Thinking of dropping court case...

lovehadleyApril 24, 2009

DH and I are so frustrated.

After court yesterday and talking extensively with the attorneys, it is clear---DH is NOT going to get full custody, even temporary, over this one incident.

The attorneys are advising him to NOT even ask for it because it "makes him look heartless." UGH.

The problem is--this is the only incident we have where it is proven that BM's drinking affects her son. She has a DWI but that doesn't directly affect him. Even her going out drinking, being hungover, etc---doesn't *affect him.* I beg to differ--but that's how the courts view it.

The best we can hope for AT THIS POINT is for the court to order her into some sort of alcohol awareness class. WOO HOO.

I guess what is frustrating us---why should WE have tp pay thousands of dollars to get her to take some sort of class?

Part of it is just to set the record and get everything documented---but we already have the police report from the incident, AND DFS is involved because somebody hotlined her. So is all this court stuff necessary, too?

I don't know, neither does DH.

DH emailed the attorney today just stating his thoughts very bluntly...we are waiting to see what she says.

I mean, if we were at least asking for and hoping to get primary custody, and maybe SS be with BM EOW or something while she completes a treatment program---THAT would be worth fighting for, in our opinion. But if the custody arrangement is going to stay status quo, and all we're asking is for BM to do some stupid classes (which won't do a d*mn bit of good), what is the point???? Why spend the money and waste our time? The whole point of this in the beginning was to protect SS and now---if he's still going to be with his mom just as much, if the courts won't change that at this point in time---THEN WHAT ARE WE DOING????

Ima, or anyone else who's been through the ringer in court---any thoughts?

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They told me I couldn't get full custody of my sons either. That it isn't done anymore. WRONG!! I did get full Custody and now that I have it, the chances of it ever being changed are very slim. I was told that he would have to prove me unfit to change it now. That isn't going to happen in this life time.

You have already started the process spent good money just to let it go. I wouldn't even if it doesn't produce the outcome your hoping for. To drop it now would tell BM that it was okay for her to do all the things she did. You have proof of this one time but you can discuss the other times even if you can't prove them. Keep your tells facts and dates times she dumped SS for looser men and drinking. Reference her DUI and the wanting to drive with SS that night. This is family court they will hear you. It isn't the same as criminal court. If SS is in counceling try to get a letter from them stating damage on SS by BM's actions. They won't put a lot of details but they should be willing to give you something. You have more then you think if you put it together.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 2:32PM
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OMG! This is the craziest story, beginning to end, I have heard in a long time! She drunk-dials YOUR husband constantly, then drives drunk to your house and pours her heart out to you, then ATTACKS you in front of her own son, sits a night in the drunk-tank and now you are being told that this cannot help you get primary custody??????

Bullsh*t! I'm starting to think you have crappy lawyers! You need to find someone who is just as repulsed by her behavior as you and DH are. What are you supposed to do? Wait until SS is maimed (or worse) in a car accident?

Don't give up! Listen to Nikemama! It's going to be hard, but your SS will thank his father one day for standing up for him when he couldn't stand up for himself.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 3:16PM
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Honestly, I do think you need more evidence than just your husbands word that she is drunk dialing him.

Like I said in the other thread, when she calls your husband to take SS cause she is drunk or hungover, your husband needs to go get him and document it.

The reason why no one takes it seriously now, is because your husband didn't take it seriously then. If she was such a threat, your husband would have picked him up. By leaving him there, he was saying that Mom was ok. And why should a court go against what both parents agreed to? KWIM?

I'm not trying to pick at you and I think both you and your husband are handling this the best you can, but you just need more evidence.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 4:53PM
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"I'm starting to think you have crappy lawyers!"

Actually, they are the cream of the crop. DH's primary attorney is one of the most sought after divorce and child custody attorneys in our county; she's been featured in national magazines---she is really excellent! So it's not that. DH's ORIGINAL attorney sucked--then when he switched to this law firm, that's when he (we) won the school district issue which was HUGE for us. These attorneys also got DH's child support cut in HALF. :) They really are EXCELLENT and DH and I feel great having them on our side. BUT it's just the damn law. BM is the MOTHER and this is the first *real* incident, aside from a DWI that had nothing to do with SS.

Nikemama, you are right. When DH and BM were battling last summer over the school district/residential custody issue, the drinking came up again and again. And the GAL's attitude was pretty much "well, if it's SUCH a problem, why have you waited 6 years to bring it up?" It does make sense. DH has been too forgiving and too kind to BM time and time again, and now he (and I!) are paying that price for that. When I met DH over 5 years ago, BM would show up at his house DRUNK in the middle of the night. She did this on at least 4 or 5 occasions that I can recall---and I would implore him to call the police. He NEVER would because he didn't want to cause a scene. For some reason, he was almost afraid of her.

