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Noncustodial father starting separation process, up against somewhat unstable, accusatory mother

Your Question:
I have asked a question before. But things have taken a detour for the worse.

History; wife left four months ago. I was getting my children pretty much every weekend. Was giving her child support checks (even though no divorce) so the kids could eat. Month after she left, had a guy staying with her at her home. I questioned this action by her, but went on, all though now I wasn't giving into her demands as far current financial help. For the past 3 months, it has been pretty hostile. She falsely got a TRO on me (judge dismissed). Then, she came over wanting to talk seperation of property (she was selling her home to buy a home with new guy), I told her to go through my attorney or email me. She came over anyway, I had to call police just so I wouldn't be accused of doing something to her, she broke a window 'cause I wouldn't let her in. Police did nothing because it was marital property, fine. Couple of days later, I'm called at work by neighbors saying my wife had a flat bed trailer loaded with stuff. They had also called the police. Again, nothing, marital property.

During all this time I had the kids every weekend, except the weekend after she took everything. Upon attorney's advice, forfeit the kids a couple of weekends so I can get my home in order. She then calls and says it's up to her whether I see the kids or not, states I am unfit. And there is nothing in writing from the courts or anything giving me vistitation, so basicaly I am screwed for now. She eventually meets with my attorney, and her proposal is I get them every other weekend and one night during the week, but this includes my two stepchildren also. So, I go ballistic on my lawyer stating he had no right do agree to that, even though he's trying to benefit the stepchildren, so they don't feel left out. It is my responsibility to father my own children, but my choice to father the step, he should not have had it as part of the parental plan.

Now, this past weekend, I saw my youngest son breifly, like 5 seconds, and it tore me apart. That following night, I get a call from her neighbor that she is concerned about the children, and why I hadn't seen them in a couple of weeks, so I explained the situation. She told me that she was concerned about their welfare and is seeing that my wife is not all emotionally there. I asked her if she is very concerned, could she write a letter stating this and what she has witnessed. I have a meeting with the lawyer this Wed. and I have yet to receive this letter. Something else that was brought up, but is heresay, is they feel she is on drugs, also. (Her neighbors are retired teachers whom I've only met once before.)

My wife has been admitted into a psych hosp., previously, before the seperation. She has also been admitted once for a suicide attempt. And honestly, I had to stop her a few times, nothing done 'cause I thought she was doing it for attention, regret.

Question; will/can this be used to get primary custody or would it be a waste of time? (Only reason I say waste of time, because the system still does lean toward the mother/woman and I have been feeling this for the last 3 months, and honestly, I feel that all my attempts are still going to just get me 50/50 joint with every other weekend visitation.) If it can be used, can I get the paperwork from these hospitals on my own or would I need a court order?

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My Answer:

I think your attorney should move for a psychological evaluation of both parties. Give her history as an example of the need, as you're concerned that she's not stable enough to have primary custody of the children.

Past suicide attempts, involuntary commitment-- those by themselves should be grounds enough for the court to want someone to evaluate the parents and assess psychological stability.

In the meantime, you need to negotiate as much custodial time as possible via temporary or stipulated court orders.

In another note, you wrote that a psychologist suggested to you and her that she may have a personality disorder.

Courts don't care much for diagnoses. Courts want to know about behaviors that threaten the welfare of children.

So, your argument for everything is about the welfare of the children. Attacking her mental health is one way, but only out of concern that her instability causes poor choices that cause harm to the children. You need examples of such poor choices.

Obviously, killing oneself while caring for children is not good for children. So, the suicide concern is evident, if proven.

Getting affadavits from neighbors, based upon their observances, can only help you. Do it ASAP, and you can add it to your arsenal for the next hearing-- at which you'll ask for additional time pending the outcome of the custody/psych evaluations.

You're now fighting an uphill battle, as you're clearly set up to be the noncustodial parent. You need all the solid knowledge and strategy you can get. I've told you before to read books. READ BOOKS.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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