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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Default Visitation Modification Due to Substance Abuse of Noncustodial Parent

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: New York

    My husband and his ex wife currently share joint legal custoday, but he maintains primary physical custody of their three children. Initially she had visitation of two overnights a week plus every other weekend. That was modified multiple times over the past two years due to her substance abuse and mental health issues. Honestly, most of the time she doesn't even call or take her visitation time. Last fall she took him back to court seeking more visitation. She was ordered to take a hair follicle drug test and undergo an alcohol screening. She never did either of these things. She went to jail during this time and then failed to show up for court when she was out. The current agreement gives her no set visitation or overnights and leaves all visitation to times that are mutually agreed to. My husband and I do our best to accomodate visitation with her each week. We have not allowed them to go overnight due to our continued concerns about their safety and well being, but we do offer multiple times during each week and transport them to and from (she doesn't have a license due to a DWI and failure to pay child support). In May, she was arrested and is facing mutliple felony charges stemming from her employer for grand larceny and identity theft . Also, she and her boyfriend broke into the house formerly shared by her and my husband (which was on the market but may face foreclosure) and took EVERYTHING-- including the kitchen sink-- and sold it. Once wewere notified of these charges and actions, my husband was no longer comfortable with the kids visiting at her home (multiple police agenices have been contacting us and her regarding the investigations and we continue to be concerned about her substance abuse and behavior). We continue to provide transportation to and from visitation with them-- whether its taking them to the park, dinner, bowling, the movies, etc. so they can see her and she can see them. While she always makes threats about court and complains, she rarely takes us up on more time with them. Yesterday, we agreed to her taking them to dinner and dropped them off at a restaurant with plans to pick them up at the same location later. When we returned they weren't there. She had taken them shopping and brought them back a few minutes late. She continues to buy them things they don't need, yet is $15,000 behind in child support. We are now concerned that we don't even trust the agreed upon visitation plans we make with her. Amidst all of this, she tells the kids she is fighting for them and to have them more often and we are the evil people who won't allow it. The kids are confused, but overall understand that she has had some problems that we want to get better before they are there more. I'm concerned about her taking us back to court to argue for more visitation when the situation actually has gotten more complicated since the last time. We have even more concerns about their well being and safety than ever. I want to ensure we are doing what we need to do for them to still have a relationship with their mom and to satisfy the existing visitation agreements. Is it likely that she would be successful in getting more visitation at this time? Would the court likely order her to get the drug test and evaluation that she never took previously? Her 12 year old hasn't spoken to her in several weeks because she is aware of her issues and very upset. Do we have to force her to talk to or see her mom? We encourage her to discuss her feelings, but she isn't ready to do that with her mom yet. Any insight and advice is much appreciated. THANK YOU!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Visitation Modification Due to Substance Abuse of Noncustodial Parent

    If your husband believes that he has valid grounds to restrict parenting time or to require supervision, he can bring a motion to modify parenting time. If he's concerned about defending his actions if his ex- takes him to court, he should consider consult a lawyer and should prepare a strategy both to document his concerns with admissible evidence and to respond to any petition she might file.

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