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Co-Parenting Plan No Longer Works, Legal Limbo, Need Advice

Old 08-27-2019, 09:35 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
XAH is *supposedly* going to rehab this week, and then to a long-term residential step-down place after.
I know this is exhausting for you, hang in there.

I hope he does go to rehab, recovery or not, it takes him out of this picture for a little while and especially to a long-term residence. This might just solve your problem. Can't really have her doing overnight visitation at a recovery facility?

Short of him actually being full on drunk every day stumbling around during visitation, the story couldn't be much worse.

This family of his is truly a mess (you already know this). The fact that to them you are the villain and they hate you is actually a compliment. If they liked you and the way you operate (as they are now), that would indicate a problem!

Ideally of course they would be doing what's best for your Daughter, but that's not the case.

I wish you well, I think you are entirely on the right track here.
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Old 08-27-2019, 10:54 AM
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I hope he goes to rehab. Yes, it would make things easier on me. But I still care for him and it is extremely difficult to see someone I have known and loved waste his whole life on the bottle. His last decade spent in his parents' basement, nursing his woes with vodka. My god.

I hope this is the time that sticks.

I can't hang my hat on hope, but I still hope he does it.

In the meantime, my job is to protect DD8 from *gestures broadly* all of this.
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Old 08-27-2019, 03:30 PM
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The sooner you are able to extract your kid from this crazy arrangement of being locked in a basement bedroom with an active alcoholic who's having seizures ... the more time your child will have to live a normal child's life. If your ex is away at rehab, use the time to interview lawyer after lawyer until you find a strategy for bringing unsupervised visits to an end. You do have a strong case.

After one of my ex's drunken antics (can't even remember which one now), I got a court order varying our divorce order such that he would have supervised visits with Kid with a third party agreeable to both of us who would keep Kid in direct line of sight the entire time, plus SoberLink testing before/during/after visits. I didn't try to end his access to Kid altogether because I wasn't sure that a judge would order that, even though ex was clearly unwell. Instead I tried to make it as awkward and uncomfortable as possible, so he wouldn't want to exercise his access. It worked, sort of - he raged and threw fits and dragged me to court over and over, but he gradually saw less and less of Kid. (And then he died, which is a whole other story). So strategically - there's a lot of room to maneuver between "child is locked in bedroom with wet-brain" and "Mom prevents child from seeing Dad".

(FWIW - the make-it-super-awkward strategy was also used by a friend in a nasty divorce in which the father was suspected of abusing the child. She couldn't completely cut the father off until he was formally charged [he has since been charged and his trial is scheduled], so she made the visiting arrangements as awful as possible for him [he had to sit in his ex-in-law's living room being glared at by ex-mom-in-law while attempting to play like a normal parent with the child]. It worked - the visits became less and less frequent and eventually stopped).
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Old 09-03-2019, 10:23 AM
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I spoke to two lawyers who said I don't have a case, thanks to my ex-FIL's many years of enabling, hiding, and machinations. I have no proof of anything untoward, and our courts would grant me no more limits than what I currently have, a limited visitation schedule with supervised visitations. They were both disapproving of the bedroom situation, but advised to let this play out. Short of plunking down $10k I don't have on "discovery" with unknown outcomes, my best bet is to keep DD8 in counseling, maintain a working relationship with my in-laws, and sit on my hands until he gets out of rehab and relapses again, which he statistically will. So, that's what I'm doing for now.

[Meanwhile, his parents have decided - again - that I am a terrible, no good person and have cut off communication with me for the crime of... encouraging him to get into treatment per their request.]

I'm taking all of your input into consideration and will likely be posting more here as I'm trying not to get sucked back into this addiction vortex.
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Old 09-03-2019, 10:39 AM
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What warm, fuzzy ex inlaws - geez.

One thing, once they start speaking to you again, which they will once they have gotten over this particular drama they cooked up. How about suggesting to them that your Daughter needs her own room? Shame them in to it if you must.

