Visitation and the alcoholic parent

Posted Friday, April 24th, 2009 by Gregory Forman
Filed under Law and Culture, Not South Carolina Specific, Of Interest to General Public, Visitation

If we accept that alcoholism is a disease (which I do), the cure is simple: don’t consume alcohol. I have happily represented many outstanding recovering alcoholic parents in family court and some of these parents have obtained custody of their children and done a fantastic job raising them. Note the word “recovering” alcoholics. The alcoholic parents whose representation I considered to be successful were in recovery and were committed to not drinking.

In too many cases I have observed alcoholic parents who were not in recovery destroy their custody case (and their relationship with their children) by continuing to drink. I cannot say that every parent I have dealt with who had a history of alcohol abuse and continued to drink destroyed their case but I believe this may be due, in part, to the fact that I only observe such parents for a period of a few months to a few years and they will be parents of minor children for 18+ years. I suspect if I followed them throughout their child(ren)’s minority, eventually their alcohol use would result in an action or behavior that would undermine their relationship with their children.

A common concern in custody and visitation cases in which one parent is an alcoholic is what to do about that parent’s visitation and how to monitor problems that may arise due to that parent’s use of alcohol. It is grossly unfair to require the other parent to monitor the alcoholic parent’s drinking: often that parent has spent years in an enabling relationship with the alcoholic parent and has turned to the family court so as to stop further enmeshment in the alcoholic parent’s drinking. Yet visitation orders that simply prohibit the alcoholic parent from drinking around the child (or when they have the child, or within twenty-four hours of a visit) simply continue this entanglement: the other parent must continuously monitor the alcoholic parent’s drinking. The typical result is frequent trips to the family court where the parents argue over whether the alcoholic parent was drinking or when the alcoholic parent was drinking. Since such determinations ride on credibility determinations, and since credibility determinations often require lots of witnesses and lots of cross-examination of these witnesses to test credibility, these hearings require substantial docket time and the court is often loath to devote substantial docket time to these issues–especially when the same issue (alcoholic parent’s drinking) keeps arising. Frequently these cases do not resolve until the alcoholic parent’s drinking becomes well documented through an alcohol-related accident–and we can only hope that the children are not around when this accident occurs.

Sometimes the court puts a little more “teeth” in its order by allowing the other parent to request random alcohol testing of the alcoholic parent. However, so long as the court’s order allows the alcoholic parent to consume alcohol at some times (when the child is not around) but not consume it other times, this does not remove the credibility problems noted above: now the parents are simply fighting over when the alcoholic parent was drinking.

It strikes me that the solution to this problem is both simple and elegant and I wish more family court judges had the courage to implement it: simply require an alcoholic parent who wishes to have visitation with his or her child to stop drinking period. I realize and respect that family court judges are loathe to restrict an adult’s legal activities more than is absolutely required. However, if we are going to treat alcoholism as a medical issue, rather than a moral issue, then I believe such a broad restriction is justified. Only by committing to sobriety can an alcoholic parent be safely around his or her children. Further, it is unfair to require the other parent to monitor the drinking of the alcoholic parent when the alcoholic parent wants a relationship with the child(ren) but is unwilling to commit to sobriety.

If I were a family court judge every alcoholic parent would be given a stark choice: alcohol or your children. If the parent chose alcohol, he or she would not receive court-ordered visitation (I would leave the visitation in the discretion of the other parent and trust that the other parent would allow whatever visitation he or she felt was productive and safe for the children). If the alcoholic parent chose visitation they would be ordered not to drink period. I would allow the other parent to obtain random alcohol testing and one failed test would result in visitation being terminated pending further court order and would result in potential criminal contempt (that is the alcoholic parent would be subject to incarceration for drinking).

While such a choice seems harsh it is actually most reasonable. Almost all non alcoholic parents, given a choice between alcohol and their children, would choose their children; it would not even be a difficult decision. Yet we are unwilling to require alcoholic parents to make this choice. These are the very parents whose history suggests that their being required to make such a decision would lead to greater harmony and family stability. Every case in which I have seen the judge require such a choice resolves rather quickly and leads to stability: either the alcoholic parent chooses alcohol, the alcoholic parent refrains from drinking or the alcoholic parent is caught drinking and visitation stops. The cases in which the court does not require such a choice lead to endless litigation. How much simpler it would be if the family court uniformly implemented this solution.

168 thoughts on Visitation and the alcoholic parent

  1. Angela says:

    It’s comforting to see I am not alone. It’s also sad to see all of these posts. Why? Why I keep asking myself every night I am up with insomnia, or every time I am standing in the courtroom. Why? Why is it that I am going through this when he is an alcoholic? From day one I raised our son on my own. From day one he drank. DUI’s, AA meetings that he took our son too for his visitation time, and the constant lies and drama. I am exhausted. One year into this court battle for visitation that he has always had and I feel that all the courts and his lawyer want to do is push his alcoholism under the rug. He is sober they say now. He is four years sober they are saying. I don’t see it. He has disowned half of his family, threatens that he will drink again, harasses everyone in his life, and blames everyone but himself. One minute he is threatening to financially ruin me and the next I get an email saying what a great parent I am. Its a roller coaster ride, up and down, not knowing whats around the next corner and feeling sick to your stomach the whole time. I keep praying, hoping for Karma to show up…but the courts keep falling for the sober, I got a coin, I’m good now so lets forget the past 8 years and focus on now I want to be a parent, except I am not following the court order and I am still harassing people and lets be honest, he is an alcoholic. Its not going away, he needs to focus everyday to be sober. He needs to stop blaming everyone else. Why can’t the courts see what I see? I just don’t want that phone call in the middle of the night from the hospital that my son is hurt. Just exhausted.

    1. Mary says:

      Been there, done that. I can really sympathize. He turned my son into an alcoholic. What kind of father sends cases of wine to college and then takes him and all of his friends to Las Vegas?

      My son even admitted he drove him home while drunk and it was an hour and a half ride!

    2. Christopher says:

      There is no right or wrong answer. I have witnessed horrific non-drinking “sober” parents who abuse a system which is generally biased as well as the alcoholic but sober parent who is a loving, brilliant individual. Alcoholism is a disease, a terrible one, of a physical, mental and spiritual nature. Treatment, Treatment, Treatment. I have often seen vindictive parents (you know who you are but are equally in a state of denial – regarding your self-righteousness – as your drinking ex is about booze) who seek punishment and legal advantage at every turn. They use a sick parent’s disease as a weapon for continuing terrible emotional punishment and torment against the drinker. This vindictive, retributive anger is bad for whom, do you think? That’s right. Your children! You may hate the alcoholic, but chances are your child doesn’t. So stop complaining and be thankful you don’t have this terrible affliction. Your ridicule and contempt and blame, though you may be justified, will never teach your children how to truly love and will only scar them, perhaps worse than the drinker you are so correct in despising.

      1. Betty says:

        Father of my eight year old daughter just finished a 30 day rehab. This is rrha4b number four! The family court judge assigned to our case is and has been lenient towards the father and I’m afraid that our next court date will be a mess because rhe judge will give him a high five for admitting he had a problem and going to seek treatment..the father and I are mediating with our attorneys this Friday to attempt to work out a deal without going to this next trial..As it stands now, he had only suoervised visitation and he is goinf to be pushing for more. I really like the soberlink technology however it is costly and I dont don’t imagine this court will order him to utilize that service. I cannot agree to giving father any custodial rights until he establishes a pattern of ongoing sobriety. Im stuck, dont know what to do..honestly, because he failed to report for alcohol testing twice, which left him in contempt of court, I believe his attorney advised him to attend rehab to save face. I need something to reference at the mediation this friday and some way to justify to the unfair judge that father doesn’t and hasn’t earned any custody or rights. Please advise with any advice you may have. Much appreciated.

        1. Mary says:

          Betty, please push for Soberlink. It has been a Godsend to me so far. Yes, it is expensive, but this is an issue that is worth it. Alcoholism is expensive. I am making all aware in my divorce case how critical this device is. I believe it can help avoid future court visits if provisions and details of “if x happens, this happens” is well written by your attorney. I’m not backing down on this device for very long term use in my case. Good luck to you… I honestly believe that Soberlink is the only answer in all of these custody cases involving alcoholism. I believe it can save lives.

          1. Betty says:

            Thank you Mary, of course I’m going to push for sober link..This little town is full of the good ole boys clubs which makes justice more difficult. Do you have any samples of how your attorney wrote this in your documents that you would be willing to share? I do most of the leg work and investigation, then my attorney writes it up for me but I could use all the help I can get!

