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Dad going through custody evaluation for 13 month old daughter, Mom diagnosed personality disorder


Your Question:
Hi,

Here is the deal, my wife refused to let me have our daughter for the 2nd appt with the evaluator, this was addressed by the evaluator with both attorney's on a conference call and despite offering to give her a day in exchange and against her attorney advise she still refused. I called the evaluator, she told me to come in regardless, which I did.

Additionally, before my appt this past Monday, she called my wife's attorney and again stressed the importance of this. So I meet with the evaluator and give her all of my documentation. She asked me what I thought of the fact that my wife showed up 2 hours late for her initial appt. and could not be seen. That in fact the wife called her stating she was lost and was evidently on the Turnpike and did not apparently know it and was an hour and a half away?

My response was that under stress she spaces out.....disassociates in other words. Her comment was that it was a shame that the baby was in the car for so long, and that she did not understand why she would bring the baby to the initial appt.

I also gave her documentation that my wife after she withdrew her restraining order against me ( she was compelled to do this), had her lawyer state to my lawyer that she wanted no contact with me an in the event of an emergency with our daughter she wanted me to call her enmeshed twin sister. That did not go down well with the evaluator.

What I have in my favor is that my wife was diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder. After she went for 3 months to therapy, her shrink gave her an "official" diagnosis of Intermittent Explosive Disorder. The evaluator will get these records, court ordered. Also I had about 200 pages of documentation i.e. emails, letters from her etc.

(Edited personal content about the mother's character and past actions)

Advice? My daughter is 13 months old. Her mother is nuts........very attractive:)...........but nuts!

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My Answer:
Hi,

In my humble opinion:

You're golden, and it'll probably be only by some royal screw-up on your part if the outcome isn't close to what you think is best for your daughter. You're in a better spot than most fathers in an evaluation. Most of us aren't lucky enough to have ex's who don't realize that the evaluator is the most important person to impress.

So, you know that your ex is already screwing herself with the evaluator, so you can back off trying show the bad about your ex and concentrate more on your daughter when talking with the evaluator.

E.g., the evaluator may have asked you what you thought of your ex sitting in a car for 2 hours "lost" to see if you were connected to what's best for a 1 year old. She may have dropped that comment (about shame child was in the car) to see if you immediately had empathy for the same.

At no time should you assume the evaluator is your friend. It's her job to put you at ease, to see what you really think.

If I were in your position based upon what you wrote, I'd be seeking sole custody, and I'd lay out my plan ASAP to the evaluator on how I'll raise my 1 year old with sole custody-- that I'm ready and prepared right NOW... not an approach that I'd start planning IF I got sole custody.

Forgive me if you're already doing all this with your evaluator, but I know nothing except what you wrote.

Elements to drill into the evaluator include:

a) "My job is pretty flexible in sick time, coming in late, leaving early, etc. My daughter comes first, and my employer is really sensitive to parents' needs. (Or better-- I can telecommute half the time)."

b) "My mother/sister/cousin/aunt/grandmother/neighbor has been in daughter's live since birth, and this person is willing to help with daycare."

c) "I'm not really a social butterfly, so I have no night life. I'll be home every evening."

d) "BTW, did I mention that I completed a parenting class? I just wanted to be as educated as possible about parenting approaches."

e) "My home is sufficient for raising my daughter. It's child-proofed (either learn what this means or hire a pro to do it-- like cabinet locks, outlet plugs, etc)"

f) "I've already got her on waiting lists at ABC and XYZ preschools to start when she's 3. Both these facilities have excellent reputations."

g) "I really want my child's mother to be involved in her life as much as she can do in a healthy manner. I don't think she's demonstrated the responsibility to be a primary caretaker. But her spending frequent evenings (e.g., once or twice a week) or a weekend (at most) with our daughter is probably the best for which I can hope."

h) "For both my daughter and my ex, I'd hope you can recommend counseling for her as part of your report. I only wish she can find some way to handle life better."

i) "I've found a daddy-and-me activity class that meets every Sunday. It's great, and daughter seems to enjoy it."

You get the idea. Hand yourself to the evaluator on a silver platter with garnish laid out reading, "Father of the Year".

The evaluator is already getting unimpressed with your ex. So that leaves her to assess if you're capable enough to handle raising this kid.

Given what you've shared, I can't imagine you'll get less than 50/50.

Two books I'd recommend are: Divorce Poison (read before your daughter is 2-- it's been very helpful for me in starting from the beginning to recognize and address any signs of alienation attempts in my daughter).

The other book is Win Your Child Custody War (by Hardwick). It's $80, 600 pages thick, and it gives excellent guidance on strategies, mind-frames, and do/don't lists. It will serve you in coming years, as well as now. It's the only book you'll need for guidance through this.

For convenience, I've got links to both these books on Amazon located on my Recommended Resources page.

KEEP IN MIND:
The anger and offense you feel about all the things I'm sure you wife has done will never go away. Every new unfair, unjust, deceitful thing she does will offend you anew. This process isn't about prosecuting her character as it is about trying to do what's best for your daughter. Always keep your daughter in mind, not your wife.

In doing what's best for your daughter, it may cause some character assassination of your wife, but it shouldn't be the reverse approach.

Please let me know how it turns out for you.

Eric





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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