A girl her age needs her own room as I'm sure you understand, she needs her privacy and I hope you will accommodate this blah blah blah. I'm sure you can come up with something even better, you know them.
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Old 09-03-2019, 10:40 AM
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Yep, I'm going to continue to advocate in DD8's best interest, and that's one of the criteria.
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Old 09-03-2019, 10:49 AM
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I am sitting here with my jaw on the floor...locking a girl into a room with her alcoholic father is acceptable “supervised visitation”???

I am...appalled. I assume your daughter has a phone, yes? And can be encouraged to call you the second anything anything makes her uncomfortable?

This is so effed up...
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Old 09-03-2019, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Ariesagain View Post
I am sitting here with my jaw on the floor...locking a girl into a room with her alcoholic father is acceptable “supervised visitation”???

I am...appalled. I assume your daughter has a phone, yes? And can be encouraged to call you the second anything anything makes her uncomfortable?

This is so effed up...
I'm with Aries on this one. Jaw on floor. I would think supervised visits mean that the supervisor can see kid at all times but apparently not - ugh.

Florence, have you looked into the resources of One Mom's Battle. Tina Swithin has resources that support parents going through divorce and custody issues with narcissists. You might find it helpful.

Thanks so much for advocating for your kid. This is so so tough.
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Old 09-03-2019, 02:28 PM
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Are you required to let the grandparents supervise? I personally would call CPS and get them involved I believe. That's ridiculous.
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Old 09-03-2019, 02:59 PM
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How about suggesting to them that your Daughter needs her own room? Shame them in to it if you must.
Adding to trailmix's remark... Depending on what kind of rich people they are, you could try "I know that you work so hard to financially support daughter, and that it must be so difficult to hear the request that she get her own room. I know that must be placing a financial strain on you that you can barely afford." For certain people (not all), the implication that they can't afford something can really stick in their craw. You know your in-laws best.

Who knows, maybe with all the support they're throwing at Dad, maybe it IS a strain for them to provide a room for your daughter right now, which means that there are cracks in the facade.
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Old 09-04-2019, 08:11 AM
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Can you get her a kid friendly cell phone so she can at least call you if something scares her or she needs to get help? They make watches where they just hit a picture of mom and it calls. I am going to get one before my kid has overnights again in December if XAH meets the courts conditions. Mine is a bit too young but 8 is totally old enough.
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Old 09-04-2019, 04:29 PM
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Negotiating the peace treaty

your xa sounds like mine... the positive is that he engages and loves his child and this is critically important in the grand scheme of things and the psyche. He may be a drunk but he loves her (as much as a’s can) and as an acoa I can tell you the abusive, absent or unavailable dad is very damaging for a child.

that said sobriety... even forced is a must... a21 day dry out is proof enough. An alcohol breath tester like sober link is a must... parents should do back flips in agreement as thier son needs this accountability that proves compliance.

a separate bedroom is a no brainer and child protective services will agree If you involve them.

offer an olive branch and truce.... if he is sober and has her own bedroom Disney World with doting grandparents is something I would have killed for.

my grandparents were dead, my father an evil drunk and my mother a cringing co-dependent... it was hell on earth.

Soon she will grow old enough to make her own decisions and will renember your caring and unselfish decisions on her behalf. My kids did... and I made sure thier loving addict dad showered them with his love in a safe environment. As adults they loved him but lost all respect.... it was sad to watch unfold.

Let her her have her childhood with dad in a safe environment... it sounds like you hold the power... wield it kindly.

Last edited by Hopeworks; 09-04-2019 at 04:33 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:28 PM
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Your in-laws are fricking nutbars, but you knew that.