        2. Mary says:

          Betty, I want to help, but not sure how.. I wish I could e-mail you all of the wording from my order. I am trying to be anonymous here because this is a public site. I do believe that my order is very well written. My attorney had help with creating it from a company that does monitoring for Soberlink. In order for your order to be written well and for things to be successful, it’s very important for you to learn all that you can about this device and the monitoring for it. Not enough people know about it because it is fairly new. This includes attorneys and judges. These are the people who need to know all about it. I can give you some information here, but if you want more, comment back with a secure e-mail where I can send it. Your order needs to state that a failed test is defined as a test that is either a test positive for alcohol and/or any test that he does not take within 29 minutes of the ordered times you put in the order. His periods of possession are conditioned upon his participation in Soberlink in accordance with the terms in the order. He must sign appropriate authorizations so that his Soberlink reports are submitted directly to you and your attorney (with those e-mails listed in the order). His periods of possession shall not begin until he has enrolled in Soberlink and signed all forms necessary for you and your attorney to get his failed test notifications via e-mail and text; weekly detailed reports via e-mail, and DETAILED report information with photos from all tests via e-mail when requested. You will receive all test results via e-mail in real time, if requested. He is ordered to schedule all tests with his Soberlink testing company prior to each test/testing period. If you can state it in the order what company he is to use, this would be best because you should find out what monitoring company that the family courts in your area respect and use most. You need to talk to your attorney about what will happen if he fails a test. For example, his possession will be immediately suspended until registration can be made with a supervising facility. Or he will start supervised visitation with a mutual friend. You need to be able to pick the child up from wherever the child is if he fails a test while he has the child. You can put in the order what the supervised schedule will look like. Do not put anything regarding him stopping Soberlink after a certain time period or number of compliant tests. Or you can if you want. You will know what’s best for these types of details and you should talk to your attorney about it. (personally I believe alcoholics should use it until the child is 18) He needs to be the one to sign up for the device and pay for it himself (his possession is conditioned upon his participation in Soberlink). Put a section in the order for his scheduled test days and times (decide with your attorney what these are, I suggest a test 1-3 hours before picking the child up and a test around every 3 hours. He needs to be only allowed a total of 44 minutes for his testing window. For example, if the test is at 8:00, his testing window will be from 7:45 until 8:29. If he takes the test at 8:30, it is a missed test. A failure. Only set on the hour times (8:00, 11:00, 1:00, etc.) because the Soberlink software does not do other times (8:30, 11:15, 1:45). For holidays and other agreed upon times, he needs to test at the beginning of each period of his possession and every 3 hours after, and once at drop off. I know that the 44 minute thing is confusing, but just state in your order that it is considered a failure if he has a test that is either missed or does not take within 29 minutes of the ordered time specified in the order. On a side note, concerning the cost of this device/monitoring, there are choices of places to get monitoring and they can have different prices. Soberlink (the company that makes the device), also does monitoring. You will need to talk to your attorney as to what’s best. It may be okay to use a company other than what the court usually uses. The company Soberlink is very helpful and I would advise calling them with any questions that you may have. I really hope that this helps. I cannot guarantee my advice to you on your divorce matters, I guess I have to say this because I am not an attorney. But I am speaking from my experience and knowledge, only trying to help you to be informed and hopefully learn about this device and how it can help. I want you to be able to protect your child….Good luck, I will be thinking about you and praying for you. Don’t give up on this push for Soberlink. Hopefully the judge will be open to it and has knowledge about it if it comes down to you having to go to court. Be sure your attorney and yourself are very knowlegable about Soberlink and it’s monitoring.

          1. Betty says:


            This help is immensely appreciated as I go before lawyers tomorrow.

          2. Elaine says:

            Can someone please advise me on my current situation? I’m desperate in finding help.

            I’m a 24 year old stay at home mom to an almost 11 month old breastfed boy. He does get solids, but breastfeeds to sleep for naps, bedtime, and 1-2 times at night. He never took to a bottle despite multiple attempts with different bottles and nipples. I attended college prior to conceiving our son, but still need 2 more semesters to finish with a teacher certification. I have a bank account which I nearly forced his father to open for me as I had no way to spend money other than using his card which he gave me access to or cash-all at his discretion. He has since let that bank account go in the red (I only use it for gas, groceries, and other necessities). He is a 44 year old analytical strategist for a large well known tech company in the Austin, Tx area. He hides his alcoholism very well. He has even been pulled over drunk and not even ticketed when he didn’t even present a license!!! He has joint custody of his 11 year old son, who sees his drinking daily and is often picked up from school or dropped off to his moms by his dad who is under the influence. He refuses to see a counselor for help and OPENLY admits to me he is an alcoholic and isn’t going to change. We have our differences but I have been afraid to leave him in fear that he will have joint custody of my baby and be drinking around him and driving him places putting him in danger… So I stay with him. And I have no family near us, no money, and a car that he won’t replace the catalytic converter on (I need that replaced in order to pass inspection and get registration for it as well). So he has me pinned down pretty hard.

            What are my options? I want to leave this environment and do better for my son. I don’t want my son growing up witnessing the drinking that his older brother already sees and has to deal with. He’s never violent, but the driving under the influence is just unacceptable. We aren’t married.

            Please, please help….
            -One worried momma

        3. Mary says:

          I wanted to get you at least that information before Friday, I remembered that you have your meeting this Friday. You are welcome.. I want to help anyone else going through what I’m going through. You are a wonderful mom trying to protect your child and you are doing the right thing. Be confident and calm (not emotional). You will do great.. Big hugs from me to you and your daughter. Please comment back after and let me know how the day went… You need to express that alcoholism is a disease that is incurable and that her father needs provisions in place during her entire childhood, whether he is in recovery or not. It’s in the best interest of the child.

      2. K says:

        It seems either you, your adult child, or someone close to you may be the alcoholic. Drinking is a choice. It may eventually lead to addiction, but it is still a choice. Do you think a parent’s alcoholism and the behavior associated won’t scar a child? I made sure our child had access to his father any time he wanted provided the situation was safe (dad wasn’t driving, and a sober adult was around) I supported his many, and I mean many, rehab attempts (sometimes I was the only one). I spent a great deal of time trying to convince our son his father loved him. Guess what? Because of his father’s behavior, our son wants nothing to do with him, he is deeply scarred by his behavior and actions and has had to be in counseling. So don’t try to place the blame on the custodial parent.

        1. Betty says:

          Wasn’t sure if that was meant for me. But im the custodial parent and am extremely supportive and have been. I’m always available and I keep him on touch with our daughter every day. I want her to have a daddy, one who she can trust and not feel second to his alcohol. My daughters happiness is primary for me. This is why I do what I do…promote a healthy relationship.

          1. Pattrice Mcmichael says:

            Hi I am a mother of 2 my girl is 13 now n boy is 7 we went through women’s refuge for first court custody in which we had temporary restraining order later he threatened to hurt me if I testified against him when DA picked up case he had friend lie say I was liar charges were dropped he then threatened me secretly to hurt me if I kept him away so we went to mediation n I requested a no alcohol clause be put into place that he not be under influence during visits or 24 hrs of court ordered visits due to his history of abuse while using .later a dr. Opend a cps case to investigate abuse from him upon kids they investigated myself n I signed safety plan he did not case was closed but recently my daughter informed me he has gotten aggressive physically n emotionally and had n continues to drink she was afraid to say on almost every visit for past 5 years but that recently her cousin recorded a video of him drunk cuss g physically asulting pushing her on video calling her a bitch and making her think she was in wrong and that he was pretending to call cops on her calls her names etc as she’s crying g during video begging him to remove himself cuz hes drunk and scaring g her yet he progresses can his right be terminated in Calif if he was violating the court order and I have proof please he has also been drunk and gave both my children garbage bags drunk and yelling at my then 5 n 11 year old ssn at 1130 at night to fill up bags w thier shit go wait in dark by curb if they wanted to go ho e because they wanted me that he would cal me to pick them up outside by street please please p,ease help need legal counsel or legal advice sincerely one mom scared n fearing safety of kids

      3. I can see parents who aren’t the drinker, worrying about the health and safety of their children. Your response to this thread was off base. Most parents who aren’t the drinker, have had to cary the load of making ng sure their children are safe in every situation. This doesn’t make them, angry, vindictive, self-righteous. It makes them GOOD PARENTS! I can’t tell you how many times my two children have been insutuations where they can get hurt, due to my husband (alcoholic) that is ALWAYS buzzed, except for the time he is at work. We HAVE to be over protective because the foggy headed alcoholic in our lives seems to think nothing bad can happen to our children EVER! My husband’s favorite response to a concern of mine regarding our children’s safety is, “he/she’ll learn!” In other words, because he’s too f-ing lazy to SHOW the child how to be safe or to teach them the dancers of things around them, he’d rather WATCH the child get burned, stung, skin his knee, etc. Now, I know that some injuries can’t always be prevented but they can be deminished by guiding the child, showing them how to handle situations, warning them and then flat out saying NO, when we are aware it would put them in danger. That doesn’t make us ANGRY, AND SELF-RIGHTEOUS! We are the last ones to FEEL that we have to be right, we are just looking out for our child’s best interest!!! Ugh, you sound like an alcoholic yourself!. Oh, and one more thing, we are ANGRY at times but not ALL THE TIME like the alcoholic will say. Most of the time we are learning how to navigate the sea of roller coasters that comes with living with an alcoholic, and having children to protect!!! We are tired, doing our best and vigilant about our children’s safety!!!! That makes us SANE! Not angry, and self-righteous! Gross! Your comment was disgusting. So not on point!

      4. Sonia Hughes says:

        Christopher, yes alcoholism is a disease, but please get off your high horse and realize that these children are more scared due to the horifing things they witness when there Alcoholic dad breaks down there door and breaks things and yells horrific things at the child and physically hurts her Mom and is put in handcuffs driven off in a police car. So please do us all a favor and realize what that does to the child watching this, hearing this, seeing this. So yes, she DOES NOT WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH THAT MONSTER!!!!

    3. Jessica says:

      I’m going through the same thing. He is an alcoholic and a drug addict and yet I have had to spend thousands of dollars just to keep my children safe. My ex has regularly threatened to commit suicide if I don’t lift the sanction of having a court ordered chaperone. I am so grateful that my kids have a loving and responsible chaperone with them every time my ex-husband has his visitation with them. I shouldn’t have to live my life wondering if my kids are going to come back when they go with their father.

      1. K says:

        Record him if that is an option allowed in your state. Next time he threatens suicide, record it, call the police and have them issue a mental inquest warrant. If he is indeed suicidal, he needs help. If he isn’t, he needs to learn he can’t play that game.

    4. Betty says:

      Father of my eight year old daughter just finished a 30 day rehab. This is rrha4b number four! The family court judge assigned to our case is and has been lenient towards the father and I’m afraid that our next court date will be a mess because rhe judge will give him a high five for admitting he had a problem and going to seek treatment..the father and I are mediating with our attorneys this Friday to attempt to work out a deal without going to this next trial..As it stands now, he had only suoervised visitation and he is goinf to be pushing for more. I really like the soberlink technology however it is costly and I dont don’t imagine this court will order him to utilize that service. I cannot agree to giving father any custodial rights until he establishes a pattern of ongoing sobriety. Im stuck, dont know what to do..honestly, because he failed to report for alcohol testing twice, which left him in contempt of court, I believe his attorney advised him to attend rehab to save face. I need something to reference at the mediation this friday and some way to justify to the unfair judge that father doesn’t and hasn’t earned any custody or rights. Please advise with any advice you may have. Much appreciated.

  2. Claudia says:

    I have been in the court systems for 6 years. judges ignore my concerns despite dui, pancreatitis, possitive alcohol tests, diluted tests, and even the other parent loosing his work realease while our child was in her custody. He’s great at pretending to have it together due to wealthy parents that enable him.
    While I’m responsible for paying dentis, doctor, everything our child needs he goes to court asking for more parenting time and remove our child from an excellent school where he has excelled just to make it easy on himself. Family court in Arizona does not seem to mind alcohol use even during visitations. And seem to rather place all burden on to the responsible parent. I end up having the role of “controlling” the safety of our son and the other party is the “cool, fun, no rules” parent.
    is there any helpful resources for those like me representing themselves in this kind of cases. father has unlimited resources so it is not an issue for him to request more and more time with our son since he doesn’t share any expenses on raising our child.

