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What would you ask for in court?

Old 06-12-2014, 09:50 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lillamy View Post
While this makes absolutely perfect sense -- my best friend said the same thing to me during my divorce -- my personal experience was that the divorce became not just financially stressful, but also emotionally/mentally exhausting to the point where I was frankly fearing that if I couldn't get it settled and done with, I would end up in a mental hospital. And that was the one thing I could not let happen. I'm not mentally unstable; I suffered from situational depression while married to AXH and haven't since; but if he could prove that I was unstable enough to be hospitalized, that would outweigh my allegations that he was an alcoholic. I don't know if that's a fact, but that was my fear. That's how close to the breaking point I felt I was.

So I chose to agree to things that weren't ideal for my children. I'm not proud of it, but it was the choice I made then and the choice that I could handle at that point in time.
I would feel the same way you do IF she was ONLY dealing with a custody battle and divorce with an alcoholic.

However, she is dealing with a child that has been sexually abused by her alcoholic father.

A game changer. Fight for those precious daughters first, then worry about the divorce.

Sue
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:54 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Yeah -- I did't find out till three years after the divorce was final that sexual abuse might have been part of the picture for my kids as well. Which meant a whole different level of guilt over making the decision I made.

I just have to live with believing that all along, I made the best decision I could with the knowledge and strength I had at the time. That's all any one of us can aim for.
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:54 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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In my state, they can breathalyze you all day and night if they think you are a danger to the kids. So, whatever you say, make sure you tell them its the alcohol that you are worried about, so that way, even if you can't get no visitation, he will have to be sober to have the kids, if it is the same in your state. Or even if not, with supervised visitation, he will be breathalyzed walking in the door to see them.

And, I am not sure how this works in your state, but you can get an emergency ex parte order to talk to the judge directly about your concerns, and don't bring the lawyer with you. You will have to file this one on your own though, because you don't want the lawyer to find out. But then you can bring up how she is not helping you with what you want the court to know. There could be some sanctions involved for her if she is not zealously advocating for you, which it sounds like she is not doing.

Or, you can call the state bar and file a complaint. And ask if they have a replacement.

Sorry but I see this as two problems, the visitation issue, and the lawyer issue. And I think in order to solve the visitation issue, you are going to have to take care of the lawyer issue.
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:45 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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1) No overnights until there is a period (6 months for ex) of objectively proven sobriety (via breathalyzer/interlock etc...)

2) He needs to demonstrate he is sober (interlock/breathalyzer etc.) before visitation, immediately upon getting the kids and while he is with them. Failure to do so ='s no visitation

3) An interlock on his car
3 is unrelated to your custody case. That's a criminal matter, not a family court matter and probably a long shot.

2 is totally cool, but the question becomes how to monitor that. Do you want to be the sobriety police? I wanted Soberlink, the court here told me no. I had to shift gears and request supervised visitation until he could show the court he was sober and in treatment for his mental health problems, based on certain criteria. I laid out the criteria based on what was presented to me by his mental health care team when we were still married:
a) 100% sober and willing to test to prove it, b) in sustained counseling and compliant with whatever psychiatric mediation was required, c) attending 12 step meetings or accepted alternative at X rate, d) with a sponsor. The court decided on a three month time period, and he has already dropped out of counseling and restarted counseling once in that three months. It is monitored by the GAL that oversaw the case.

1 is a must. Also I would ask for no extended parenting time over breaks and holidays including summer.

All of this *should* be contingent on the findings from the sexual assault allegations and presented with all the evidence about his drinking, job loss, and physical abuse. If you're attorney is asking for less, you REALLY need to get creative about your attorney options. I have some ideas if you're open.

My attorney shut down some of my crazier ideas and I had to press him to explain to me why my ideas wouldn't fly, and some of it is that the court just isn't capable of dealing with the personal and interpersonal issues. Family court judges seem to know that where there is smoke there's fire -- your STBXAH sounds like a raging fire if you ask me. A wise, experienced judge will see that.

And remember the person with the most paper (not money, but EVIDENCE) wins. It's a big chess game. Anyone can say anything, and ask for anything. Anyone can refuse to negotiate anything. Can you show your allegations are true, or probably true? I think you can. This is not the kind of case that goes to mediation and the parties just work out their differences.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:24 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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IN my opinion:
DON'T SETTLE FOR LESS

This is your life & the safety of your children should come first, why should your children settle for less?

Lawyers are lawyers & mine is similar to yours.