I really feel for you, having to wait until this crazy drunk-in-the-basement visitation scenario finally goes so far off the rails that you've got the legal evidence you need to get your daughter out of it. I know in my legal battles with ex, the most frustrating thing was that pre-emptive measures to prevent something really bad to happen were not on the table - I had to wait until the really bad thing did happen (in my case - ex showed up at Kid's school drunk and put her in his car, staff had to physically stop him from driving off, the police had to remove him and ban him from the premises, all in front of Kid) before I could get protections in place.

For what it's worth - the child development literature that I'm aware of says that all a child needs for resilience is one consistent, loving and reliable attachment relationship to an adult. That's you. By being the best parent you can be, you are doing what you need to do to help your daughter develop the resilience she will need to outlive her father.

You are doing the best you can. You are a good parent.
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Old 09-04-2019, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Sasha1972 View Post
Your in-laws are fricking nutbars, but you knew that.

I really feel for you, having to wait until this crazy drunk-in-the-basement visitation scenario finally goes so far off the rails that you've got the legal evidence you need to get your daughter out of it. I know in my legal battles with ex, the most frustrating thing was that pre-emptive measures to prevent something really bad to happen were not on the table - I had to wait until the really bad thing did happen (in my case - ex showed up at Kid's school drunk and put her in his car, staff had to physically stop him from driving off, the police had to remove him and ban him from the premises, all in front of Kid) before I could get protections in place.

For what it's worth - the child development literature that I'm aware of says that all a child needs for resilience is one consistent, loving and reliable attachment relationship to an adult. That's you. By being the best parent you can be, you are doing what you need to do to help your daughter develop the resilience she will need to outlive her father.

You are doing the best you can. You are a good parent.
I sure would love a link to some of this research. All I’ve been able to find is how effed children of alcoholics are. I haven’t found anything about whether it limits the damage to have a reasonable adult going to bat for them. This keeps me up at night
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:27 PM
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I can't remember what state you're in but in California it's very difficult to get parental rights revoked. It basically needs to be that damage has already occurred and it needs to be blatantly obvious. The state could care less whether your child is in clear and present danger emotionally.

My suggestion is to petition to change who supervises the visits, your XAH will likely have to foot the bill. But with a recent rehab (potentially) under his belt, you should have grounds to state that her grandparents clearly don't have a handle on things as well as they would have it seem.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:19 AM
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DD8 is on week two of really processing all of this stuff. She is trying to rally, but she is tired, cranky, has less capacity for frustration than before, and frankly misses her dad. I think the open-ended explanation of his treatment plan before he really knew what he was doing or where he was going really ramped up her anxiety. I have been extra-loving and am trying to give her space and time to express herself about all of this, but she seems to have learned two of the cardinal rules of living with alcoholism: don't talk about it, don't have feelings about it. She has said outright that she can't talk about it with her grandparents or dad, that they get "upset" about it. My experience with them is that they collectively gaslight and deny that anything exists there at all. This is, to them, the second rehab (of five) he's been to as a sober man!

The loving grandparents have not bothered to contact her (or me) in over two weeks, since before XAH left for rehab again. She has noticed their absence.

We are hanging in there. This series of events has brought up a lot of complicated feelings for me that have been dormant, predominantly how resentful I am at being stuck in Indiana, earning very little, scraping the bottom of the barrel, to facilitate her visitations with these mfers. I'm also angry at how the effects of XAH's alcoholism, even after all this time, spill over to our side of the street. She's seeing a therapist, I'm seeing a therapist, time marches on.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:21 PM
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A silver lining: The extended, uninterrupted time with DD8 without the every other week visitations at dad's means that we have been able to do some really fun stuff together, including a short road trip, and even met a new neighbor girl to play with.

I can't remember what state you're in but in California it's very difficult to get parental rights revoked. It basically needs to be that damage has already occurred and it needs to be blatantly obvious. The state could care less whether your child is in clear and present danger emotionally.

