Especially since he is not super invested in the kids right now and is an alcoholic (functional). How do I show this to the judge? He now buys his alcohol with cash. As far as showing that he isn't present in their lives (missed so many activities including parent teacher conferences for both kids). My parents suggest keeping a list or journal but then its just his word against mine. Does it even matter? Thanks for your advice.
A lot of that depends on the laws in your state.
I live in Michigan (not that I expect you to know the laws, lol)
In California even drug abuse isn't always considered.
kathlene OMG! These horror stories just get worse!
My stories are tame. But California sucks for divorce. My ex is the best liar around. I'd get pissed and then they think I'm the one with issues and something to hide. 24 hours notice for a drug test. Random my ass.
kathlene it sure sounds awful. Oh I just love the 24 hour notice for a “ random “ drug test! It seems this legal system is owned and operated by gaslighters with sub-standard IQ’s! It’s not you!!! It’s not any of us!!!!
Try to keep an electronic journal- email your observations to yourself- they are then dated. Keep track of everyday. Positive and negative. Daycare was able to provide both of us with documentation on how often each of us picked up and dropped off, volunteered, etc. I showed the history of emotional abuse to myself and the kids (in Michigan) during the Friend of the Court review.
thanks! yes, i will start documenting. Good idea about the daycare to provide support.
You might be able to document alcohol empties if they end up in the household trash.
Jenee my Ex had a huge recycling bin. The size of a very large outside yard waste trash can filled with empty vodka bottles. When I confronted him he said it was his buddy's and his buddy put them there so his wife would not find out. Don't let that detour you from documenting. Just thought I should mention it because they ALWAYS have an excuse.
How did you prove emotional abuse history to the judge?
Millican I didn't!!! And in CA it would not matter!!! The judges don't care!!! The mediator we saw didn't care either!!! She Actually turned things around on me. Asked me in a very accusatory voice, "why I thought the Ex was incapable of caring for the children." I told her, "our children are not water safe." "He leaves them in the pool at a hotel while he goes off the have a cigarette (or do drugs)." Mediator says, "but you have been monitoring visits?" "Right?" I tell her "yes!" "But I'm not there as a lifeguard or a babysitter I'm there to make sure he has appropriate behavior around our children." "And he does not!!!" She would have given him unmonitored visits but he backpedaled when I asked to have drug testing put in the parenting plan.
ingeborg OMG this is sickening! I’m so sorry that this system is failing all of us and our children! Can’t cry enough tears!!!!
Millican - I testified, my family testified to how he alienated me from my family, daycare testified and then we caught him in one of his lies by issuing a subpoena to a real estate auctioneer that he had previously stated he did not purchase with marital assets and unraveled the extensive deception in that one instance and it gave credibility to everything else I said and diminished his credibility. For the friend of the Court review I used an emotional abuse chart and highlighted examples in each category of emotional abuse in my written testimony. This was cathartic for me as well. It validated to me the gas lighting and why I stayed. I never lied or exaggerated, I stuck to the truth and paid the legal fees to prove what I know is the best outcome for the kids and me. He has the right to supervised visitation if he comes to visit them here in Florida, he came once in 2015. He calls the kids, but he just tries to get them to feel sorry for him and send him money to visit them. They refuse his calls most of the time.
Jenee Thankfully you are all far away from him! From what I’ve been reading, Florida seems to have favorable laws when it comes to the children. One MAJOR benefit to living there is Parenting Coordinators have no legal rights unlike NJ — where these people are court Appointees and can create havoc for innocent children! Makes me want to pack my bags immediately!
As far as I know the judge won't care whether or not he was a present dad prior the split. It only matters what happens afterwards
How do they determine who gets majority of custody in cases like this?
Earlean the courts here in CA want everyone to have equal time with the kids. He would get 50/50 if he wanted it. Courts here in CA don't care if the child has a bed of their own...air mattress will do!!! Don't care about a permanent roof...a hotel or even an RV in some cases) will do. Don't care if there is a drug or alcohol issue...as long as they do not have an active DUI on their record. Courts here don't care if daddy beat Mamma...only matters if he has ever hit/beat the kids. It is all very sad!!! Get your ducks in a row before you leave otherwise you are just considered the disgruntled wife. And are discredited based on that alone.
