How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 99983
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
7286322
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Ely is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am in a bad marriage and have a 9 year old daughter

Customer Question

Hi,
I am in a bad marriage and have a 9 year old daughter and a 19 year old step-daughter. I found out last night from my step-daughter that my wife has been sleeping with one her friends(step-daughter). My wife is 45 years old and drinks a lot(6 nights a week to get drunk). She is very unstable and takes a lot of prescription meds for depression and anxiety and has talked of suicide in the past. My dilemma is that I want to divorce her but scared of losing custody of my 9 year old daughter to her. I don't think its safe for her to be with her. I don't claim to be an angel but my daughter comes first in my life. What would be my best course of action in this case?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:
(A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein. No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. This is repeated in numerous disclaimers throughout the site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my reply while I am typing out my answer.
I am sorry to hear about this situation.
Provided that her instability (drinking and medicines and mood disorders, etc) can be proven, then I do not think that the Court would award her the custody of a nine year old.
The Court decides on custody based on the rule of thumb of "best interest of the child." This includes, but is not limited to, general stability of the parent, financial stability, indoctrination of the child in the current school and environment, household condition and living condition of the child, other persons living in the house, etc. The courts generally do not like to split the custody 50/50 since this is hard on the child unless both parents agree to this.
One parent usually becomes the custodian and the other parent becomes the "visiting" parent which is generally one day a week, every other weekend, and alternating holidays. The nuanced points of the custody can either be decided by the parties or the Court, if the parties cannot come to an agreement.
Even if a parent does not get managing custody, they are almost guaranteed visitation unless they have a drug problem, alcohol dependency, or an unsafe home environment. Abuse and or neglect of the child or previous children are an almost automatic bar for even visitation, although supervised visitation may be granted by the Court.
Of course, that is the standard order of possession. That order can be modified if both parties agree or if the Court finds that it is an extraordinary situation.
Given her unstable nature and constant drinking, one has a good chance of getting custody.
What would be my best course of action in this case?
To consider filing a divorce like you want or at least a separation petition along with a custody matter, seeking custody of the child. Also, I would begin documenting her behavior as much as possible, as this would be useful in Court.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please rate when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.

Related Family Law Questions