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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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Old 10-14-2013, 02:05 PM
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Default Ex with serious mental health issues threatening a motion for overnight access

More than a year ago, I brought an emergency motion for custody of my then 6 year old son. His mother had just discharged herself from residential care at a psych hospital out of town, deciding after ten days that she knew better than they did what treatment plan would be most effective in her case. This was the second time she had spent time at that hospital. The first time was for 4 months, during which she entered a full blown state of mania, started exhibiting multiple bizarre behaviours, many of which suggested either a personality disorder or bipolar disorder.

After discharging herself the second time, she insisted on having our son back 50/50 which I resisted and, shortly afterwards, started custody proceedings. At the same time, my son's sitter reported her to CAS because of things he was telling her about being lonely at her place because she sleeps all the time and that there wasn't always enough to eat. CAS concluded the investigation and closed their file, assessing her a moderate risk because of her mental illness, but finding that I had already done all that I should have (having started proceedings that same week) so they closed the file.

A year later, she has been on an access schedule from after school until 7:30 on school days and noon to 7:30 on alternate weekends. He frequently does not have his homework done, sometimes has missed dinner, has been quite late for remedial literacy classes and has even been harmed when in her care and told not to tell me. There is an active OCL investigation underway right now which, from what I can tell, cannot be even half way done.

She has provided no medical disclosure despite promising to do so last March and having already consented to an order for an independent assessment.

Despite that, she is threatening a motion for overnight access throughout his entire March break.

So, I'm wondering, does an OCL investigation stay the civil custody proceedings? If not, are there any compelling arguments to be made in the face of a motion for overnight access for one week during the March break?

A few come to mind but I'd appreciate anyone setting me straight if I'm wrong.

One is: How can she verify with remitting conditions, not all of which are filly disclosed, that she will be well enough to manage several months from now?

Another is, would she not be asking the court to rule preemptively on the merits of my custody application by seeking an order for overnight access?

A further argument arises from some case law which seems to favor the status quo unless there are compelling reasons justifying an immediate change.

I have had a court order that my son reside with me (which he has) since August 2012.

Are any of these arguments weak? Are there any that I've missed? Does an OCL investigation stay the parties from bringing motions of this kind?

I'd be grateful for the benefit of your insight an experience on these issues.
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:17 PM
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Please break that down into paragraphs. You are making things unnecessarily difficult by putting it all in one block of text.
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:30 PM
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Done. Thanks.
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:41 PM
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My thoughts:

If she is unfit then you need to show that she is unfit. The CAS file will be important in this. If you don't have a copy, contact them and get it. You may have to jump through hoops; jump through them.

Your other issues regarding homework, dinner, etc. need to be thoroughly documented with dates. You need to journal them, and then you need to form a conclusion. the conclusion goes on your affidavit, the journal is attached to the affidavit as evidence.

You need to show that her medical condition does not allow her to be a fit parent. Therefore you need either limited supervised access, or you need medical records that show that her condition is in remission or under control. In the absence of those records, you seek to have full custody and she will have limited, supervised access.

You need to be able to show these things, not just claim them. You need to put it in an organized way, and make your arguments. You need to have a focus of what you want the end result to be, and then a series of arguments to support that focus, and a series of facts to support the arguments.

Your very first step is to form a positive goal. What do you want for your child? Once you have that you can start shaping your arguments to support that goal.
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:56 PM
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Thanks for this. I have already started proceedings. The goals are all set out. What I'm wondering is how to defend against an interim motion she is threatening for overnight access for this coming March break. I may not have made that clear. I appreciate what you say about a positive goal as it is far to easy to slide into "Negative" arguments rather than affirmative ones about what's best for the child. I do have the cas file already but the OCL investigation is still under way. Does its involvement stay the civil custody proceedings do you know?
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:37 PM
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It is difficult to defend against a motion that hasn't happened.

Your response has to be dictated by what she files. There is no generic response that applies to all circumstances.

If she files a motion to change, she has say why she wants the change and provide supporting facts. Your first step is to address her reasons. Are they logical? Factual? Does she have support?

Your current access order wasn't pulled out of a hat; there were supporting reasons. So utilize this. Show that nothing material has changed since that order. The reasons for limiting her access before should still apply now. This should be your primary argument.

Show that she has not provided any material evidence that supports changing the schedule. This is secondary, but still important. This is your rebuttle against what she claims.

Thirdly you show that the OCL is still investigating the situation. There were reasons for involving the OCL in the first place; these reasons still apply. The results are pending and the process should be allowed to be completed before changing the children's schedule, otherwise there is danger that it will have to be changed back. This will cause the children unnecessary distress.

Fouthly, you show that the ex's medical history exhibits instability, and thus her emotional state and ability to care for the children cannot be predicted months in advance, unless she can provide medical opinion that she has stabilized.

That is the best I can do with the information you have given. Again, you need to address her specific arguments for a change when they are available.
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:48 PM
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Thank you. Sounds like I'm on the right track. I appreciate you taking the time.
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:50 PM
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You were very very helpful and I greatly appreciate the quick reply. All the best.
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Old 10-14-2013, 05:16 PM
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I have to jump in here,, you need to take care of yourself and the kids.
Cas will not help you ,been through it, they threatened me with taking my daughter out inthere care, I asked them what should i do, i sent my daughter to her freinds house while manic episodes were happening,(destroying of house ,delusions ,bipolar ,coast ,police ,fire dept.not sure what wasnt involved.)Cas said i did what was right ,can they help a male, NOOOO ,,, not set up that way (sorry) .I have my kids now and there was no problem as she was not capable of looking after them at all,, ,.

If you think it is bipolar ,go to the forums and it does help,you cannot change the person at all and you can not BLAME yourself, .
pm me if you like ,, been through helll..
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Old 10-14-2013, 05:47 PM
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Thanks. Oh, I know what you mean. I've already been treated by cas in ways I know they would never have treated me if I had been female and trying to protect my child from a mental ill father who had already been proved to have neglected him. How do I pm you? I'm brand new to this site.
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