Go for everything you want now, take it from me, we had a parenting agreement 71/2 years ago & I now find myself in court over custody all this time later. The advantage I have is that I have been consistent & offered stability for all that time & a judge will take that into consideration.

Don't give up, keep fighting for what you believe in.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:58 PM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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I had the same question as Florence: Who would be monitoring his sobriety, breathalyzers/interlock? I think it would be dangerous for you to be in that role. That's the problem with adding 'no drinking' to access orders - there's no realistic way to enforce it.
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:06 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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I don't think your requests are unreasonable and I would not back down to your attorney. Attorneys want to settle things but you are the one who knows what's best for your children.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:40 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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Lots of good advice here.

I would hesitate to let things drag out and to switch lawyers. Speaking from experience, this becomes very costly, wears out you and the lawyers, and keeps you more entangled with your ex.

Ideally, you keeping searching out good and free advice, get increasing clarity about what you want to see happen, develop and workable plan, and move forward from there.

My lawyer is like yours. The only good thing about that is I am forced to not rely on anyone for help. Tough, but I suppose I am learning to rely more and more on myself.

I am sorry this has been so difficult!!!
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:45 PM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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Your lawyer works for you and therefore has to act on your instructions and if she refuses get a different lawyer. Do not settle stick to your guns when it comes to your children's safety. You are right to demand that he undergoes all of these tests to prove his sobriety to ensure your children are safe in his care and so that you can relax when they are there.

I'm not sure about withdrawing until your at the point of a final hearing and I certainly wouldn't agree to an agreement he can breach that at any time. What you have is a court order I think which holds more power. It will also show the judge between now and your final hearing how committed he is and whether he has breached it. Keep the order you have

I am sorry you are going through this take care
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:13 PM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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I hate to say it, but a court order is just a piece of paper. If he is going to break it, he is going to break it. And he only needs to break it once to do serious damage.

So, like I said, call the state bar. Get an ex parte to talk to the judge. If the judge/bar association threatens the lawyer with sanctions, she may straighten up-some of those consequences are really extreme. And you never know, she may have been reported for this before.

I definitely don't think you should do this yourself, you will lose. And I don't think you should try to find another lawyer right away simply because the cost will be too high. But I would start shopping around, if anyone has free consultations going on, or ask the court clerks at the courthouse who a good lawyer is-they know EVERYTHING. Because this lady definitely is not working out. Then you can get a plan B started.

DO NOT give up this lawyer until you have another one, though! If he finds out, he will slam you with all kinds of motions and paperwork and everything else to try to force you to quit before you can find someone else.
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:19 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by allysen View Post
I had the same question as Florence: Who would be monitoring his sobriety, breathalyzers/interlock? I think it would be dangerous for you to be in that role. That's the problem with adding 'no drinking' to access orders - there's no realistic way to enforce it.
My moronic FORMER lawyer thinks having it be me who monitors him is a great idea. She's a nutjob.
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:29 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Asked my lawyer to withdraw on Fri after she took confidential info I shared with her that I had just uncovered about xAH's employment and she promptly called his lawyer and asked what he knew about-- basically gave up valuable info for court and gave him time to prep for a defense.

She was a danger to my kids and I bc of her idiocy and commitment to negotiating no matter what even when its clear a year into this that there is no negotiating with a drunk terrorist abuser like my xAH.

So I have a lawyer I was referred to whose retainer is insane and which I can't afford who is willing to walk be through this pro bono but I will be pro se in court bc she can't attend with me since she wont be representing me. OR I have a second option of a cheaper lawyer who I can pay who has said for what I can pay her, she will be in court next month and with the evidence I have and the history, this should not have been dragged out this long.

I feel relieved oddly. My lawyer has been a HUGE source of anxiety and stress for me bc I haven't trusted her at all and haven't trusted my judgement when I should have.

The sexual abuse investigation has been closed as unfounded at this time, however there was a clear and damning letter from child protective services saying that there remain questions and further expression of concerns will involve further investigation.

The state agency to protect kids has 60 days to either find proof or not...

Not sure what more proof they need (dd 8 having constant bowel accidents, nightmares, is angry and aggressive to her sister, taking sexualized photos of herself and her sister etc...) Its F'ing disturbing and my xAH thinks its all bogus...
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:05 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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I would file a complaint to the bar after all of this is over on your crazy attorney. How awful.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:58 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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Hopeful- already started that process but that is taking a back seat to getting the custody issue settled in early july in court...
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