My suggestion is to petition to change who supervises the visits, your XAH will likely have to foot the bill. But with a recent rehab (potentially) under his belt, you should have grounds to state that her grandparents clearly don't have a handle on things as well as they would have it seem.
Yes, this is EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING. I don't think I'm at a point to petition for changes yet - the consensus among the experts I've talked to is that this is plainly a non-ideal situation, but that the institutional alternatives are worse.

I'm trying to have a long view of this. People are extremely adaptable, children are adaptable. I have gone to great lengths to be independent and have a stable and fun and loving home for my kids no matter what curve balls they are thrown, so I am hoping that the 95% of time at my house is enough to give DD8 enough stability to know what's up when presented with the mind f*cks anywhere else in the world. My goal right now is to gas her up, make sure she feels strong and knows I'm in her corner, and not push her to feel too hard, too much, too soon. It is tempting to get really dramatic and feel big feelings about all this, so I am modeling steady, pleasant interactions around the house despite the big feelings, but with the verbalization of my feelings, per the child therapist. I haven't had to flex my Al-Anon muscles in awhile.
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:32 PM
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Somebody above asked about the research on children with alcoholic parents - here's some of the gold-standard research and reviews of research. This is pretty academic; for something more accessible look for the work of Dr Michael Ungar and the Resilience Research Centre in Canada.

The takeaway: children of alcoholics are at greater than average risk of developing psychological problems and poor coping behaviors. However, they aren't doomed, and there are protective factors that contribute to good outcomes, especially but not only a stable and consistent attachment to another adult in a caring capacity.


Werner, E. E. (1986). Resilient offspring of alcoholics: a longitudinal study from birth to age 18. Journal of studies on alcohol, 47(1), 34-40.

Werner, E. E., & Johnson, J. L. (2004). The role of caring adults in the lives of children of alcoholics. Substance Use & Misuse, 39(5), 699-720.

Park, S., & Schepp, K. G. (2015). A systematic review of research on children of alcoholics: Their inherent resilience and vulnerability. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(5), 1222-1231.

Velleman, R., & Orford, J. (2013). Risk and resilience: Adults who were the children of problem drinkers. Routledge.

Wlodarczyk, O., Schwarze, M., Rumpf, H. J., Metzner, F., & Pawils, S. (2017). Protective mental health factors in children of parents with alcohol and drug use disorders: A systematic review. PloS one, 12(6), e0179140.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Sasha1972 View Post
Somebody above asked about the research on children with alcoholic parents - here's some of the gold-standard research and reviews of research. This is pretty academic; for something more accessible look for the work of Dr Michael Ungar and the Resilience Research Centre in Canada.

The takeaway: children of alcoholics are at greater than average risk of developing psychological problems and poor coping behaviors. However, they aren't doomed, and there are protective factors that contribute to good outcomes, especially but not only a stable and consistent attachment to another adult in a caring capacity.


Werner, E. E. (1986). Resilient offspring of alcoholics: a longitudinal study from birth to age 18. Journal of studies on alcohol, 47(1), 34-40.

Werner, E. E., & Johnson, J. L. (2004). The role of caring adults in the lives of children of alcoholics. Substance Use & Misuse, 39(5), 699-720.

Park, S., & Schepp, K. G. (2015). A systematic review of research on children of alcoholics: Their inherent resilience and vulnerability. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(5), 1222-1231.

Velleman, R., & Orford, J. (2013). Risk and resilience: Adults who were the children of problem drinkers. Routledge.

Wlodarczyk, O., Schwarze, M., Rumpf, H. J., Metzner, F., & Pawils, S. (2017). Protective mental health factors in children of parents with alcohol and drug use disorders: A systematic review. PloS one, 12(6), e0179140.
Thank you!!! That was me. I don’t need it to be accessible, I prefer the scholarly articles! Will dig in.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by DiggingForFire View Post


Thank you!!! That was me. I don’t need it to be accessible, I prefer the scholarly articles! Will dig in.
DfF, I envy your brain. This stuff is usually too dense for me.

Give us the watered-down-cliff-notes if you feel so inclined.
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