plan for 50/50, much less what you seem to be building for.
Everyone lies.
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Re: Proving alcoholism during a custody dispute in TN

Postby dadnTN » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:47 am

The plan we should workout was already in practice until recently. I actually broke it off and went back to schedule the judge suggest after the stbx went wishy washy on it. she used the fact that I did not have it in writing signed off by the court to keep things turned on their ear. not abiding by the worked out schedule ect, making it impossible for me to plan around. that says to go back to that is a schedule because she could not break it without being in violation. it was more less the only thing I could count on. I'm almost certain that she is bipolar in addition to her other issues. she seems to make decisions based of emotion, those decisions change frequently depending on her mood. I would alternately like to workout a deal between us. I felt like it was my responsibility to act because I felt like daughter was being left out as bait. I cannot sit idly by and wait until something happens to her... is it really hear say is her roomate will come to court and testify to the things she has seen? I really feel lost with regard to what is the right thing to do here. I truly wish she would just get her act together, I honestly believe that won't happen without professional help. it seems as though you are recommending I put my head in the sand and take what I can get. that should just dismiss the things that are going on... wait until something happens... there's no way I can do that in good conscience.
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Re: Proving alcoholism during a custody dispute in TN

Postby dadnTN » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:00 am

I apologize for my response being broken, I am using voice to text through my mobile phone. please try to read between the lines of obvious errors.
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Re: Proving alcoholism during a custody dispute in TN

Postby Fatheroffour » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:12 am

it seems as though you are recommending I put my head in the sand and take what I can get. that should just dismiss the things that are going on... wait until something happens... there's no way I can do that in good conscience.


I'm suggesting you act strategically.

The coursta are most likely to order things to remain the way they are. The way they are now is you having 3 weekends a month.

By your own words, you had 50/50 but you broke it off because mom was wishy washy.

Now you're headed to court claiming mom is a drunken slut, even though by your actions you demonstrate you are satisfied with the care mom is giving kiddo.

You're all over the place and are not painting a cohesive, logical picture for the court to rule on. As it is, there are major weaknesses for her attorney to poke holes in.
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Re: Proving alcoholism during a custody dispute in TN

Postby dadnTN » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:45 am

I most certainly not happy with her actions. what strategy would you suggest that I employ?
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Re: Proving alcoholism during a custody dispute in TN

Postby Fatheroffour » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:57 am

If you are not satisfied with the care mom is giving the kid you need to logically be able to explain why you decided not to continue the 50/50 plan you were on and decided to go to just the weekends.

Make your answer about the kid and make it sound believable. Your answer can't be about how horrible mom is and how you just dumped kid off on her because it was easier for you. That doesn't exactly paint you as the most responsible person to care for the child either.


My suggestion as far as strategy is always get all the time you can with the kid now and hope you can hold onto it through your final hearing. That's a winning strategy. Passing on time now and asking for it as trial because mom is substandard has proven to be a losing strategy time after time.
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Re: Proving alcoholism during a custody dispute in TN

Postby dadnTN » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:10 am

point taken with regard to the amount of time the child spends in my care. do you have any suggestions on how I can strengthen my case and proof her negligent behavior?
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Re: Proving alcoholism during a custody dispute in TN

Postby hoosier_dad » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:55 am

You are going to have a very difficult time convincing the judge that you are genuinely concerned for your daughter's safety with Mom when you voluntarily reduced your parenting time. A parent that genuinely believes their child is in a dangerous situation is going to keep them out of that situation as much as possible. You did the opposite. I would try to find a way to paint that as Mom reneging on the 50/50 custody arrangement rather than you making the choice.

If she sticks with the same mutual mudslinging claiming you are an alcoholic then the easiest way to get her tested is to request a mutual test. It will demonstrate her amount of alcohol use while showing that she was making false accusations about you, undermining her testimony.

I don't think anyone is telling you that your concern isn't genuine. But the advice you are getting is goal focused. If your motion for a custody change doesn't have the evidence to back it up it will likely result in the same status quo, with Mom learning to better hide her poor behavior.

What is the status of the DCS investigation?
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Re: Proving alcoholism during a custody dispute in TN

Postby dadnTN » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:07 am

I suppose I should clarify, the mother did in fact renigged on the arrangement we had agreed to. we have gone back and forth several times between both schedules because she likes to use it as a tool to disrupt things. ultimately I told her we would stick with the judges schedule because she could not make any modifications to it. I what is shared custody desperately, at the same time I've got to be able to arrange childcare, work schedules excetera. 1 piece I was reluctant to put out here, because I'm not sure who all will be reading this forum, is that I have about 5 hours of audio between the 2 of us during pick up an exchange times. the audio by itself has her contradicting herself and admitting some of the things that she is done. I do have the best legal counsel I could find in my county, a small piece of me wonders if they are I was serious about this is I am. I understand I'm 1 of many to them, it is just a very frustrating position to be in. I would like to find out how to best organize my evidence, and present my witness accounts. what is going to be part in it and what won't? also I would like to tell the court that I'm not interested in total custody permanently, I honestly would like her mother to straighten up and provide a safe stable environment for her. I thought about suggesting a mutual alcohol slash drug test, I did not know what the likelihood of success for that route would be either. I consider telling the court I would pay for the hair sampling, it is around 1000 dollars. it would prove beyond a doubt that she is an alcoholic
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