  3. Heather says:

    It’s sad to hear all these stories, but here comes one more. I have been divorced from my daughter’s father for 11 yrs. He was and still is a raging alcoholic!!! Visitation is at my discretion, the ex can go through my attorney at any time to set up a supervised visit. He never does and then complains and tells our daughters I won’t let him see them. I’ve cut off all communication due to the fact that he is verbally abusive/ threatening (approved by the court). He doesn’t pay child support and is behind $30k. I am remarried and my husband and I have raised the girls as our own with no help from the ex. He has the gull to act like he loves them so much and misses them so much, but does nothing about it. I’m so frustrated! My ex has my 18yr old convinced it’s all my fault he is this way and that I caused these problems (divorce & his alcohol problems). He tells my daughters that I cheated on him with my current husband! I did meet my husband during my problems with the ex, but that had nothing to do with the divorce, his alcoholism did. I was going to leave no matter what! My 18yr old moved out and now hates me. My dilemma is this, now my 14yr old out of the blue asks me if she can call her dad…um, no…he doesn’t /refuses to follow set court guidelines. If I let her call him, it’s like saying ok fine, let’s let him buck the rules, AGAIN and have free access to do and say whatever he wants. I don’t want her to blame me like my oldest does, I’ve only tried to protect them from his severe alcoholism (he is also jobless and homeless). What kind of positive influence could he possibly be? Should I open the gates and allow communication now that my youngest is old enough to help make these decisions? Every part of me says no, but I’m trying to put her feelings first and it’s very hard to think about what might be done or said when she sees her dad. I want her to have a positive relationship with her father. I want him to make it about them, not what I have done to him & telling her how bad I am and how everything is my fault. He has told me it’s his mission to show our kids the true person I am… what should I do?

    1. mikelanthony says:

      I would like to totally re-invent this topic or any issue for that matter that is/has caused anyone feeling the need to react in any form which has had negative effects for the people involved, most importantly the children. I give you this; What are your true motives, any hint of i being personal, will in due time have a snowball effect, only to come back to haunt them, only much more intensity in order to have it’s purpose truly understood by the person who felt the need to impose their purpose to be understood . Again if the alcoholic has given up on themselves, then only divine intervention can bring about the painful blow, which brings them to a hospital/treatment center to get help. However if like myself, you want nothing more than to have all this (YOUR LIFE) to have just been a bad dream you wake up from, then;


      1. craig says:

        i had been sober for 11 years when my ex got temporary emergency custody of my 7 year son, she also complained i was emotionally abusive and physical. all of it was found to be false by the cps . ( xample. kicking him ones 9 months ago, was when i put my foot up to block him jumping on me when i was sitting on the couch with two cups of coffee)

        when she realized that wasn’t going to work she said i am always drunk. even though she see me me for about 30 seconds a week . she also-claimed domestic violence t o get me out of mediation in the same room . the judge gave her right to ask for random drug testing . she never asked me till the last visit when she knew i wouldnt be able to go . she also told our son she was going to . . so i didn’t have time to get a clean text before our 6 month review two days later , i lost my right to visitation ., there are more details than this and none of them make sense , she now wont accept a clean test for me . only a hair folical test . the court only ordered urine test . but she says thats not good enough.

        she took my son out of school . that way i would never be around anyone associated as a witness to me being sober . there’s other motives ..

        my son hates her and hits her and she screams and yells at him every single day . she wont lt him go anywhere with out her . and i just found out she has a history of aspergers in her family . and again .. this is just the basics.

        i lkopw there were times i made mistakes . but none of iot was alcohol or drug related . and my soon is now being ripped of his only childhood . i could go on about 5 pages of details how she is lying and manipulating double dipping breaking every court order including sharing ever detail of everything with or now 9 year old son

        1. Kelly says:

          My son goes through the same thing as Craig. For years his ex has been trying to take their daughter out of my son’s life. It is frustrating to say the least on dealing with this type of person. I do not like to see my grand daughter being pitted against her dad. I do not like to see the court being manipulated by her lies. I am frustrated that we her grandparents are also being punished. I am amazed at the verbal abuse the ex spews out at my son in the presence of their daughter. My son’s ex and her now husband does it too, with no consequences from the mediator or the court. My son has made mistakes, and is taking responsibility for them, but I as a grandparent have done nothing but love my grand child and I am being punished along with the child. If a person is in treatment and no longer drinking they should not be continued to be punished for past mistakes plain and simple. Nor should the behavior of the other parent be allowed to treat the child’s other parent with verbal abuse and disrespect in front of the child, it only wounds the child’s heart, and more damage is done.

      2. Lynn says:

        The emotional damage, among other things, caused by the alcoholic, has long term, devastating effects. If people want to vent and share their issues to help with the grieving process, who are you to tell them how to go about doing it? One cannot certainly “take an honest inventory” on their own life until they have processed their grief and anger, other times, other personality types, may be more positive and not have the same anger/grief. Everyone has their own battle to fight and I am sure the people that have pain inflicted by an alcoholic need a forum to speak freely, without you directing them how express themselves.

    2. anonymous says:

      I left my sons father a year ago due to neglect, poor financial and emotional decisions, drinking, a DUI, and many affairs. He moved his affair partner, who has a DV Felony into our house within 8 hours of the deadline he gave me for getting mine and my sons stuff out. We have been going through the family courts since and he is fighting for equal parenting time. I naively took my THEN lawyer’s advice and agreed to SCHEDULED alcohol testing two days a week (one of the biggest mistakes of my life). At our hearing, the judge kept visitation at the 11 hours a week but allowed him to have our son at his house, without the presence of his girl friend. We are set to go to trial end of January. The first 6 months were so brutal I cannot tell you. Our son was processing so much anger and sadness over the split. He was hitting me, blaming me for everything, and his father was telling him things like that I didn’t want him to visit with him. For 4-5 months I sat in my car outside wherever they visited (in a public place) for up to three hours at a time so that our son could visit with his father in a safe place. And this does not include the literal HELL I have been through with child support. Our family law system is in need of some serious overhaul where these issues are concerned.
      Our son is now 6 1/2. Over the past three months our son has shared with me that all his daddy does is go into his bedroom to watch tv, leaving our son out in the living room in front of the television, (even when they eat) or try to fall asleep on the couch. He is consistently late in either showing up for visits or bringing our son home. He has had to cancel many Sunday visits, which is his longer visit day. I have given him multiple opportunities to be involved in our sons school activities, yet he did not even show up for parent teacher conference and has not once asked to be involved in his therapy or talked to his therapist because he claims I pushed him out. I need to mention that we have shared legal decision making so he can talk to whomever he wants teachers, therapist, etc… The truth is he cannot handle anything hard or uncomfortable in his life.
      All of this brings up extreme fear for me regarding the welfare of our son. There is really no way for me to know if he is drinking. He is an alcoholic in denial so there is nothing that tells me he isn’t. Sometimes I try to control things because I do not trust him to make healthy decisions that will effect our son. And sometimes I hear our son say things that make me realize he sees the behaviors and even though he will always love his father he understands that his father is not capable of anything more right now. The other day he said “maybe daddy just isn’t ready to have a child”. Instead of agreeing or disagreeing I focused on his feelings around that. Because it is not my place to say what his relationship will look like with his father. All I can control is how I show up for our son. When he gets old enough he will have a choice in who he spends time with. And I have faith that our son will know what is wrong and right and choose the latter.
      I know this included a lot of description of my situation but I also hope it gives you another perspective.

    3. Karen says:

      Yes, you should definately let her call him. She is not in any danger by talking to him on the phone. Please stop letting your resentment prevent them from having some kind of relationship with their father.

      1. K says:

        Karen, just because you think you know the situation doesn’t mean you do. My child would talk to his father, but during phone calls, his father did use some of that time to be threatening or emotionally abusive. Words can hurt, subject matter can hurt, and overall behavior can be damaging. So there are instances where a phone call isn’t “safe”.

    4. David Alexander says:

      You know, I fully understand your concerns about your daughter’s safety, and he may not be fit to spend tme with them without a supervisor in his current state. I UNDERSTAND THIS. But do NOT deny daughter and father the right to communicate, at least by phone. My ex is doing that to me right now. The pain you cause her father by denying him access to his girls is indescribable and it will not help him overcome his problems in any way whatsoever. In fact, it could drive him further into his drinking, because all addiction in every form is borne from what? – The need or desire to kill pain. Whether that pain is emotional, psychological, physical or all three. You must always examine your own heart and be sure your not wanting to allow your girl to call him is coming from any resentment you have for the man. You may think that has nothing to do with it . . .but it very often does in these cases. More often than not to be sure. Mothers use their children as weapons to inflict pain, seek revenge, punish, dishonor, humiliate their ex husbands. And fathers do it to ex wives as well. But this is more common with mothers because they simply have custody and control and power regarding this the majority of the time, statistically. It will also harm your daughter. Don’t do this to them . At least allow her to call him. Otherwise I question your conscience and your love for your children. To be quite Frank, denying your kids father access to his children and your children access to him, at least by phone, is PARENTAL ALIENATION – Do not think it is anything else. REGARDLESS OF HIS CONDITION, HE HAS AT LEAST A GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO AT LEAST SPEAK TO HIS CHILDREN. To deny him and your child this at least this is cruel and heartless beyond words.

