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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 03-03-2014, 10:25 AM
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Default Motion for Supervised Access.

Hi everyone, I am self-repping at this time and would like some advice. My ex and her lawyer is bringing a motion to have my access supervised.

Background Info:

Ex and I cohabited for about two years. We had a child together (almost two years old at this point). We separated in the spring of 2013. She filed for sole custody, supervised access (I have a history of alcohol abuse and have been in recovery since shortly after the separation), table CS, special expenses, and a restraining order (100m etc). I hired a lawyer and answered with joint custody, 50/50, table CS.

Case Conference:

Our child lives primarily with my ex. At the case conference we agreed to my paying table CS and special expenses as well as some medical and financial disclosures. My ex and her lawyer did not pursue the restraining order or access supervision at the case conference. However, I thought it in the best interest of the child to have my access attended by a responsible adult following a what I thought was a conservative timeline compared with what was suggested by my counsel.

Access:

Access generally went well, and my ex and I opened negotiations between ourselves sans lawyers. I believed that that negotiations were going well. After a few months I started having weekday access without another adult in attendance, and then overnights. My ex had renewed concerns and started attending access herself.

Motion for Supervised Access:

Her lawyer filed a motion for custody, supervised access, costs, psychiatric assessment (at my cost). I do not believe that supervised access is necessary and as it will limit my time with our child and do to other environmental factors, is not in their best interest.

There is no supervision order currently, but her and her lawyer's argument has been that the Case Conference judge ordered status quo, therefore a defacto state of supervision has been in place.

I intend to cross-motion, with joint-custody and access relief.

Her affidavit in support of the motion contains a number of factual errors.

Do I need to refute these in my responding affidavit?

Although I have mental health challenges, I don't believe they impact my ability to effectively and safely parent our child.

I understand that the costs of a psychiatric assessment can run in to the thousands of dollars. If supervised access contingent of a psychiatric assessment is ordered, it could be months/years before unsupervised access is attained.

If the judge orders a psychiatric assessment can I then request that it be co-paid? Or in general if orders are being issued can they be negotiated at the motion hearing?

I believe that having a more broad based third party investigate might be beneficial to having a judge make the best decision, as opposed to a psychiatric assessment.

Can a party request that the OCL become involved?

Thank you for taking the time to read my post.
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Old 03-03-2014, 10:57 AM
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Could you offer random drug/alcohol random screening (to be paid for you)? Are you currently under the care of a psychiatrist and receiving ongoing treatment?
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:04 AM
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I am currently in an outpatient treatment program for substance abuse and have community support. The outpatient treatment program includes group and individual therapy. I am currently under the care of a psychiatrist.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:16 AM
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Then I think it would be redundant for someone to request a psychiatric assessment. Do you submit to random testing?

Others with experience with child custody will chime in. My inexperienced opinion would be that in your responding affidavit you simply put forward simple facts which can be corroborated (attending outpatient clinics, under the care of Dr. xxx,) You might request a graduated process of obtaining unsupervised access over a period of 6 - 12 months? I'd state factual information about the success todate since separation.

In those random testing things you can have a clause where the ex can request frequency of tests increase should she feel it necessary. This is assuming that there is concern on the part of your ex that you may relapse.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
Then I think it would be redundant for someone to request a psychiatric assessment. Do you submit to random testing?

Others with experience with child custody will chime in. My inexperienced opinion would be that in your responding affidavit you simply put forward simple facts which can be corroborated (attending outpatient clinics, under the care of Dr. xxx,) You might request a graduated process of obtaining unsupervised access over a period of 6 - 12 months? I'd state factual information about the success todate since separation.

In those random testing things you can have a clause where the ex can request frequency of tests increase should she feel it necessary. This is assuming that there is concern on the part of your ex that you may relapse.
What evidence is she presenting that you are a danger to the child.

The fact that you are under doctor supervision are seeking treatment to your medical condition. This cannot be held against you unless they have proof you are a danger to the child.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:23 PM
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I consented to random testing with the treatment center as part of their recovery program.

My ex is concerned about pre-existing suicidal ideation and that I suffer from delusions. CAS has been involved but their only concern has been stated as the suicidal ideation.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:32 PM
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A psychiatric review might be appropriate in this circumstance. Some people have suicidal ideation throughout their lives. Long term use of antidepressants can sometimes exacerbate this. A full physical and mental assessment might be indicated so you and your ex can determine the full scope of your capabilities with regards to your child.
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Old 03-03-2014, 02:51 PM
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Given the presence of suicidal ideation, I don't think it's unreasonable to request a psychiatric assessment as a precondition for you having more access to the kids. I think it would be in your best interests to comply with that request, and to also make available as much information as you can about the treatment you are undergoing, along with any reports about the progress you are making (in other words, to make your medical record available).

As for access, could you propose at "step-up" schedule by which you start with supervised access and move to unsupervised access over a period of 8-12 months, so that you have the opportunity to prove that you are doing well and making progress?

Kudos to you for recognizing your issues and getting help, by the way. There are a lot of posters here who could learn from your examples.
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Old 03-03-2014, 03:34 PM
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He had done all that stuff already though. He had access, progressed to overnights, and then his ex suddenly changed her mind and now he's unsure what to do. He said it happened after she got a lawyer. The question is, why did she get a lawyer? Did she just want to formalize things, and the lawyer suggested she should play hardball? Did something happen that made her think a psychiatric evaluation would be necessary? What are her renewed concerns you glossed over?

If it's all just her suddenly being restrictive for no reason, I would send a letter that you do not agree with supervised access being necessary again after you had already progressed to unsupervised overnights. Should she feel a psychiatric evaluation is necessary, you would be happy to comply, but as you don't feel it is necessary, it should be at her expense. Meanwhile, as overnights had previously been approved and gone without incident, they should resume as soon as possible.

If something did happen, well, you're going to have to do the hoop-jumping again while you re-stablize yourself.

Your ex will present what proof she has that you are unstable and a danger to the child. If she has errors in her proof, you point them out.

You will present the previous history of overnight visits, the reasons for her renewed concern and your view on how valid (or BS) they are, and what steps you have taken to address them. Get a note from your psychiatrist that you are stable and not a danger to the child, if you can.

People with addiction have a lifelong battle, and it isn't helped by an ex who only remembers you at your worst and doesn't believe it's possible for you to change. Demonstrate that your dedication to your child motivates your sobriety, show proof of the things you have done since separation to address your issues and strengthen your resolve, and dispute her view that you cannot be a good father because of your past.

PS If you are going for 50-50, it should be with offset CS, not full table. Otherwise it just looks like buying/selling access.
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