Opinions appreciated

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by BloodiedButUnbowed, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    More detail later....but for now.....

    Have any non custodial parents ever asked a court to appoint a GAL for a child whose custodial parent can not provide a safe environment?

    If so what was your experience like?

    The goal in our case would not be a custody change. It would be oversight and resources for what we have recently learned is a gravely deteriorating situation.
     
  2. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Here is a more complete rundown of the current situation with a bit of history for some new members.

    Background: I am married to a woman (W) with two children (DS, YS) from her first marriage to the boys' father (F). W and F agreed that F should be the custodial parent when they divorced. W had EOW visitation with alternating holidays and vacations. W also pays significant amounts of child support to F. They have joint custody.

    I am female, though that is not really relevant to the story. When we married, DS was 13 and YS was 11.

    I got along well with DS and YS and they were supportive of the marriage/excited to have me as a stepmother. I have also always been cordial with F and he was supportive as well.

    W and F had a very high conflict divorce. The boys were weaponized against W, very covertly, by their codependent F. On top of this DS in particular began showing mental health issues at a young age, long before I entered the picture. At the time I came along, a period of intense conflict between W and F had just recently ended and things appeared relatively calm.

    The current trouble began when DS was 15. His transition to high school was difficult and despite high intelligence, he was failing classes. Then, during one of their overnight weekend visits to our home, he became enraged at his mother and strangled her. He injured her, though not severely, and W did not want to press charges. Looking back I should have insisted but at the time I was not as strong as I am now, and our marriage was newer.....at any rate, this was the state of things when I first discovered this forum and began posting here.

    Following this incident the EOW visitation pretty much completely stopped. We would occasionally take YS out to eat, out to movies, etc. but DS refused to speak to us for over one year. F did nothing in support of W, just allowed DS to do whatever he wanted which is his pattern.

    DS received therapy but nothing really helped. Later on, DS became violent at home with his father. YS called us terrified. We called the police. As a result DS was pschyiatrically hospitalized. We initiated the IEP process. He was found ineligible. He ended up with a 504 plan which was useless.

    He re-established contact with us last year after W agreed to allow him to leave his traditional HS in favor of online HS. We had some nice times with him and his brother for about six months or so during this period of reconciliation, and they are memories I'm grateful to have. Unfortunately DS did not succeed with online school any more than he did in brick and mortar school. He stopped "attending" classes and is now essentially a drop out.

    Labor Day last year YS who always seemed to be the "normal" child, attempted suicide with F's prescription medication. He came within five minutes of completing his suicide. Thankfully he did survive. He was hospitalized until Thanksgiving.

    Shortly after his hospitalization ended both DS and YS stopped all contact with us. They are the type of people who shut out anything and anyone with whom they disagree, or who tries to set limits and boundaries around their behavior. Thus we are fully estranged once again this time from both of them. Adding to the complications, DS turned 18 recently.

    This weekend my W was in contact with YS' therapist who seems to understand the dysfunction in the family very well. We learned the following:

    - DS spends nearly all of his time smoking pot in his room. F knows and isn't doing anything about it. DS has a part time job and all the proceeds go to marijuana.
    - YS now smokes too, and he told F it was because of "pain" from a chronic injury he sustained as a result of his suicide attempt. F accepts this explanation and is allowing YS to self medicate with marijuana. F is not taking YS to the doctor for a legal pain prescription; instead he lets his son smoke weed.
    - Therapist told W that she is a stone's throw away from calling CPS on F for neglect, because F refuses to establish any rules or boundaries for the behavior of his sons and is aiding and abetting substance abuse by YS in particular.
    - Therapist denies that DS is being aggressive but reported that both F and YS consider DS to be "scary" and that F does not want to confront him because F is, in therapist's view, scared of DS.

    My W is beside herself. We feel absolutely helpless and paralyzed. W has been demonized and neither of her teen sons will see or speak to her. She has tried to speak to F and every time she raises her concerns about the way her children are being raised, he ends the call and refuses to discuss it with her. F allows her no input and no say-so. He functions as if she is completely out of the picture, which is not the case, although she IS shut out of their day to day lives.