  4. mikelanthony says:

    Dont get me wrong if any parent chooses not to take any action needed to get back on track, he definately should get the help needed in order to provide his child his very best. However, its amazing to still see how others pass judgement, and put a stima on those who subconsiously are trying to kill themselves because of some serious harm that was probably done to them by a trusted adult in their life as a child. To hear a mediator/non biased, dish out such judgement, and an ignorant portrayal of what should be done when a recovering person should unfortunately relapse, ‘If we accept that alcoholism is a disease (which I do), the cure is simple: don’t consume alcohol. If I were a family court judge every alcoholic parent would be given a stark choice: alcohol or your children. If the parent chose alcohol, he or she would not receive court-ordered visitation (I would leave the visitation in the discretion of the other parent and trust that the other parent would allow whatever visitation he or she felt was productive and safe for the children). If the alcoholic parent chose visitation they would be ordered not to drink period. I would allow the other parent to obtain random alcohol testing and one failed test would result in visitation being terminated pending further court order and would result in potential criminal contempt (that is the alcoholic parent would be subject to incarceration for drinking). See that u do your very best to put yourself in their shoes, what do you suggest we should do to those hiv/aids patients who seem to have their ”DISEASE” under control for a good 3-5 yr span. All of a sudden they start to experience some symptoms are showing up, however this time around the symptoms become 10 times worse, within a week he’s skin and bones and on the way out or already gone, maybe as a ”DISEASE” which he got through some fault of his own, a bad decision or actions” \SARCASM/ he should be put in jail, sorry i see things with much different filters. I am in recovery but i have had my share of relapses and its been a while since i woke up from one with any part of my soul intact. I wish more people could have the understanding both in theory and most importantly emotionally, of what things i went through or what things i observed, witnessed by 10yrs old. Most humans only see in movies/tv. It was never a request of mine, i had no choice. So remember this, dont form opinions/judgements especially from what ppl share about themselves, that is not the reason they do what they do, its what they wont tell thats the cause for what hell they keep going back to, regardless of how hard they try, and their sincerest honest attempts to get out, its actually so sad to watch someone you really love ie; your son/daughter. I wish this for no one.

    1. angel says:

      couldn’t of said it better mike…I have been clean from alcohol for 14 days now. My dad has temp. custody of my children. There father has custody but says “he doesn’t want to raise them on his own” (excuse for being lazy in my eyes!) I didn’t ask to be an alcoholic! I adore my kids..and I have been deemed unfit due to my drinking! I have a court hearing on the 18th of Feb. and I don’t sleep because I don’t know what will happen. Will the Judge …judge my past…or my present? How do I prove im sober??/ I don’t trust my ex…or my father! (father also drinks…but doesn’t act stupid like I have!) He already has a couple lined up for adoption! My kids have beds at “jen and johns house” ….they cant have kids…so my dad thinks they should have mine!!! Ex is saying he’s for “the best interest of the kids!” I have done a lot of bizarre things in the past…..needless to say….I think parental rights should not be severed until addictive person has been given a chance to do right! With all do respect Mr. Forman….If it would be so easy to stop drinking…..I would of done it a long time ago!! And not to make excuses or point fingers…..but family drama and trust issues…and constantly being put down…doesn’t help a drunk! So if anyone reading this has a family member going through this insane ordeal…have faith…give encouragement…give hugs! That’s what is right and humane!!! I have more heart being an alcoholic than some do being a non-alcoholic! By no means am I bragging! Its a long…dark…empty road! I woke up one morning and said enough already!! Have not had a sip since! Cant explain it! Its amazing though! Clarity is a wonderful thing!!! God bless all

      1. Corinne says:

        speaking for myself and having lived with an alcoholic for 20 yrs,, he was the family drama, I got sick of listening to its a disease,, if you have a disease do something about it,, for those of you that are trying I say hats off to you,, and keep going strong. but walk in the shoes of the non alcoholic as well its a long hard road being in a relationship and having the responsibility of two adults, its hard enough worrying about everyday life, without worrying your spouse will end up dead, or killing someone by drinking and driving or killing your kids. for me i patted him on the back daily and it became a full time exhausting job, and in return I was threatened to be shot,, he threatened to break my sons legs while he slept , called names , smacked around, so i am sorry if i have no sympathy for him, it ran out . as far as visitation until they get help for the addiction i think thats in the best interest of the kids, bc if a person doesnt want help,, then they have no right to put their kids through that hell. my ex is living with a woman under house arrest, he has no license bc of a DUI, yet continues to drive, on my sons last visit he drove him around with no license, has gone to the bars when he had my sons and made them sit in the vehicle while he drank,, they would hide in the back of the vehicle so no one would take them, it makes me sick the things they have been through, and sick at myself for putting him first and staying thinking he would finally get help. all i wish for him or any other alcoholic with kids, is to get help, bc the kids deserve decent parents. so if your one of the few that is getting help then dont give up,, if you dont want to change leave the kids to have a better life..

      2. Enabler. Anyone that rewards alcoholic behavior is an enabler and Co dependent. My alcoholic ex drugs our child to sleep, leaves her to go drink and he only gets her two weekends a month! But his girlfriend awards him with hugs and kisses and can care less he is killing himself she too had lost custody of her children. Now I am forced to take overnights away, and he blames me for the drugging because I set the visitation. Whatever! Sad to say but I hope he goes to prison, and stays out of our lives forever!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Ugh! I feel your all’s pain. Dealing with alcoholism is HORRIBLE!!! Roller coaster ride — Get me off please!!!! I am about to embark on divorce and am dreading the possibilities of things resting with a judge — and then all of the things that i just see happening over and over again. I like this article and agree whole-heartedly!!! I wish you were my future judge! I am exhausted. Alcoholism is EXHAUSTING!!!! And boy are they slick — SCARY!!!!

    1. Amanda Scott says:

      I wish I knew what to do, my ex husband drinks excessively and sometimes is too drunk to pick up our son for his weekend, he now only sees our son 4 days a month bc his fiancée doesn’t want him there and gives him hell everytime its his weekend.

  6. John says:

    This video will really help you stop drinking.

  7. Corinne says:

    this lawyer has a big thumbs up from me,,, after 20 yrs of marriage and an alcoholic husband ,, he finally left , just went to work one day and didnt come back,,, never told anyone,,, after talking with my lawyer he insisted i let him take kids, 12 and 16,, i had to force him and in 9 months hes had them only randomly,, he drinks every time,, offers the older one beer,, makes him drive him while he is intoxicated,, has had the younger one at the bar and he hid in the back of the vehicle so ppl wouldnt see him and take him :( he refuses to pay child support ,, suddenly out of the blue he decides he wants visitation every other week end,, even though kids dont want to go and he continues to drink and do drugs,, lawyer tells me last week that he is out of control,, after he showed up in court intoxicated,, did they have him arrested because he has a dui already nope they told me if i dont agree with everything he wants i will get nothing. well i finally stood up and said no,, i have told the lawyer repeatedly that he abused them both physically and mentally does it make a difference no it doesnt.. he threatened to break the older ones legs so he coudlnt get away while he finished beating him… i am tired of hearing alcoholism is a disease because it just becomes an excuse,,, if you want your kids you will do anything include getting yourself help. there is nothing that would make me happier than for my sons to have a father they deserve.. but God help me i cannot send them some place i know that the two adults there are both alcoholics and drink and drive.. as well as physical abuse…. seems most court systems just don’t care they just want the easiest way out,,, but I am not sure they realize it only takes one mistake for them to kill the kids… any judge who decides they should go with an unfit parent should first have to send their own kids with them for a week end visit…. laws would change quick i think… we need more lawyers like this one….there is a huge lifelong impact on the kids…and it goes on and on….

  8. Jill says:

    I will never understand why people feel justified in blaming their alcoholism on a bad/abusive/difficult/unstable childhood, and then refuse to see what they are putting THEIR OWN children through RIGHT NOW.

  9. Jeff says:

    In my case, I am the guardian of 4 children and both parents are alcoholics. The case has been in the courts for over 2-1/2 years. The children have lived with me (like family placement) for over half of that time.

    The judge continues to give chance after chance after chance never holding either parent accountable. Abstinence is not sobriety. Somehow the court believes that 3 months abstinent = sobriety. And forced sobriety doesn’t last. So when they place the kids back with the mom (dad is even worse), she relapses within weeks resulting in another removal of the children. It’s infuriating to see the children hurt so many times. It is emotional abuse by the parents perpetuated by the court. Laws need to be changed.

    If arbitrary lengths of abstinence is a poor predictor of long term sobriety (and ability to keep the children safe), the what suggestions would you have in addition (how to tell if the behavioral aspects have changed?)

  10. Colleen says:

    My soon to be ex-husband is an admitted alcoholic and drug abuser on the stand during the custody trial. He was court ordered for substance abuse evaluation which recommended treatment. In the trial he stated he completed treatment and at trial was 90 days sober (despite a photo I had of him at a party with a beer (2 weeks prior to trial) He just stated he didn’t know when that picture was from and it was a soda). I had not direct evidence of alcohol consumption past his “sobriety” date so the judge deemed his alcoholism was in the past and awarded 50/50 custody. The judge just stated he cannot drink while he has our child. I would think 90 days stated sobriety with no proof of completion of his program and no AA sponsor would not have been enough. Perhaps this judge just decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and now it’s my job to try to prove he is drinking. (no recommendations for future testing either).
    What do I do? Do I appeal? or do I have to wait for something to bad to happen, such as a DUI, accident, arrest, or worse?

  11. Sarah says:

    I agree with you Jen: ” I will never understand why people feel justified in blaming their alcoholism on a bad/abusive/difficult/unstable childhood, and then refuse to see what they are putting THEIR OWN children through RIGHT NOW.” I have an ex-husband I was married to for almost 9 years, who was and is an alcoholic and addict. After our divorce about 5 yrs ago, he’s only continued in his choice to drink and drug, and as a result is now jobless, homeless, and collects disability payments for “hearing voices”, the money he blows on getting himself and his companions high/drunk. Then he’s broke the last half of the month and the cycle continues. He’s in and out of jail. Yet he still demands visitation with our 8 year old, which he is not legally allowed but I had sometimes allowed at my discretion in the past. When I do turn down his visitation/ suggestion at a locale (like once he wanted her a hotel he was staying at which he admitted was basically a spot for addicts and prostitution), he gets angry at me for being judgmental, “turning his daughter against him”, and making him “feel like he has a lifetime jail sentence” because he can’t see his daughter whenever, wherever, however he wants. Despite the fact he voluntarily visited with her just once in the past 8 months, and goes through bouts of not calling for a month, then repeated demanding phone calls for three days straight, then nothing etc.
    What it boils down to for me is, YES of course I feel empathy for him as a human being. YES of course I hope for his sake and our child’s he one day chooses to get help. But is it my responsibility to continue being soft on him, enabling him, or even being his cheerleader like I was in the past? Simply put NO. it’s not. MY ONLY JOB at this point – as regards him – is to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of our child. If that means I have to bar him so be it. If he cries and hates me and says I’m a monster, so be it. Yes, it’s hard sometimes, honestly, I’m a soft caring woman given to compassion… but I remind myself that if I place him on one hand, and my CHILD on the other… well, there’s really no argument at all!! My child is always first. And if HE makes the CHOICE to continue drugging and drinking, that is HIS choice, responsbility and loss. Not mine to shoulder.
    I am also all for encouraging recovery. However, harsh is it may sound (sorry) I would not consider my ex being sober a month, let alone a week, as the basis for trusting him with our child again. Recovery would need to be shown on a long term basis with credible evidence, before I would feel differently.