Michigan wants 50/50 too, as first choice, so unless you think he would harm the kids best not to go down the fight. 14 months, ended in 4 day trial and I was on the stand for 1 1/2 days testifying to the emotional abuse and neglect. Make sure you answer for yourself truthfully if you are angry at him or if he is truly a danger to your children. Past is relevant, but some guys wake up and own their responsibilities so current is more relevant. My own experience I fought for sole custody was granted sole custody.
In MIchigan it truly matters what county you are in and even what judge is assigned your case. It is scary how different it can be from one place to the next, however, I would still take my chances with this rather than default 50/50 custody that some MIchigan legislator is trying to push because he is disgruntled after not “winning” the way he perceived he should have. Unless you have two parents willing to be parents, 50/50 hardly ever is 50/50 in reality as there is almost always one parent who is doing most of heavy lifting and parenting. Maybe it is my bias after seeing so many cases come thru the courts but I can’t tell you how many times fathers would come in demanding that they have “equal” custody and then in the next sentence say they were not going to pay child support because they were having equal time. Not true and once they realized they still were going to pay some support and that they had little clue of how much work mom was doing taking care of the kids, the usually backed down but not after a hard fight about it. Ok I realize this is a generalization but it just happened way too many times. I guess to be fair, we also had women who came in and literally would say I’m the mother of course I am getting support while they were looking for dad to have virtually all the parenting time and then they would be shocked when they had to pay support.... In my book if the system really cared, there would be much more time spent on what is in the best interests of the children in a particular case not just a default that fits virtually no one in order to appease the “father’s rights” lobby. If you fight and are prepared to be strong, have a good attorney and spend a lot of money time and energy, you can get sole custody. I have sole physical custody of my kids and my ex has supervised parenting time, but continuing supervised parenting time took very protracted hearings and lots of attorney fees. And even with that, the judge and referee we have on our case will still allow him to continue his nonsense at least once a year. If you think you have solid reasons for sole custody, then it is worth the fight.
Thank you for the advice!
ingeborg yeap! That's CA. When I got a divorce and found out about CA family law I wished I lived in a different state
You could also have your attorney depose the owner of the liquor store where your husband buys his alcohol. They may not have receipts, but they’d have an eyewitness report which could collaborate the frequency of his visits, what he buys and the amount purchased
Thanks, I'll look into that. There are several close stores, but we tend to be creatures of habit so likely he is only going to one.
Earlean Just a thought... you might come up empty, but you might hit gold, too!
My lawyer, in WI, told me that unless you can prove gross neglect, abuse or imminent danger, they are entitled to 50/50 if they ask for it. He said, as the court sees it, you chose to have x number of kids with this person and can't just now claim they aren't a good parent without real justification.
That is what I kind of thought. I figured that now-a-days they would want 50/50 from the court perspective.
I was kind of surprised actually. He also said that it's only if they ask for it and really, most don't. He said that the dad's that truly want it make it known from day one. If they only start asking for it once child support becomes an issue or there is animosity between the 2 of you as things progress, it isn't necessarily an entitlement any longer...if that makes sense.
In MA too. Luckily for me my ex gave me custody, bet that is why he is so angry.
Here in CT, they are very pro mom, unless dad can prove her unfit. Most dad's get the basic visitation of Wednesdays and every other weekend, unless otherwise agreed on by both parties. I would definitely bring up your concerns. Any court that doesn't care about alcoholism or drug abuse is a crappy court! But, everyone can sling mud, being able to prove it is probably key. There is always a guardian ad litem you could ask for that will make home visits. Here in CT, both parties are responsible to pay for 1/2, but if my ex was an alcoholic, I would figure out a way to fight it, functioning or not. Who's to say he won't drink and drive the kids? Sorry about your situation.
Thanks. It's good to hear that other moms would feel the same way in my situation.
Abusive men will demand custody, just to exert power and control on their wives and children. Judges don't care, and have no knowledge or education on domestic violence.