LORD--I sometimes wonder why I stuck around. :(

Anyway, back to the court issue---the courts just don't take this stuff ALL that seriously. I hate to say it but a child almost has to get HURT before the courts give a d*mn. The courts are just so concerned with playing fair and keeping kids/parents united; and sometimes this is good, but sometimes they give people too many chances IMO.

We'll see.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 5:41PM
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"why should WE have tp pay thousands of dollars to get her to take some sort of class?"

Because he's your DH's son. The bottom line is that it's not his responsibility to fix his ex, but it IS his responsibility to protect his son and do everything he can to make his son's situation better, even if that means spending a ton of money to make sure BM gets help. Sucks. I agree but it's 'the right thing'.

I wish now... at 40 years old, that I could have had a voice enough to tell my dad to take me away from my mom or at least make her get help. I was 12-13 when I was going through living with an alcoholic. Instead, I 'protected' my mom, I became self destructive and did things to escape but I never really escaped... I created more problems for myself. and to this day, my mom can't see how SHE had anything to do with what I went through. (I think she just blames it on my dad leaving... I mean, if he had stayed it wouldn't have happened, right?)

We are going through the court thing again and even though it seems unlikely that BM could get custody, you never really know what will happen. Should we spend the money to stand our ground or lay down and let her have what she wants? There is only one question to ask... What is best for the child? Answer that and put yourself in the child's position and decide what you would want your parent to do for you if you were the child. In the end, you have to be able to live with your decision... did you do everything you could? You can justify that you can't afford the fight but you don't HAVE to have an attorney. You can go to court and tell the judge your concerns and if he dismisses it, then at least you did all you could.

I hated court. I used to walk out of court and spend DAYS thinking of things I should have said but didn't, or second guessing what I did say and how it sounds different coming out of my mouth than it did in my head or on paper. I beat myself up more than once. Today, I am more comfortable in court because I have spent a lot of time watching and listening to how it works and I hear attorney's talk in the hall or on the court steps. I've learned to look at it from different perspectives, which is nearly impossible when you are emotionally involved, which is why an attorney is a good thing. If you can stay focused on facts and relevant issues and not get caught up in the emotional stuff, then representing yourself would work better.

As far as bringing up issues... I might be accused of being court happy but if you don't do something about an issue at the time, then the more time that passes, the less the court is going to care. DH brought up BM's BF sleeping over with SD in the same room... likely having sex in the same room with SD. The problem is it happened months or years before. He didn't run to the court the day SD told me what she had seen... which would have been better than waiting until they were in a trial several months later. If there is an issue that is THAT serious.. abuse of any sort, you cannot wait five minutes. You need to be diligent in reporting it and doing everything you can to protect the child. If you don't, the court will figure it wasn't that important so they disregard it.

BM has stated accusations against me that I am abusing SD from time to time, (when child support is brought up) and has done NOTHING to protect SD from my alleged abuse. She is bringing it up again. Now, if she is put up on the stand, she will be asked why she didn't pursue custody last year when she said I was beating her daughter and she went as far as stating that "if SD is left in the care of her father and SM" it would be detrimental. Well, here we are a year later and she hasn't 'saved' her daughter from detriment. She did nothing and all of a sudden, she is served with another support issue and we are mistreating SD again. Unfortunately, it takes time and several hearings to establish a pattern.

If your husband drops the case at this point, then he is basically telling the court that it's not that big a deal. The next time you go to court, there won't be a history to look at, even if you have documentation... the court may wonder why you didn't pursue an order to protect SS. Is this about protecting SS or punishing BM... you don't have enough to punish BM but you have to continue fighting to protect SS. Do all you can and that's what I would do.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 7:22PM
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"If your husband drops the case at this point, then he is basically telling the court that it's not that big a deal. The next time you go to court, there won't be a history to look at, even if you have documentation... the court may wonder why you didn't pursue an order to protect SS. Is this about protecting SS or punishing BM"

But see this is where DH and I are confused. The DAY after the incident DH and I went in and I got an ex parte order and DH applied for a child order of protection.

We THOUGHT this hearing was for DH to get the child order of protection on behalf of his son but now the attorneys are telling us it makes DH "look bad" to ask for that. So there goes *protecting* SS. DH and I were both REALLY hoping that this would give him at LEAST temp. custody of SS while BM completes a treatment program. But the attorneys are saying that for DH to ask the courts to allow no contact between SS and BM would look bad.

So that is what is so frustrating to us--this whole thing started out to protect SS and now it seems like it's just becoming a p*ssing match between BM and her attorneys and us. Our attorneys are saying best we can hope for at this point is BM to be ordered to do alcohol awareness classes.