  12. Tia says:

    I am going through the court system right now with my ex due to his alcohol addiction. He is a binge drinker. I have documentation going back 2-3 years showing a history while he has obtained the rest against himself by getting a 3rd OUI and still choosing to drink around our 12 year old son.
    It is very hard to get visitation to your discretion. Now that we are going back to court, he is in counseling for his addiction, he is now wanting to participate in our sons life. He is now willing to agree to have it ordered that he may not drink while he has our son in his care. However, he had agreed to this once in 2012 with Child Protective Services and went ahead and broke that contract and drank while he had our son anyway. I am not denying him the right to see our son, but would like to protect my son when needed without being held in contempt for having to deny him the right to maintain contact while he has or is drinking. He has relapsed so many times in the past I cannot trust him. I have no money, no attorney and and am so afraid that the court system may make the wrong choice and my son will get hurt in the process as he already has physically and emotionally. He has been left at parties, where I have had to go pick him up at 2am, he has been sexually abused, he has been burnt with lighters, left out of the picture and abandoned. I could go on forever, and all of this wasn’t all while he was intoxicated, it was due to being also hungover and being incompetent in making the appropriate decisions in regards to our son. I hope it gets better soon, and I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one out there.

  13. Kay says:

    My ex is an alcoholic. He passed out a lot with our son in his care. He has drank and drove with him, but my attorney didn’t do a thing about it. He has had a couple DUI’s, but I know he has driven drunk other times. He recently yelled at our son and told him he hoped he doesn’t “end up an alcoholic like him because it’s genetic”. I am tired of the emotional abuse and everything else he has put my son through. He only pays child support because the court garnished his wages, and he never helps pay for our son’s medical care, which he is required to do. And last year our son was very sick (developed a chronic illness), and he only visited him for 15 minutes. He has spent less than 3 hours with him total in the past 18 months. Yet he always says he loves our son more than anything and will do anything for him and would even die for him. Yet you can’t get him to do a decent thing for the kid. I wish we could have his rights terminated.

  14. Jamie says:

    My soon to be ex is an alcoholic . My attorney says that in order to have some control over his drinking around the child, the parental agreement must state that neither parent can drink alcohol nor can they have the child around others who consume alcohol. My issue is that I first of all am not an alcoholic and do not feel like I should have anyone dictate that to me. I also feel like my son who is 11 should be allowed to experience healthy drinking,ie. a glass of wine etc. this also makes it impossible for me to take my son around anyone including family if they are drinking or out to a restraint where there is drinking or even to shoot pool and throw darts, which is a favorite thing to do during the day at the local pub.
    I have always “protected” our children, always done the “right”thing and have no plans to stop now.
    I have witnessed first hand the affects of my alcoholic husband and the lack of our older children being taught or witnessing acceptable alcohol consumption. They hate alcohol, and it affects their relationships and their lifestyles, in very positive, but also very negative ways. I just don’t know how to have this worded to best protect my son, without my husband, who is still in denial after 20 years, trying to control what I do.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  15. Overit! says:

    My ex or “Y” is a functional closet alcoholic and tried to do the same thing in our parenting agreement. I argued the fact and won. It states that he is not supposed to have alcohol in his home or drink when she is visiting. The only way that I was even able to get that in was in our temporary custody document the judge stated it as well as requiring him to attend AA twice a week. None of it is enforceable – as he is a closet alcoholic who continues to actively drink when she is not in his custody and calls my home slurring. Ask him to submit to wearing an alcohol monitoring device or submit to weekly urine testing. After forcing those issues in context, it would make it easier for him to agree that this limitation should not be placed on you in the parenting agreement. So if you stand your ground, it can be done.

  16. Overit! says:

    BTW – The only way that I was even able to convince the judge that he was an alcoholic was past legal issues that I found prior to us meeting as well as coming home early from vacation without him and taking photos of the amount of beer cans in the trash! I can’t believe what I have had to go through because he had perfected the art of hiding for the past twenty years, and still does. He is her soccer coach and arranges playdates. He is in career sales and has mastered the art of perception. He is frightening!!!

  17. Seriously? says:

    So…I was an incredible father and husband and one day my now ex decided to leave because she was not happy. She is a life long bulimic, tried to abort my child (who is now in her custody), and I turned to drinking because I could not handle the sh*t in my life. I never drank like I have over the past three years, but I have been through the supposed court system, watched my kids go through hell and have experienced what so many good men have in experiencing disloyalty and backstabbing to a degree that most would never understand. What do you do when the one thing you and your brothers (not sisters) have fought and died for, a family, is gone? Women in this country get what they deserve. They deserve to be treated like the pieces of sh*t they have become.
    Centuries of men have fought and died for their freedom, which has now become a call for “I’m not happy”. Oh, I’m so sorry you are not happy. The rest of us (the intact family) are, but you need more. Well go eff yourself.
    To the men out there that date these pieces of sh*t, grow a backbone. To the women that torture the men who have been loyal to you and the family they have provided you. Rot in hell.

  18. Saddened says:

    Dear Seriously,
    In gratitude, your wife decided not to terminate her pregnancy and bless you with a child. What a wonderful gift. My dear brother, if your sentiment is as such regarding women it is quite obvious why things may have turned out for you as they have.

    When you decide to focus on you, get healthy, decide to be sober, and move forward courageously with your life, things will change for you in a positive way. That can begin for you by apologizing to the women on this blog whom do not deserve disrespect. Good luck to you!

  19. improudmama says:

    I’ve been asking myself this same thing.

    My husband and I separated 5/2014 because of his abuse of hard liquor over the past year (broken ribs, fired 2/3 jobs, lies to my face, lies about me to others, assault, verbally abusive towards my daughter, etc.). The last draw was when he was found unresponsive sitting in my van in the middle of the street across the street from our home. His BAC was .5 (yes, you read that correct: .5) and the responding officer will not charge him with a DUI.

    I was as reasonable as I could be with visitation and yet, it wasn’t good enough for him. I had to limit weekends, than eventually had to take them away. Same thing with calling and allowing him to talk to my daughter. I had to start meeting him in public due to him threatening me so in order for him to continuing seeing my daughter, I decided against a PFA but took the police officers other advise and met my husband in public. We did that a few times until he started being a no-show. He started accusing me of things that weren’t true, than started playing head games with my daughter, who is 4.

    So, right now there is no more communication and visitation. I had to draw the line somewhere.

    I often wonder, if I’m doing the right thing.

    1. catherine says:

      Yes, yes, yes, you are doing the right thing! Children deserve to have a childhood. Sometimes that means making hard choices, unpopular choices, and sticking to them! If you are the sober parent, you cannot allow the manipulation to continue. Children of alcoholic parents suffer many debilitating, life-altering, effects from the chaos that surrounds them. Those effects must be minimized, the child must be protected, and the mental health of the child must come before our own fears, needs or desires. Its not fair to let an alcoholic change who your child could have become, and fill them with anxiety, trust issues, and on and on. Yes! Bravo!! I am sorry that you have had to endure this, as have I. But the children must come first, and we must dutifully protect them from the monster under the bed. Or else we risk resentment from them, for not having done so. If we allow toxic people into our children’s lives, we are setting them up to a lifetime of the same. Good for you! Stay strong!

    2. David Alexander says:

      No. You are not doing the right thing by not allowing him AT THE VERY LEAST HIS GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO AT LEAST SPEAK ON THE PHONE TO HIS CHILD. Maybe he is a threat to the child physically or verbally abusive. I don’t know if that’s true or not. But accusing him of “headgames” with his little child sounds REAL FAR – FETCHED. It really makes me wonder about the credibility of your claims. Of course the man is angry. You deny him his right to his child. It will only make him angrier, more hopeless, humiliated, frustrated and LONELY the more you use his child to PUNISH him for his shortcomings as a father. I can always tell with you women who alienate men’s children from them . . . it’s always the key statement. He is not physically abusive to your daughter, only VERBALLY. Verbal abuse is always subject to a WIDE variety of interpretations. He has never threatened the CHILD in any way. Only threatened you. He was found drunk in his van. OK. That’s not good I guess. But was he with the CHILD? Doesn’t sound like he is NEARLY as dangerous to his child as you are making it sound. Sounds alot like an ALIENATING MOTHER to me. Alcoholic father or not.

  20. Michelle says:

    It is very sad seeing all these women on here but let me tell you my husbands alcoholic ex-wife has the kids and you think you have nightmares try seeing your children awarded to someone that is the problem. And having no-one listen to you because you have a penis. Be thankful your female because unfortunately it is a twist in your favor.

  21. Barry says:

    My question is about a possible safe custody schedule. My soon to be ex is trying to work out a custody schedule to attempt to finalize the divorce. The main reason is because she is backed into a corner. The judge ordered an ankle braclet and for her to attend AA 5 x per week if she wanted any custody. Even at that point it wil only be 4 hours per month supervised. Her pride will not allow the ankle bracelet. The ball is completely in my court and I do want to end this, but as long as it is done in a safe way. Currently if she doesn’t wear the bracelet or go to meetings she gets zero access. I realized quite a while ago I can not and do not want to control her alcohol. It is exhausting and not my job. However, my job is to keep my child safe. With that being said she basically has to agree with anything I want or go with the court order. It sounds so simple that I have all of the control, but it is far from simple. I want my daughter to see her mom, but no overnight visits and nothing longer than a few hours per week or eow. I Gould have her blow for me before and after scheduled time, but then I become the monitor. Any advice on a schedule that would work or just say screw it do what the judge said?

