Conversation w/GAL

lovehadleyJune 15, 2009

DH had a FABULOUS conversation with the GAL today! WOOHOO.

First of all, not sure if I mentioned this, but last week, we got a letter from him, copied to both attornies, saying that he feels "alcohol evaluations done with only the input of the patient are not useful in court." He then went on to say he is recommending that BM sign an agreement stating she will not drink while SS is in her custody. This agreement will be entered into the parenting plan.

Now--the problem according to our attorney--is that BM's attorney will advise her not to sign. Basically, signing something like that is pretty serious for BM--it totally holds her accountable and any time DH could prove she was drinking with SS would have her in contempt of court.

The GAL told DH today that it is apparent BM has a problem, and that he is going to tell the judge exactly so. If BM refuses to sign, then the GAL is going to recommend supervised visits for her with SS! He said the judge will totally go along with this.

Basically, in a couple weeks at our next court date, he said BM is going to be backed into a corner.

It is so good to hear that the courts are finally recongizing her problem, and are at least being somewhat proactive!

He also said as far as the abuse allegations go, we should hope she keeps making them because they will ultimately make her look that much worse.

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Well -- hard to beleive a court appointed person speaks the obvious -- that an alchohol eval done with only the input of the evaluee are useless.

Good luck. My fear ( and feel free to label me pessimist, or realist at your option) is that they will come up with some meely mouth compromise, like no excessive drinking.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 4:45PM
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Yay! That sounds great lovehadley!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 4:56PM
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Oh, I know KK, it worries me, too.

But just hearing the GAL explicitly say BM has a problem is music to my ears. It means he believes my DH, believes me, and is at least recognizing something we have been saying all along.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 5:08PM
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Just keep breathing...

I don't want to be a pessimist either, but if I were BioMom's sleazy lawyer, I'd find a way to postpone.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 5:37PM
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how would they determine excessive drinking? i think they would have to say "no drinking". And i agree about CPS, if she keeps filing false reports it will backfire. good luck!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 8:13AM
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FD, I agree, defining excessive is useless. But I fear they will say that nonetheless.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 8:35AM
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No half-way decent lawyer would allow their client to sign an agreement that stated no drinking while the child is in their custody. No excessive drinking either. But you should be able to arrive at a good compromise that requires tempered drinking during visitation periods that will keep BM in check and accountable.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 12:25PM
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"But you should be able to arrive at a good compromise that requires tempered drinking during visitation periods that will keep BM in check and accountable"

But that's where the GAL will come into play. If BM refuses to sign, which we EXPECT, because even our attorney said "no way would I, as an attorney, advise a client to sign that," there will be a hearing that day.

The GAL will tell the judge that BM needs supervised visitation and he maintains the judge WILL go along with this. It was the JUDGE who forced BM to do the eval. in the first place and she is not going to be pleased that BM "cheated."

Marie, do you not understand the issues we are facing here? Tempered drinking is a good compromise, are you kidding me?

This woman is an ALCOHOLIC who tried to drive DRUNK with her child, assaulted me, and was hauled off in front of her kid in a police car. EVERYONE recognizes she has a problem and if the GAL threatens her with supervised visits if she won't sign the agreement, then that is most likely what she will get.

In this state, the GALs have a lot of authority in court. The judges rely heavily on the input of the GAL to determine what is best. If the GAL tells the judge, "if this woman won't agree to no drinking, she needs supervised visits," then that is (hopefully) what will happen.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 12:34PM
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lovehadley, I understand the issues all too well. However, the pitfalls are too great with an absolutely no drinking order, which is why I would never advise it, and doubt a court would order it when there are less drastic measures, particularly as you have no evidence of BM being an alcoholic except for the one incident. I am not condoning BM's behavior. I'm just giving you a non-emotional opinion of the situation from a legal perspective. I may not know all the details, but the one incident and false abuse report will not be enough to support an order for supervised visitation, no matter what the GAL says. If it is ordered, and I were in her shoes, I would appeal. If I were in your shoes, however, I would be screaming for supervised visitation too.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 1:15PM
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So Marie -

What might such a compromise order actually say?
And how could it possibly be enforced?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 2:18PM
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The problem is, even a NO DRINKING order is still hard to enforce.

A "temperate drinking" order is worthless altogether because who is to dtermine what "temperate" is? It might as well not say anything rather than temperate.

I am not too worried about it because the GAL was adamant to my DH yesterday that this is what he is recommending. The old GAL from the custody case is also writing a letter stating the same thing to the judge--that BM has a drinking problem. Two GALs saying that to the judge will hopefully get it through that this is serious.

Marie, we have other documentation, although nothing quite as compelling. She is still on probation for a DWI and we also have two emails from her admitting she needs to stop drinking.

I think just the threat of supervised visits will scare her enough. It might be worth it to her to fight signing the agreement and take it to trial, but just knowing there is a good chance she might end up with supervised visits will probably deter her. At the end of the day, she does not want to lose her son.

Marie, I get what you are saying, I guess I just got defensive because to US "temperate drinking" is NOT a "good compromise" AT ALL.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 2:24PM
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sweeby, when I say temperate, it doesn't mean that word would would be in the Order. That would also make no sense. They are all just words. What would make sense is to assess what the behaviors are specifically that you dont want, that endanger ss, and put that in the order: for example, no driving after drinking, no leaving son unattended, etc. As in all things, all court orders need to be specifically tailored to the individual facts of each case.

hadley, hopefully for ss's sake, hopefully bm gets it and seeks help.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 3:03PM
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