Will he want more time than that? My husband made it clear early on he didn't want them to mess up his 24/7 availability for working, (like I was inn wanting hin to schedule tinge with me in advance). My kids are older which helps. He also has no intention of getting a 3 bedroom place for them to have separate rooms (boy, girl, and adult child), so it was a non - issue for me. I guess in a way I was really lucky.
I dont know, actually. When he has to "watch" the kids (llike when i work an extra shift etc). he typically just puts the TV on and sleeps in unitl 10 or 11. In the recent past he's asked for me to get a babysitter when I go out for our couple's therapy appointments (he doesnt come anymore but I still go to sort out the marriage vs divorce)/
Hopefully, he won't fight it. Go after what you believe is right.
Most states favor 50/50. The burden of proof is on you to prove he's an alcoholic. Get ready to fight and spend money. If you two can't agree it will cost money. Just remember what you can't agree on requires litigation which will cost both of you money. Mine didn't do shit because I was present all the time until we got divorced. Then he stepped up and is a great father now he doesn't have me to dump it on.
Earlean that was me. I literally got a babysitter even when the Ex was just in the garage. A before I knew about his drug use. I remember leaving him with the kids for 1.5 hrs. I was unable to get a sitter. I told him they will be ready for a nap in an hour. I had a quick turn around because I forgot something and he had put them down for a nap 15 minutes after I left. Couldn't even take care and interact with them for 1.5 hrs.
Take Photos of the alcohol if u can’t get receipts
A father who is not interested will not BE interested. I tell women the WORST thing they can do (unless he is a real danger to them), is let a man know how much you would do to keep your kids. They will use that against you every. single. time.
Yup. I tell My ex I would Do anything for them. Is that like His pass to be a scumbag? I wonder
Stop wondering. It is. I had a gf who had a dickhead husband who would threaten to take the kids in a divorce. She would invariably fall in line. When I asked her why she would tell me she was scared he'd take the kids. I told her that the next time he said that she should tell him that if the kids meant that much to him, she wouldn't fight him. He never said it again.
doris he threatens it all the time. He lives in a nice house, with his GF, her 3 kids and her dad. Her dad since it being his house maintains and watches her kids, a lot. He tells Me they have three adults with cars and adults who care. This summer he did keep them and not show up at exchange. My anxiety is thru the roof and rather then pick a fight o try to accommodate thinking someday he may realize I’m Not the enemy. I’m realizing it matters to me and not at all to him. Kids emotions, reactions, lack of coparenting all matters to me.
But here's the thing...the woman he is living with is a GIRLFRIEND, not a wife. And that house belongs to her FATHER, not her. Your ex cannot by ANY stretch, make promises about what a woman to whom he is not married, and her father will or will not do in regards to children that they are not related to. In truth, EVEN if they were married, they can't speak for her father.
This is literally the same situation I had my best advice is keep a journal of everything you never know when you will need it
How do the kids feel about how much they need to see their father?
Not sure dice they are so young. They always choose me to put them to bed etc. But I know they need their dad in their lives.
You've got to think though you are taking him to court and showing that he's an ill equipped father that's going to destroy him and maybe his relationship with his children. I wonder if there's an agreement you could come to out of court that ensures the safety of the children and let's them see their father often
You make a very good point. I don't want my husband to be destroyed.
Not for nothing, but the safety of the kids come first. How will you feel if this functional alcoholic gets in an accident with the kids in the car?
Agreed doris.That's why I'm not sure the best way to prove his problem.
I'm going to try a few of the suggestions mentioned above :)
Do not split custody with someone like that. And definitely document everything...every text/email/IM - especially ones where he refuses to get kids or just doesn't respond. Document everything he doesn't attend that he was informed of & should have. It helped me.
Thanks for sharing
My ex became an awesome and even more involved dad once we were apart from each other. I wished we would have tried collaborative attornies, because it drug things out too long and sucked our meager finances.
Document, document, document!
First I’d follow him to the liquor store every chance I had and video tape/ take photos of his entry and exit from the store. I’d also do the same while he’s drinking. I’d speak to an attorney about all of this before you agree to anything. Every state has different family law guidelines. Good luck. This is never an easy ride when the children are small and it’s not amicable. I am still being tortured as well as my son since he was 2. He’ll be 16 in January. So sad!