  22. Angela says:

    this is all so disheartening. my husband was an admitted alcoholic and marijuianna and cocaine user before I met him. he told me he had been 3yrs clean and sober and now wanted to be a husband and father. I’m so stupid I believed him. I made him take drug tests while we were dating just to make sure. but a year after we were married he had started having a beer or two at night then became 3, 4 a six pack then he started abusing robitussin. by then we had a baby and he got worse and wose til I would find empty bottles of robistussin everywhere and all he did is sleep if he wasn’t at work. He has driven drunk with the kids he has passed out drunk while he was suppose to be watching them and he has gotten into drunken bar fights. I finally left and took the kids and he lives with his mother who admittedly allows him to drink in her home cause she says everybody drinks and there isn’t anything wrong with it. they have made the kids a bed at her house and keep saying they are going to get overnight visitation. I said not til he has long term proof of sobriety. he is trying to hide it but he isn’t good at it thank god. so I have loads of proof from pictures to receipts and video and a very long documented journal. He and his parents are rich though and well known in the community they like to boste about how they have judges in their pocket. I’m afraid of what will happen if it does go to court me without a lawyer. even with all my proof..

  23. Claudia says:

    Unfortunately, your story is almost identical than mine. I’m sorry to hear about that. My advice is to stay calm and put together. My ex had expensive attorneys and they tried to disqualify me based on income and saying I was overreacting. But, after years I was able to prove I was saying the truth. Now the sad part is judges don’t care for the welfare of children. Even knowing that he is an alcoholic they didn’t stop visitations. Sad. But, they are to blame if something happens to innocent children. Arizona is a very corrupt state. I hope you are in a better place. Good luck.

  24. Judith says:

    Its really hard hearing all these stories bc I’m also going through the same issues. My ex(never married) and I have a 2 year old daughter who seems to be the innocent victim. I gave my ex the choice to stop drinking or move out. So he left and still continues to drink even with the stipulation in our temporary order that he can’t drink 12 hours before he gets our daughter and no alcohol around her at all. Well needless to say he hired a great lawyer who tries to say I’m crazy and my ex would never do that. We are going to trial next month bc I fear for our daughters safety when she’s with my ex(50/50 temp order). My ex has been violated numerous times but nothing happens. He didnt even answer his door for his holiday(Thanksgiving) bc he was still passed out from a night of drinking. He didnt show up to emergency room numerous times when our daughter was sick instead he stayed out drinking. I scares the heck out of me bc his friends seem to encourage his bad behavior bc they go there partying when our daughter is there(which is a huge violation) I’ve tried contacting my daughters law guardian and so has my lawyer but they refuse to call or acknowledge any of it.It kills me bc our daughter cries everytime she has to go to her dads. The worse part is my ex should have received numerous DWIs but his friends are cops and let him go. What will it take for him and the cops to realize he has serious drinking issues? What happens if he gets in a car accident and kills an innocent person? I wish the court took a more serious role with parents who have drinking issues especially after numerous violations being issued. No parent should have to monitor the other parents drinking or worry everytime their child is with the other parent.

  25. It's been 7 years, 20k, I "won" says:

    The best you can hope for, aside from sobriety, is that they self destruct and the periods of no contact get longer & longer as the relationship fades. No one will listen to you, no one will help you, you can’t rely on anyone. Sadly, you are still as on guard as you always were. We are an asshole of a society. Accept that. You have to. Accept it, forget it, move on. Hide your emotions, appear always outwardly strong and put together lest it will be used against you. Bite your tongue off for your children’s sake when they are young, they will outgrow an alcoholic parent quicker than you think. They won’t trust you either when this happens if you haven’t. Document, document, document…facts only, no commentary or interpretation. Social services won’t get involved, they’ve no resources to spare anywhere, our problems are trivial to them. Accept that. Child support will stop, be manipulated, don’t count on it. Accept that. Lawyers and family courts exist for fees, careers and LR articles, you are but a cog in the machine. Democracy does not degrade in a vacuum. Accept that, know what it means. These things suck balls, but so has life so far. The end goal is that it won’t have to for these kiddos, it appears as though, and in my experience fighting, reflecting & “winning”, the only real solution here is simply to wait them out. And pray. If that’s your thing. Best of luck to you all.

    1. 3 yrs and jaded says:

      “It’s been 7 years,” I agree with your post. Yesterday my ex got 50/50 custody of our 3.5 year old child, regardless of his 23 yrs of drug & alcohol addiction, drug trafficking, suicide attempt, and domestic violence with police report and restraining orders. None of it matters. Judges don’t care. Courts don’t care. It’s a job, they want to get their afternoon schedule done & go home. If you haven’t murdered anyone in the past 12 months, you’ll get custody. Meth addict? Hmmm… you promise you won’t do it anymore? Ok, here’s a child to raise and mentor and be a role model for. Drug trafficker, you say? Well, since you asked nicely, here’s a young, impressionable child for you, too. Everyone gets a child to raise, yay!! It’s all so FAIR! What was that you said…? Best interests of the child?? Oh yes, we always take the best interests of the child to heart. You think that’s lip service? How dare you question the Court’s decision-making process!? We are omnipotent, super smart, and anyhow, little Jimmy will learn to love the smell of alcohol seeping through daddy’s skin as he yells at Jimmy to go to his room. Court dismissed.

      1. Why were you having sex with a man who apparently had been an alcoholic, violent, suicidal, criminal, drug abuser for the previous 18 1/2 years? Once you got pregnant why would you bear this man’s child?

        I warn my two daughters to be very careful who they let impregnate them as they will be raising the child with that man for at least 18 years. The family courts are very ill equipped to protect women from their foolish choices in fathers to their children.

        1. Liz says:

          Well, Mr. Forman, maybe some of the women here didn’t have a great father figure in their lives to show them how they should be treated by a man, as I’m sure you do with your daughters. Lucky for them.. I’m also sure that many of the people here did not come to your website to be berated by you, and made to feel like idiots. We came to seek advice and support from you and each other. I’m sure you yourself are not a perfect human, and have made mistakes in the past. Would you like to be judged by those past transgressions? Probably not. Do I have some regrets about getting involved with my son’s father. Yes, I do. However, going through all of the hurt and pain that he has put us through had made me a much stronger person, and a better mother. Being with him also gave me my incredible son, and for that, I would go through it all again.

        2. It's been 7 years, 20k, I "won" says:

          Are you an alcoholic Mr. Forman, or has this been converted to spam?

          1. Liz posted one comment twice and then posted a one word correction to her comment. I edited her comment to make the correction and then deleted the two extraneous comments.

            I won’t dignify the remainder of your comment.

          2. It's been 7 years, 20k, I "won" says:

            It kept freezing up, thus the spam comment. Well, that in addition to the shock that the answer was actually from you. I seriously thought maybe you got hacked. I was hoping you had. Yet, I feel no dissapointment. It also did not seem the most prudent expression which was in surprising contrast to what I thought was such wisdom in the original post.

          3. I commented because some of the complaint-comments on this blog do not ring true and that woman’s comment didn’t. There’s a story behind her baby daddy getting 50/50 custody but we weren’t getting it. Further, part of the “choice” women have is choosing whose children they will bear. If some women exercise that choice unwisely the law is not designed to bail them out from the consequences.

        3. Really.. says:

          I am a woman scorned too…but come on- wake up. If you decided to have a child with someone who had 20 years of negative behavior… You can’t use that behavior against him! I’m sorry but you KNEW. That’s ridiculous. And has nothing to do with a father figure. Sure, I agree that bad choices can be made. But I also feel that is a seperate issue that isn’t relevant to getting bent out of shape because you chose someone with a KNOWN sketchy past and chose to procreate. Now what? Sure you can complain about him… But the choice was yours. So essentially YOU put your child at risk as well. Now it’s your responsibility to protect him/her/them of course- and it sucks that they have a messed up father… but you chose the person.

      2. Ernie says:

        Here’s the deal. I’m going through a nasty divorce now made a bad mistake with alcohol almost 4 years ago a small push to my mom with kids present under the influence Went through 8 months of treatment. And to say 2020 I do enjoy a beer or 2 and have my life put together until my wife simply drug up a case which was dismissed. I was never convicted. But evidently the court puts those recovery agencies in charge who’s sole purpose is to profit from anyone no matter what. So apparently I should keep paying society for what I did nearly 4 years ago and worst of all what I did in my college years that is a big factor. But like I said my soon to be former wife sold the judge a false box of goods. So niw I’m getting no visitation rights and jyst shelled out $425 and have to go to treatment 3 days a week 3 hours each session. And my UA was clean. So how is this right.

  26. Kim says:

    It is very scary how common this issue has become. I am going through a divorce now and I am seeing “what is in the best interest for the children” is certainly not in the best interest of the children. My husband drove home drunk from his friends house with my 3 year old in the car with him. He was found guilty of driving drunk with my son and child neglect by social services and the navy but had no consequences. He is entitled to equal time sharing as my lawyer stated “how bad can he be, he is an officer in the navy?” Are you kidding me? I was told to let go of trying to fight for the safety of my children.

  27. Jon says:

    Parents are parents…
    I see crazy comments here that if someone drinks alcohol they should not have visitations – this is plain crazy.

    Nothing beats the love for your child, and law should not come in between parents and kids. Mostly vicious mothers and sometimes even vicious fathers create a situation based on their own thinking that kid does not need one of the parents because of whatever fault he/she has. But kid needs both…and for courts to decide that one is unfit even for visitation is just outright cruel.

    Family law system is one big money making machine for lawyers who have only enriched their own lives while screwing up families.

    1. improudmama says:

      No its not crazy. We as parents are trying to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

      In my case my soon to be ex husband, assaulted me in front of my daughter when he was drunk, my daughter was part of his drunken fits as well, she witnessed him pass out many times, he drank and drove with her without me knowing, she seen him taken away by ambulance because he was so drunk, she witnessed him sitting in a vehicle across from our home unresponsive, and after he moved out, she witnessed him go through alcohol withdrawal during visitation in a public place, because he’s threatened me, and she watched as he was taken away by ambulance again. He talks about dying in front of her. He wad 302d after he went through alcohol withdrawal because he was very drunk and threatened suicide, one of many times he did over a 1 1\2 year period. Outpatient, inpatient didn’t help.

