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Twice convicted, twice failed drug test; clean for 10 months now... mother wants time with her kids again

Your Question:
I got into some trouble and got put in jail over night. what i did i fordged some checks that was not mine and they got a warrant and i went to jail i had checks in 2 different counties went to court on both and got 3 years probation in each county. well i got really depressed and scared and my ex-husband was brain washing into signing our kids over to him and i just got reasonable visitation on the papers thats been 2 years ago and at first he was letting me see them whenever i wanting talking to them everynight. I had to report to my probation officer once a month and failed a drug test that put me in jail for 2 and half months then they put me on house arrest for 3 months and I failed another drug test and went to rehap for 90 days got out in sept I have been clean for 10 months now. well when all that was going on with me my ex got married and I don't get see them but maybe once a month if then I'm only allowed to talk to them on the phone 1 night a week. i have been doing everything that I know to do and it's just getting worst with me not seeing my kids. I know that alot of that is his wife doings because we have always agree on decision on our kids best interest. Now I just don't know what to do I have no money for a lawyer. My kids are 11 years old and they are confused and hurt and I understand that but they are also scared to stand up to their dad and tell him that they want to be apart of their mothers life too. What can I do to get some kind of custody back are even visitations in the process. They were my life for 9 years and I am lost without them (tripletts) What can I do I need some Help any advice you could give me.

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My Answer:

Sorry for what you're going through, and congratulations on getting cleaned up.

That said, you've were on a pretty clear path of self-destruction, including crime and drugs. As I'm sure you're the first to admit, such behavior and instability is not appropriate for a parent. But now, you're clean and on the straight and narrow path.

The challenge you face is that while you've been on the right path for 10 months, the damage and mistrust you left behind will take much longer to heal. It could be that after Mom failed two drug tests, Dad gave up on her and now sees her as a threat or negative influence to the kids. I certainly would have that frame of mind. I would suggest that you not blame the stepmom for your situation... unless she's the one who forced you to fail two drug tests and the conditions of your probation. If you ever show such attitude in court, you won't get any sympathy. It's a serious thing when a parent is taking illicit drugs or violating probation terms. Got it?

Okay, so now you've been doing great for 10 months, and you're frustrated that no one seems to recognize how hard you've been working on yourself. You're going to have to continue to work hard to prove yourself and regain the confidence that people should have in you. And I imagine you know that any slip-up will immediately put you back at an even harder starting place with the people in your life.

So, the question is... how much time does all this take?

If you've been doing great for 10 months, staying clean and checking in with probation officers, the court will likely take note of that. If you've been involved in a church or temple, if you've been seeing a counselor, if you've been in a drug/alcohol support group, and/or if you've taken a parenting class-- all of that will impress the heck out of a family law judge.

I doubt that you're going to get any custody (a legal definition) change anytime soon.

However, if what you outline is true, I'd suggest the following:

  • Get affadavits (sworn statements) from your probation officer, your pastor/rabbi/reverend, your support group leader, and your therapist or counselor. Each affadavit should briefly describe how great you've done for 10 months, how committed you repeatedly you say you are to being a healthy mother.

  • Write your own affadavit (sworn statement) about how much you've changed in the past 10 months and how you've realized that your kids need a healthy mother. Outline in your affadavit (only a few pages at most) everything you've done during the past 10 months to get clean, to have a stable home, and to become a better parent.

  • Go to the courthouse that heard your case. Get forms to modify visitation. Many courthouses have a Family Law Information Center. Such place can help you fill out forms.

  • On the forms, request a visitation schedule that you think is reasonable for a person getting a "second chance." If you ask for sole custody, no one will take you seriously. If you ask for 8 hours every Sunday, plus a weekday evening dinner (e.g., from after school until 7pm), plus a specific time to call the kids twice weekly... I'd bet you get it.

  • A year later, you can go and ask for more. If a year goes by, and you remain on the straight and proper path, and if this time with your kids proves positive for them... you'll likely get more time.

I would also bet that a year later, their father would have trust in you again and may even come to an informal agreement with you to spend even more time with the kids.

Good luck, and stay strong. Your reward will be huge if you can keep going how you're going.


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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