Anyway, I know what you mean about how it also looks bad if DH drops it now. I doubt that will happen. We have a telephone conference w/the attorneys on Monday to discuss stratetgy some more. Both DH and I want to know WHY asking for temporary full custody isn't an option. IMO--if DH goes into court and says "oh well, I don't really want the full order of protection" the judge is going to say "then WHY did you apply for it in the first place?"

But that's JMO.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 9:00PM
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I didnt read all the way through all of the responses... but my first response and after reading some of the responses still is... because at the end of the day you and DH need to know and ss needs to know that you did everything you possibly could to fix things. Even if it costs thousands of dollars ... the fact is you DH and ss ... all need the knowledge that we fought the good fight and we will continue to fight the good fight until all is well and good.

I have told DH this on a number of occasions... last year...well almost two years ago now... when BM shacked up with some guy who was mistreating the kids and then she tried to keep the kids from us... I told DH in his moments of dispare ... when he thought there is nothing we can do... I will never win in court.... that we will go to court no matter what is costs us (I dont care if I lose the house and we are shacked up with my parents) because it is the right thing to do and years from now we... heck I need to know that we did everything we possibly could to do what is right for those kids. Luckily it didnt go there ... but every second of every day... my attitude is the same.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 1:07AM
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If the ONLY way to get a court to direct her into rehab or counseling or a program is by you and your DH spending the money to push it now... then think of it this way:

Is she really going to go into a program and recover? Look at the BM in Doodle's situation... she has to WANT to get help and if she wanted to get help, she would not need a court to tell her to. She WON'T complete the program and when she does not do what the court says, it is another point for you and DH... that SS needs to be with the responsible parent. Your DH needs to step up and BE the responsible parent, it should not fall on you. I kinda have the same problem... my DH is a workaholic. Well maybe that's not completely accurate, but he works a lot too and it's easy to pass a lot of the responsibility on to me and I have to create some boundaries so he remains the primary caretaker. It's his child and I'm maternal so it comes easy to me to 'parent' but of course, that causes problems with BM and SD. (sorry, that's a different issue altogether) Anyways, consider the positive that would come from this. BM would be ordered to get help, she would have a court telling her to shape up or lose her son (and if she has other kids???) The courts are probably willing to give her a chance because they do not like to change custody.

My thoughts on temporary custody.. that it creates instability for the child to say "you will live here for a little while... if mom gets it together, you will go back to live with her and if she doesn't, you will stay here." It would be confusing for the child.

Also, was supervised visitation considered instead of saying she can't see the child at all? It might be too harsh to ask for full temporary custody with no visitation. The attorney is correct that the court may frown on anyone trying to keep the child from the other parent altogether. He would be better off to suggest he take primary custody with BM having weekends on the condition that she refrain from alcohol just before and during the visits ~or~ supervised visits, just until BM does something about the alcohol problem. Courts know that alcoholics are not going to do what they are supposed to, but they still give them the opportunity... so in the end, they can say they gave them the benefit of the doubt, they did all they could to help the parent keep the child, etc. before they take custody... because it's hard as hell to get the child back. And just as your DH should do all he can to protect and help his child, the court wants to do the same... so there are no regrets later.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 1:40AM
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Ima, everything you said made perfect sense! I actually had my DH read your response. :)


    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 9:34AM
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if you drop the case it is like saying there is nothing wrong. so if something bad does happen in the future, courts will ask why didn't you pursue somehting earlier?

at the court hearing DH has to push that it is not one time incident, that she calls him to take SS because she is drunk. and yes every time she calls drunk he has to get SS otherwise it is like saying not a big deal.

i suspect there is not enough evidence because DH didn't document all of her phone calls or emails. if he didn't, then he needs to start now. because if she continues drinking it is only gets worse and evidence will come handy.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 2:45PM
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Yet if you drop the case and God forbid your dear SS is hurt or worse in the car with his mother drunk behind the wheel, you & your DH would never forgive yourselves.

I would press on & do as much as you can. Even if she just gets some alcohol treatment that may the catalyst for her to take her drinking problem seriously. You and your DH are all your SS has to protect him from this possibilty right now.

*hugs* I know you're frustrated, but don't give up. You are doing it for all the right reasons and in my gut I feel most courts nowadays would be highly concerned for this boys safety.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 5:48PM
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UGH. hugs hugs and hugs.

We will be going through this soon. I'm hoping all the documented rehab stints, suicide attempts, drug charges, viloence charges on the BF AND the fact that her own mother says she's unfit is enough to get J full custody.

Keep pushing the issue. Don't give up for your SS's sake.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 1:28PM
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