      So no, its not crazy and yes, the courts need to take the welfare and safety of a child into consideration when determining visitation. Children deserve better, and its not healthy to be around someone who is an alcoholic. I’ve been the fair one, even meeting him in public after he threatened to put a bullet in my head, and yet I get walked all over.

      My soon to be ex husband may love my daughter but he loves his booze more.

    2. Kay says:

      Jon, when one is so drunk they cannot care for their child, do you find that acceptable? Do you find it acceptable when they pass out during their parenting time (literally falling in the floor and not waking up) and unable to care for the child? Do you find it acceptable for a parent to be staggering drunk at events and school lunches? Do you find it acceptable for a parent to drink and drive with a child, despite the fact that it is illegal? Do you find it acceptable for a parent to consistently yell at the child or threaten and intimidate him into “wanting” to spend more time with them and less with the other parent? That is only the tip of the iceberg.

      I did everything possible to make sure my child had his father in his life. I supported and encouraged my ex throughout his many rehab visits. When his alcoholism got worse, I put in as many safeguards as possible to protect my child including making sure there was always a competent adult who would be there for the duration of the required visitation and driving our son to and from all required visitation and events. But there came a time when I had to do even more to ensure my child’s safety because it was having a negative effect on our child. Do you really fault me for protecting my child from abuse and neglect?

      After all this time, my son wants nothing to do with his father. That was a decision he made 100% on his own through his own experiences. No matter how much I tried to tell my son his father loved him, it didn’t matter. Actions speak louder than words. I know people like you think it isn’t possible for a child/teen to come to his/her own conclusions, but when you make umbrella statements such as you did, I know it’s from a lack of understanding and compassion, and is based in nothing but bias and bitterness. However, it makes me angry that people like you continue to spread nonsense through ridiculous exaggeration. Honestly, try to open your mind and learn. Everyone takes the attitude that it is always the women against the men when it all comes down to making sure the children are safe and cared for. There are many bad moms and many bad dads. If we would quit looking at the gender of the parent and start looking at each individual’s ability to parent safely, all of our children will be better off.

  28. Jake says:

    I won’t get into too many details, as everyone has a story. I finally got full custody of my 9 year old from my alcoholic ex wife. I gave her so many chances, so many informal agreements, and she gave me so many broken promises to get better. I had to put an end to it.

    I was married to her for 14 years, and I must say it is sad to see the demise of a person. its been 4 years since separation and the Alcohol abuse just got steadily worse.

    When she is sober she is a good parent. When she starts drinking she just passes out. She doesn’t drink all the time.

    The biggest problem for the custody parent is having any idea of the state of the Alcoholics condition/recovery. I am blind to whether she is having a wonderfully sober week/month or a terrible week/month. Everything is always a roller coaster.

    What has worked for me is having short visits, 4 hours maximum, and that she is required to have a breathalyzer in the car (court ordered). She has to pick up and drop off my son. This takes all the policing off of me (and my son), which was terribly stressful, but at the same time keeps things well policed. She has the dignity of not having to have supervised visits, and I have the peace of mind that she is not drinking.

    It likely won’t work for everyone, but my son has had the best 6 months, and I feel she has still had good access. Early on she missed visits, because she couldn’t get her car started, but she has never started drinking in the 4 hour window that she had my son. Using the car breathalyzer has been a perfect way to police the situation. I have tolerance when she can’t pick him up, because it means the system is working, It sucks for my son, but sadly that is his life with his mom. I will have no tolerance if she drinks in the 4 hour window he is with her.

    She has managed not to screw it up. Its not for everyone, but for the alcoholic that is trying, but slipping it offers protection. Ideally it is something that maybe they can handle. I feel bad for the alcoholic that is trying, but I also know the torment of the custody parent.

    1. Jen says:


      I am 3 weeks in to an ex-husband that must blow into a breathlyzer prior to picking up. However, 2 out of the last 3 times as he has picked up, my alcoholic ex has not breathalyzed. When he is picking up from school or even from me with the kids glued to his hip, I am unable to privately manage the situation. He currently has them every other weekend and one night per week for an overnight (this is new) during the school week. Any recommendations on standard action to be taken when he fails to blow? We only have the breathlyzer for 3 months to monitor him. We are in parenting coordination as well.

    2. Chris says:

      This is my EXACT situation with my ex-wife. I’ve done everything in my power to help her battle her alcoholism, including staying by her side through detox, after-care programs, etc. As bad as I feel for her – fighting such a tough battle – not many people can relate to how hard it is on the non-alcoholic parent to not know what goes on while their child is away from them with the alcoholic parent. I’m lucky enough to have a civil situation between us, so I can monitor her daily (phone, brief visits, etc.) but it’s beyond frustrating and stressful to never know what tomorrow holds for my child and her mom…the blatant denial is, without question, the hardest part to deal with…in my opinion…I’m in the very early stages of ‘taking over’ my daughter’s safety, so I have no idea how things will end up. I want my daughter to have a solid, respectful relationship with her mom; but I cannot allow her life to be as turbulent and dangerous as it has been the last couple years…what I may need to do, legally, will certainly drive a wedge between my ex and myself, but hopefully, my daughter will know her mom is a good person with a terrible problem…

  29. Vera says:

    I read these horror stories about visitation with an alcoholic parent And that is why I stay in my abusive marriage. My husband is a functioning alcoholic. He drinks 50 to 60 beers a week. And is abusive towards me and mostly my oldest son who’s 5. My 3 year old gets some of it, and of course he leaves the 1year alone. He is about as uninvolved in their lives as you can get. You would think they were his step kids the way he treats them. Anyway, I justify staying because he’s an excellent provider financially and he’s not home often. He might be home while the kids are awake like 3 hours a day, and then the weekends he’s around. he drinks and drives all the time. Somehow he always makes it home without getting a dui. ok so why do I stay and keep my kids in this situation? If I left he wouldn’t pay the child support or he would quit his job to take a less paying job and he would always pay late. These are things he’s told me, plus i know it would be true bc I know how he is. But i also stay bc when he gets into it with the kids I’m there to intervene. I’ve been to see a lawyer and was told no matter how much documentation I have its my word against his and he will get 50/50 shared custody. And he would be driving drunk with them and screaming at them or being abusive and I wouldn’t be there to intervene. So i stay since staying he actually has less contact with them than if he would get them all to himself every other weekend. on the weekends now , even when he’s around he’s drunk and mean but I can keep the kids busy in other rooms while he sits in the living room on the couch. Even though he’s home the kids are always with me and he doesn’t really interact with them, if he had them by himself every other weekend he would be drunk and mean the whole time because ib wouldn’t be there to keep the kids away from him, having visitation he would HAVE to be b involved at least for the weekend and although I would love for him to finally have meaningful contact with them, it wouldn’t be that way because they get on his nerves and he is always screaming and cussing and threatening harm to them now, and that’s with the limited contact he has now while living in the same house. So I’ll stay bc I can protect them better. There have been so many times he’s been drunk and wanted to take one of the kids with him to a friend’s cookout or event and I thank god I’m there to say you are drunk no way. If we were divorced, I wouldn’t be there to know how drunk he is and where he’s driving my kids to or how irritable he is once he’s got to beer number 5 and abusive to the kids if they get on his nerves. So I live in a hell. I’m protecting their lives physically by staying but at the expense of hurting them emotionally and sometimes physically. But at least they are not dead from him driving drunk or seriously hurting them physically if I’m not around. Like someone else said, I’m thinking that as they get older they will continue to loathe him and if i left then, then they would be able to make up their own minds if they want to see him or not, right now they are too little to have a say and have to go with him, drunk and mean, whether they are scared or not, because that’s what the courts will say has to be done. And yes he’s a mean drunk and the kids get on his nerves so bad but he would never miss a visit bc he knows that taking the kids away every other weekend bothers me and he is a spiteful cold mean drunk man.

  30. Ruth says:

    What about when both parents drink, socially or to excess, physically and emotionally abusive ec-husband formerly admitted in writing he knew he had a problem and would seek treatment but didn’t, owns restaurant and wine/liquor store so drinks professionally and socially, he won sole custody, social investigation was incredibly biased against me because she was/is hired by and mostly paid by him…and he and his new wife publicly drink around our children however they have NEVER been urine tested, hair strand tested or even breathalized like I have SEVERAL times?? And they have the kids full time so I know that they drink and drive with the kids in the car. WTH???

  31. It's been 7 years, 20k, I "won" says:


  32. Find a Rehab says:

    Hello, after reading this awesome article i am also glad to share my experience
    here with friends.

  33. Small town says:

    I live in a small town and about to go to court. I will be asking the court to have relapsed alcoholic father to do random alcohol test while he has our son. I hear te judge always make random drug alcohol test mutual. Even though I have never had a history of a problem is it normal for te judge to make me not ever drink??

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  36. Doesnt_make_sense says:

    I was in an abusive relationship with an alcoholic. It became so bad, CPS removed our children. I finished my required classes/services, he on the other hand did not. My son was returned to my custody after 18 months. A couple years later the father takes me to court and even though the father never finished his rehab services, had two DUIs, suspended drivers license, and a possible hit and run, the judge still granted him visitations every other weekend, and overnight on Wednesdays. My son is always late to school on Thursdays and his father blames it on traffic.
    What I don’t get is, during these classes that CPS/county offered, they teach you the characteristics and behavior of an abuser and how alcoholism can affect children, but yet they don’t practice what they preach and allow these children to continue to be exposed to alcoholism. So how was I reprimanded for being around an abusive alcoholic by having my children taken away, but it’s okay for them to place my son with the same exact person they have taught me to not be involved with?? An abusive alcoholic will treat ANYONE with disrespect, so it’s still exposing my son to drinking and violence. Seems pretty contradictory to me.

  37. Chandrah Garner says:

    I need help! My ex husband got drunk and ran off the road with my children. I found out when they came home the next day and my eleven year old broke down crying telling me how his father had drank all day, even when they were driving. He has never spoke out against his father and I thought he wasn’t drinking when the kids were around, I was wrong. The only lawyer that has called me back said he could help but only if I could give him 2500 retainer and then 250 an hour. I am a mother of four, one with autism, an assistant manager at a gas station, and my fiance, the father of my young twins, is currently unable to work waiting on a kidney transplant. I don’t have that kind of money and unless I do something right now my ex husband will be picking them up this weekend and this time they may not be so lucky as they were 2 days ago. I am terrified and I absolutely cannot let them walk out that door with him knowing they are not safe. My goal is not to take them away from him, but I do want him to have to prove sobriety in order to have them. They love him despite everything he has done, but they are scared and I have made a promise to them to do something. My email is please help. Even just with information. I am finding dead ends everywhere I turn.