    One option she is considering is asking the court to appoint a guardian ad litem to investigate their living situation and potentially take action to protect YS. Now that DS is 18, we have no idea how the court might view his situation. He did just turn 18 recently and is not a HS graduate, so that might have bearing.

    There seems no other choice at this time but to involve the court. I considered calling the police and asking them to raid their home for marijuana but I don't know if that is something they'd take seriously.

    We know neither child will come to live with us and honestly that's for the best. But W wants her children to be safe and I want that too, obviously. If F could get counseling, if DS could be court ordered to something like Job Corps....maybe that's one small thing we CAN accomplish via the courts.

    Any feedback is very much appreciated.
     
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    From my sons bad experience in family court, where the Judge doesnt seem to care about what ex does even when it is against the parenting plan, I think you should try, but dont have overly high expectations that you will get results. I so hope you have better luck than my son has. One has to try.
     
  4. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Member

    (BBU, I want to apologize for assuming you were male all this time. I probably referred to your gender inappropriately at some point in one of our conversations. Sorry.)

    I'm so sorry things have taken this turn, on the other hand, I'm glad you got the information.

    It makes it all the more difficult not having a back-up plan for their living situation. I'm stuck like that too right now - son not okay where he is, but nowhere else to go. Ugh.

    No idea on how the system works over there, but I hope it is helpful and that one way or another, your boys are in a safe environment. Hugs
     
  5. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    Bbu i am sorry things have gotten worse. The councelor said she was close to calling CPS is that an option for you? I don't know much about guardian ad litem but it is worth trying. However if the court decides they want to remove them w must be prepared to either take them if allowed or see them placed in foster care or residential placement.
     
  6. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    My guess, your best option is to see if the therapist would report the situation to authorities. But where it goes from there...hard to tell. Because of their age, I doubt that much would change. If you guys report it...just more ammunition for her sons and ex to use against her.

    My now 18yo was under court supervision for drugs and running away since she was 16. Last month, she tested positive for cocaine. No consequences... And 3 weeks later, the judge closed her case. Well, actually, our case. She was deemed a Child In Need of Care... As if I wasn't calling the police, social workers, school and therapists on a regular basis...

    I felt like my hands were tied! She even tested positive for meth...but since she didn't have the drug ON her, just IN her...they did NOTHING!

    Ksm
     
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  7. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    KSM, your situation is exactly where we believe things will end up no matter what we do - with very little (if anything) changed for the better, and the estrangement between W and her children even more intractable.

    People don't change - F will not stop being a weak, codependent enabler. If anything, W taking some kind of (what would be perceived as) aggressive action would only drive F further into victim mode, which would drive YS away from W even more so than is already the case. DS is cold-hearted and doesn't care about others' feelings, including F - he just wants to get his way and have no responsibilities - but YS and F are very enmeshed. YS acts as F's protector.

    Courts seem quite willing to overlook neglectful parenting and even illegal situations occurring in a home with minors. The one scenario that does seem to get their attention is anything of a sexual nature. That isn't a factor in this case.

    Also, it's not like DS and YS are smoking crack or shooting heroin. Marijuana is more and more considered to be "no big deal" - seemingly even to the authorities. Maybe I'm just a fuddy-duddy. I don't get it. To me, illegal is illegal. But I know that this view is not in the majority these days.

    So many of our kids are pot smokers, aren't they? Much more so than problem drinkers it seems.

    At any rate thanks for the replies and I'll continue reading in this thread. The sad reality is, there's likely nothing that can be done to change the environment that DS and YS live in. But one must try for our own conscience if no other reason. I tend to agree that letting the therapist take the bullet, so to speak, might be the "safer" choice, but if that happens and F/YS know about it, YS will likely quit therapy.

    What can we do? Let go - let God - and be happy.