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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    10

    Default Limiting Visitation Over a Parent's Mental Health Issues

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

    I recently posted about keeping sole custody and not allowing my 6yo son's mother to see him too much. She has mental health issues and it is starting to affect my son. She cries in front of him and has been known to throw tantrums in front of him. She's 27 and lives with her parents. She's still into the party lifestyle and is still pretty irresponsible.
    He tells me not to say her name, "Mommy" because it makes him sad. He wants to see her more but her lifestyle and living situation isn't suitable for him. Not to mention, she can't drive due to 4 DUIs. He has been so emotional over this and I don't know how to explain he can't see her as much as he'd like. He cries often about very minor things and about her. He already lost her for 8 months when she was in jail. I don't want to hurt him from keeping him from her but it's hurting him even getting to see her every other weekend. He says her house is more fun because my wife and I impose more rules than his mother. She never tells him no or disciplines him.

    I'm at a loss about what to do. I was thinking about seeing a child psychologist. Is this a good idea or is there someone else I should see? Please help. Right now I legally don't even have to let her see him but I thought I was doing a good thing.
    Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    3,167

    Default Re: Mother's Mental Health and Its Effects on Child

    Talk to the childs Dr. A child psychologist might be in order
    Does the child have any problems in school? You may also want to talk to the school counselor. Both professionals deal with things like this regularly, unfortunately.

    Which one of you is the custodial parent?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    10

    Default Re: Mother's Mental Health and Its Effects on Child

    He seems to do fine in school. He says he likes it. However, he's very fidgety and sometimes cry when we have to do homework. He's pretty hard on himself.

    She lost custody when she went to jail, she didn't show up to that court date either. I have sole physical and residential. Whatever that means in Kansas. She can take me to court to modify but hasn't. I don't think she can afford it.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2014
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    3,167

    Default Re: Mother's Mental Health and Its Effects on Child

    Take the child to a child psychologist. Mom is still.his Mom and she and the child have a right to their time together. A child psychologist can help you and him understand what he is feeling and how to cope with those feelings. But nothing you've said here is a reason to keep her and the child apart. Even when the situation is not safe for the child, the parent gets supervised visitation. You could be held in contempt of court if you interfer with their visitation if it is court ordered.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    10

    Default Re: Mental

    I have SOLE CUSTODY. There is no court order saying she gets to see him. I have been trying to be the bigger person and give her a chance.

    She lives with 4 other adults; her alcoholic mother and stepfather. Another alcoholic adult male with felony DUI. And another male... I know there is a lot of partying in that house as well as marijuana use. Her pit bull has bitten my son twice and she blamed my 6 year old for it. I filed a report and she was supposed to get him trained. Last night he came home with another injury from the dog, not a bite but I asked his mother about it... She didn't know about it. I thought that was odd because she is supposed to be watching him but I found out she went out with friends instead.

    I've only let her seem him two weekends a month and she spends it going out with friends. I know parents deserve "their" time but when she rarely sees him and has just gotten out of jail and house arrest for her felony DUIs/Refusals to blow, I don't think she has her priorities in line. It is not safe for him to be there.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2015
    Location
    California
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    Default Re: Mental

    This is my personal opinion so you can ignore it if you'd like. As a parent, a mother, someone who's worked in the MH field for over 10 years (specifically with children) I think unsupervised visits with mom need to stop ASAP. You're heart is absolutely in the right place by wanting your son to have a relationship with his mother but you're also seeing the effects of a very unhealthy situation. Yes, I also think you need to have your son under the care of a great child/family psychologist. I say "family" because this effects you as well as mom and even your current wife. This is a "family" matter and as they say, it takes a village to raise a child.

    I admire your compassion for his desire to be in his mom's life but if it's not healthy or safe then you have to kinda be the "parent" and say not right now. Mommy needs to work on herself to get better first. The courts removed her rights for a reason ... your sons best interest. It's not going to be easy and he's not going to like it but coaching, love, compassion and strength, he will come around and know that you love him and are protecting him. If mom REALLY wants to see him and you really want him to see her, I'd have a park dates or pizza dates with mom where you are there with them. If she wants to see her child, she'll make the effort no matter what.

    Good luck to you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Lake Chapala
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    3,019

    Default Re: Mental

    If you don't have visitation orders from the court (and just because you have sole custody doesn't mean you don't have visitation orders, you need to check this), then I reco you stop visitation altogether. This may make your son unhappy in the short term, but healthy in the long term (these dog bites and related injuries etc. are a real big concern). As christielyn says, if his Mom wants visitation, she will do what she has to do to get it. The ball is in her court, you don't need to do anything except tend to your child's health and safety.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    10

    Default Re: Limiting Visitation Over a Parent's Mental Health Issues

    Thank you for your responses. I have decided to cease her visitation with him. I hoped she would be getting her priorities together but that doesn't seem to be the case. It'll be tough but hopefully a psychologist can help us.

    In regards to visitation, the document I have only says that upon her incarceration, I have sole physical and residential. Nothing about visitation, but the last part states, "That upon Petitioner's release from incarceration, she may file a Motion to Modify at that time to establish a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the minor child."

    She has not filed a Motion to Modify and doesn't seem to be able to afford it either.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lake Chapala
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    3,019

    Default Re: Limiting Visitation Over a Parent's Mental Health Issues

    OK then she doesn't have visitation. Cease it (as you have said you'll do) and get your child some counselling. Good luck to you and your child.

    If she does file a motion or something, you will have to respond somehow. But for now (and again), the ball's in her court, you don't have to do anything until she does.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also, regarding ceasing visitation, I reco you don't say anything to her. Wait for her call asking why she's not seeing him (and document how long it took her to make this call + what she says), and then just say "I'm sorry, I don't think he's safe there anymore. If you can eventually figure out a way to make him safe there, please tell me about it at that time. Thanks and good-bye." Don't get into it with her.

    - - - Updated - - -

    And make darn sure the psychologist/counsellor/social worker knows about the dog danger. This is a major concern. Really.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Limiting Visitation Over a Parent's Mental Health Issues

    When I asked her about this last dog injury, she was unaware which concerned me. So I already told her she isn't going to see him until things change via text. Was this a bad move on my part? Also, she played it off as "just a little knick on his knee". It's more than that with bruising but she did acknowledge that she was NOT present during the injury either when he was in her care.

    My other question is, can I use Facebook posts of her being at bars during the time my son was at her house as evidence? She also posted a selfie with a beer bottle (covered in a coozie) when it was our son's Meet the Teacher Night that I invited her to? I know not to get my hands dirty but my son won't get dressed in his room alone because he's afraid his step-mom or I will leave. He's got abandonment issues that we need to work on. She's continuing her same lifestyle and if she gets another DUI (5 DUI arrests, but she got out of the 5th, the last 3 arrests were in the same year) she'll be in jail longer and I can't deal with that again with my son. Thank you so much for your help. Any advice on this matter as well?

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