  38. JC says:

    I shared this piece with my divorce attorney and we designed our custody agreement around these tenets. Thank you for putting this bold but completely appropriate and rational proposal out there. It inspired me to do what I thought was right and best for my child even though an unusual proposal. Sadly, while my ex initially agreed to the terms he has not abided by them. He may now visit our child only under my supervision or that of someone I know and trust. Because he is busy drinking all the time, he sees child 1-2x a week. It’s tough managing expectations and emotions of a young child (age 5) but easier than managing my own and my child’s safety with a raging alcoholic living under our roof.

  39. Sean says:

    My wife and I got sober together in December. To keep it short, a mean spirited breakup occurred from April to May. She had started drinking again. I have to confirm paternity, ect. She has all the control and is wasting my sons childhood keeping us apart. We’re being nice enough. But it might take me a week to get her to answer the phone or respond to a txt. Promises to a 7 year old are broken as easily as they are made. My son and I have a wonderful relationship. She’s not so much malicious, as out of it and selfish. I miss her. The sober version. I’ve tried to promote a joint approach to the separation. That nobody wins in the court battle. That the kids always lose. Every phone call to them, she is HAMMERED. I have enough of a case built to get custody of my son quickly, but I hate the idea. She won’t ever have to go through my experience. But that’s just it. Her drinking is so out of control she will probably do it to herself. I am old, she is young. Seems unfair that she should have to give up drinking so early in life. I wish I would have had a choice like that to make at her age. She is accelerating much faster and I don’t really have much of a choice. This is now about a little boy who just wanted us to stop drinking, we promised. I don’t break promises easily. I have a lot of unspoken ones to him to like safety and accountability. It makes me sad. She grew up with no mom and an alcoholic dad. My son will likely have a similar experience, but not all alcoholics drink. We do recover… or suffer a life.

  40. Lorene says:

    I don’t know if I need to vent or advice or maybe a little bit of both. My son’s father is an alcoholic. I left him over 8 years ago because his drinking. When we went to court my attorney was able to get a no drinking before or during visits clause in the order. Fast forward to the past few months I have increasingly concerned that this clause is being violated. Friday night my son’s father called and was asking our son if he wanted to be picked up. He was slurring his words, stumbling over his words and having mood swings that night. When I first confronted him about being drunk he denied it but I went in and mentioned the symptoms that told me he was lying. Then he tells me oh but he wouldn’t have picked him up (Then why was he asking?) I actually ended up stopping the conversation because he was talking to our son as if our son had cancer and at one point told our son that he was going to go live with him. My son was already upset about his father calling me dumb before this phone call. When I checked my son’s voicemail the next day I found a voicemail from his father saying, “Answer the f***ing phone” in a hostile voice. When I was trying to talk to him about his drinking the following day he claimed he has never been drunk around him (But he was lied to me about being drunk at least on two occasions) and he has not disputed when I said I believe he has violated the court order by drinking around our son. My son has also told me that dad drinks from a “red and white can”(His father drinks budweiser). He also said he thinks he saw dad drink before they went somewhere in his dad’s truck. Lately my son has been telling me things dad says that upsets him like disparaging me, talking about when I left him and how he is still upset, and his dad’s anger and cussing while driving. He has called me the b word on the phone while he was drunk and freaking out. He has sent me text messages not too long ago that the did not make sense because it sounded like he was saying he recognized my bras on some website and then he was saying I like what you did and don’t be ashamed that I have a nice body. He then went on to confess he was bisexual and he had been molested as a kid. All of this was completely out of the blue and I felt like I was going to be sick while receiving the messages because I haven’t been with him for 8 years so how the heck would he recognize my bras. On Saturday I tried to talk to him about his drinking and tried to broach the subject of treatment. He got angry, said he was coming to pick up our son and before he hung up he said, “I am going to kill you, you f***ing c**t. I am now waiting to hear back from a mediation thing. I never wanted to have to go so far as stopping visitation but I am terrified about my son’s safety physically and emotionally. I know my son’s father loves him but when he is drinking his behavior makes me wonder if there is any substance induced mental illness. It’s hard because I understand addiction really well and I do have compassion but does compassion mean I have to risk my son? I won’t keep my son from calling his father but my son has told me he now wants me standing with him when his dad calls just in case. A kid shouldn’t have to worry like this.

  41. Mary says:

    You state that Alcoholism is a disease not a moral issue. Then you go on to say that courts/judges in your opinion should give the alcoholic a choice between alcohol and their children. Thus, implying a moral dilemma: you are completely uninformed about the disease of alcoholism. Obviously no one chooses to be an alcoholic or addict. Clearly there is a greater physical/physiological issue at hand with this disease. You should not be throwing around contradictory ideas, and “solutions” when you are not an expert in this disease. You are promoting the stigma and ignorance of the disease versus presenting a real solution like treatment, etc….you are part of the problem, not the egotistical hero that you think you are….stick to your traffic tickets and small claims court.

    1. The decision to consume alcohol when one is an alcoholic is a moral issue, especially if the drinking endangers minor children.

    2. Sherry Barber says:

      It seems to me that you are an alcoholic yourself and wanting to blame it as a Disease. How is it a Disease when it takes so much effort to get the alcohol, consume it and the after effect. Here’s the choices that are made to have alcohol.
      1. Money to buy it. From where? Wages or Credit Card or whatever means possible.
      2. Going to “store” to purchase.
      3. The driving to and from the store
      4. You’re at your destination now to use what you purchased
      5. You go thru the effort of opening the alcohol and drinking it all on your own.
      6. You do not have the ability to “drink” just that one maybe two….You have got to drink it all. If you don’t then you feel like a Quitter.
      7. Repeat 1-6 every day of your life.


  42. Sylvia says:

    So protecting the diseased takes priority over protecting children from its many harmful effects? I think you’ve missed the point here, Mary. It is possible to recognize that alcoholism is a disease while also being sensitive to and protecting the “secondhand” sufferers. I don’t think Mr. Foreman’s ego was at play when he suggested a solution to the family court dilemma. As is, we are promoting the unhealthy and endless cycle that often goes along with families of addicts. While I agree that alcoholism is a debilitating disease, there is always a choice to the alcoholic. Allowing the drinking to reach this level was, at some point, a choice. Continued consumption is a choice. Driving under the influence is a choice. Treatment is a choice. Sobriety is a choice.

    Parenting is a responsibility, so choose accordingly.

  43. Erika K says:

    Children’s safety has to come first period. I really wish that the courts would error on the safety side of kids vs the rights of the alcoholic. It is a sad world we live in where you have to wait until something detrimental happens to your children before restrictions are put into place. All a parent can do is hope and pray it is not too late. I agree if you want to spend time with your children make them a priority. That means zero tolerance for alcoholics while children are with them.
    I see it this way if you have a disease that has treatments and ways to eliminate symptoms and progression and you opt not to do the treatment then it is on you! I have struggled with this for 9 yrs plus.

  44. Jodie Blair says:

    Ok I’ve been parted from my ex & son’s father for 6 years and currently going through costody battles. I recently found a video through my son’s friends Facebook page where he was drinking premix alcohol drinks while in his Fathers care and at the time my sone was only 12 years of age.
    I need some help with wording as to how this is so wrong, we all know that it is however I’m feeling lost for words and anyone’s help would be appreciated.

  45. Ashley says:

    I have been with my spouse for 7 years. He is an alcoholic. Me and my spouse have been in domestics 18 times in 4 years. Some were physical others emotional and verbal due to him being intoxicated and for 2 years he could not find a job and I worked two jobs and started a business . Just recently we separated because I just couldn’t take it anymore. The last argument we had was in front of our children. I called the police but unfortunately CAS has been involved for a some time and they had enough of our domestics. My children were taken and I am left with the ultimate consequence of not having them. My faith in my ex spouse in getting sober ruined me and my family. It’s been 3 months and I’m fighting ever so hard to get my children out of foster care and with me. I lost my whole life and forced to live in a shelter until I get my new apartment and find another job, and being self employed and living in the shelter I can’t work at my business from here. So I am looking for work elsewhere. I get phone calls from my ex saying he’s sorry and it’s been proven that he’s been sober for 2 months. I hear his cries and pleading and don’t know what to feel. I am angry I am grieving but I don’t understand what causes his anger in the first place and why did it get out of hand like this. Why did i enable the drinking and then penalize him for it. I don’t drink, no drugs, I was angry all the time because I felt I had to do so much, he used to take care of his family, always provided, then we moved and he could not find a job, car died, bills piled up. And intimacy fades and I don’t want to be with someone who gets drunk all the time. He never hit the children, but the fighting between me and him had an impact on our children. I feel incredibly guilty. I love my children, I tried to keep our family together no matter what. Was I so wrong to do that? I feel like this is all my fault.

  46. Mary I. Johnson says:

    I couldn’t agree more than what is said in this article.

  47. Ronda Lipan says:

    Is there any laws that protect the kids against being forced to live with an alcoholic parent? I’ve been going to court and reaching out for help due to my child’s fathers drinking an the judge does nothing. He has 3 DUIs hit an runs revoked license an still drives an they do nothing. Every weekend he has her he is drunk an making scenes. She is only 11yrs old an cries non stop cuz she doesn’t want to live with him. What can I do?

  48. Tiffany Nevins says:

    Question. So my sons father and I are not together anymore. My son is nine months old. My sons father lives with his girlfriend who used to be a friend of mine. Shes had two DUIs, one of which was from popping 10 xanax bars and hitting a cop car twice on her way to pick up cocaine. She’s been on drugs since she was 16 and shes 20 now. She also has a drinking problem. She went to rehab 3 weeks ago and got back a week ago. She says shes been clean 30 days but I have no way of knowing that for sure. So I asked my sons dad to not leave my son alone with her. To give me peace of mind when he has our son. He refuses to acknowledge my concerns and says that I can’t make said request. Is there a way I can enforce this? If not is this grounds for a restraining order?

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