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I have full custody of my 2 small children and the mom has…

Customer Question
I have full custody...

I have full custody of my 2 small children and the mom has not been left alone with the kids for a year. A year ago when the case first happened DHS had me put in an order for emergency custody for immediate danger. As part of the safety plan it was stated that she needed to have a psychiatric diagnosis and complete a drug and alcohol program. She has not completed those programs and is not currently enrolled. My question is about letting her have time with the kids.

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?

Yes I have custody

Lawyer's Assistant: Family law varies by state. What state are you in?

Oregon

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I don't think so

Submitted: 2 months ago.Category: Family Law
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Answered in 17 hours by:
6/1/2018
Family Lawyer: Sean K, Family Law Attorney replied 2 months ago
Sean K
Sean K, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 968
Experience: Family Law Attorney in Private Law Firm
Verified

Hi, I’m Sean and I will be assisting you as an expert today. I’m an attorney with more than 20 years of experience. It is my goal to provide a solid overview of your situation. Whether the analysis is good or bad as to your matter, I want to make sure you understand any points you need and that you have options to better address the questions you have. If I am able, I will also provide you with some resources. Please note that the system, independent from me, may offer a phone call. You are not obligated to engage in a phone call, but I am happy to speak if you desire. This is completely up to you.

Is there an order requiring her to do the eval and the drug and alcohol program? I ask because a safety plan unless incorporated into a Court order is little more than a contract.

That being said, if you agreed to a safety plan (that was not Court ordered) and were to allow contact without the eval and the drug and alcohol program you would likely have no issue with the Court, but if you allowed contact different than what was contemplated in the plan, it would be difficult for you to later go back and relay on prior bad conduct of the Mother.

On the other hand if you continued to follow the safety plan and required her to do the eval and the drug program, you would likely not face any issue if she was asking for time and had not done it.

If it is in a Court order keep in mind that to allow conduct different from a Court order is not looked at favorably by the Court. The Court would likely not police it themselves but it is never a good idea not to follow a Court order.

So I have answered your question with a few different scenarios. Please let me know if you have followup questions.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
here is the thing. Dhs required me to set up a safety plan following a mental health breakdown a year ago. As you know the temporary order is filed with the general order regarding custody at the same time. And the 2 orders need to match for the temporary order to be accepted. She did not file a response within the 30 days required after service. I went back to the court and was granted full custody of the kids and have had that for a year. Since then she has had zero unsupervised contact with the kids but is asking for that consistently but has not completed the psychiatric evaluation or a drug and alcohol program. If I allow her to see the kids while being unsupervised what is a worst case scenario for me.
Family Lawyer: Sean K, Family Law Attorney replied 2 months ago

As to any punishment or penalty from the Court, the likelihood is minimal that anything would happen.

However, I have, in the past, counseled people in her position to continue to ask in hopes of being granted the ability to visit in a less restrictive fashion. I have also told the same people to take whatever was offered. To ask as frequently as possible and to then build up a consistency of having the visits. Once this has happened, it is not a stretch to file a petition with the Court under the premise that you, as the custodian, excused the need for counseling or an evaluation. At a minimum the argument could be that if it is good enough for you to, in light of need for an eval and drug counseling, that such not be performed, then there is no need for supervision. So at a minimum you likely never get an eval or a drug program. I have also in the past, when the time was substantial, obtained custody for the party who started with supervised time.

The danger here is that if you allow her to erode against the status quo, the line will continue to move and once something is given it is hard to get back.

So would there be any putative action by the Court? Likely not. However, the net result could be an erosion of the custodial designation and of your time as well as a loss of supervision. But if this is something that you want and feel comfortable, parents, even with a Court order, can always agree to do what is best for their children. Just proceed with caution.

Please let me know if you have any further questions or if there are more questions based on what I have provided.

Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. There is no specific course of action is proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege formed within this conversation.

If you have any follow up questions it would be my pleasure to answer them. As experts we only get credit for the time and effort we spend on our answers if you rate us positively - 5 stars is definitely appreciated but not required! There is no cost associated with you rating me and you can still ask follow up questions after rating me and I will respond.

One final point, there may be a delay between your question and my answer; this is because I'm either not at my computer or helping someone else but rest assured, if you ask, I will provide an answer. Thank you again.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
1 last question concerning this situation. I have joint custody of a child from a different relationship and the mother of that child has stated to me that she will try to obtain full custody of our son if the mother of my other two children are around her. Is there a chance she could make that happen?
Family Lawyer: Sean K, Family Law Attorney replied 2 months ago

That statement from the Mother of the other child may be the deciding factor for you. It is extremely common for parents of other children who may be exposed to a third party who has, or may have drug or parenting issues, is a frequent basis for a change of custody.

The concern in this case is that you have one mother, potentially, attempting to avoid beneficial treatment/work to which she agreed. The consequence of this could be that she attempts to erode at your custodial situation causing legal problems for you there. Then, potentially (and it sounds like a stronger possibility) that if the foregoing happens, it will create additional legal problems the mother of your other child. If both of those matters were to proceed to a court setting, you could quickly find yourself on the defense for a situation that started with you trying to help someone out.

You will need to factor the risk/reward of proceeding with not holding her to the Safety Plan, but if the best case scenario is that she is better and has no issues, then an eval would be clear and the drug program would only serve to further reinforce that she is better. If she did both of these things and you then let her back in, then if the other mother attempted to do anything in Court, you have coverage.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Can you help me understand how the parent that needed supervision ends up having custody of the kids? Van these points regarding the lack of need for supervision and evaluation be made from one unsupervised visit, one that is not overnight?
Family Lawyer: Sean K, Family Law Attorney replied 2 months ago

It is not uncommon for parties that have previously had supervised visitation to go from it being supervised to unsupervised to them having custody. However for that to happen, several things would need to occur. First, the reason for the initial supervision would need to be cured. Then, their time would need to be increased, either by Court Order or Agreement. If this progressed, and then either by agreement or a finding by the Court that it was in a Child's best interest then the custody could change. As well, if the initial custodial party had something occur that was not appropriate for a child, that could cause a change.

In your case, it is a balance of avoiding any issue with Mother two, but sorting out with Mother 1 the issues of the eval and the drug counseling are threshold considerations - if she does them, then you will be confirmed in your knowledge that either nothing is wrong or that there are still issues. If she does not do them and was to go to Court to seek unsupervised time, the Court likely would not order it, but if the Court did, then you could rely on that for Mother 2 if she were to pursue anything.

The balance for you is that as to your custody and the Court, you will have minimal problem if you were to stick to the safety plan.

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