visitation issue — The Bump
Single Parents

visitation issue

hey all, i have not posted in a long time. things have been going great with my baby (now 8 months old) and BD has been pretty drama-free.  the only issue i am having, and have had in the past, and will likely have for eternity, is BD's drinking.  as of now, he visits LO once during the week for an hour, and once on sundays for 2 hours, in my home while i'm there.  he doesn't take her anywhere, but now that she's almost a year old, he's been talking about overnights. not gonna happen, but will cross that bridge later. 

my issue is, about every other sunday, he comes over for his visits reeking like alcohol, maybe he did not drink that day. but drank the entire bar the night before.  probably still legally drunk from the night before.  i am "supervising" these visits, documenting when this happens. the baby is not in danger, but its driving me out of my mind. so sunday, after his booze-reeking visit, i sent him a passive aggressive text message asking him to please either come over sober or he will no longer be able to come over at all. (we don't have any CO, just whatever visitation i allow him since we have never been to court. it's within my current rights to deny all visitation.) i don't want LO to 1. be in danger, obviously, 2. be exposed to that kind of lifestyle/state of mind.  

does anyone have advice about this??? like i said, he isn't taking her anywhere or endangering her, but i can't let it continue.  would it be too harsh to take away these visits??? i am depressed and exhausted that i have to deal with this.  (thanks for reading my vent.) 

Re: visitation issue

  • My advice in a situation like this is talk to a lawyer and get a custody order.
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  • Wow, this is tough.  I hope to give as good advice as I can, though I am not sure how great it will be.

    First, did he respond to the text?  Was it defensive/angry?

    If I were in your shoes, my first thing would be to not allow him inside if he smelled reeked of alcohol. He should learn that the lifestyle he is leading is not a good lifestyle choice, especially when there is a child out there that may or may not follow in his footsteps (however, I am aware that a lot of the human race don't think far enough beyond themselves to care about others or offspring, regardless of restrictions put in place).  

    If he does not like that you are "keeping DD away" from him, then tell him he has a choice:

    A) choose to be responsible and not drink nights before he visits. Get him to agree to this in writing (make a copy available for him to keep, YOU keep original).  Saturday nights might be hard for him not to go out and party but he has to choose whats more important to him.  His DD or alcohol.

    B) choose to take you to court for visitation rights, where a judge will then determine the outcome.  And, with this choice, you can talk to the judge about your concern with his drinking and request supervised visits (also, tell your BD you will not allow him to see your DD until the court order was agreed upon).   I have NO EXPERIENCE with court ordered visitation but I am pretty sure they would deny him his visits if he showed up reeking of alcohol, or at least they might give him a breathalyzer test, as I would also hope they would document those incidents. I say "pretty sure" and "might" because I just assume officers of the law wouldn't put up with that nonsense.

    My BD and I do not have a CO and the last I heard from him regarding a visit was in April (or was it March...?).  So, again, I can only say what I think I'd say in your place.  Hope I helped a little bit...
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  • Yeah, i keep a written record of it. he didn't respond to the text. i would like to have some kind of agreement like no drinking within 12 hours of seeing LO.  one would think this is not an outrageous request of a 36 year old man but he lives in his own world. i'm going to bring this up to him at our next visit and if he argues i will just let him know we can stop the visits altogether unless he can agree or take this to court. 
  • I am not a single mom anymore but I have experience with this that might be useful.  In most states unless you have petitioned the court for Sole Legal and Physical Custody and have been awarded, you don't have it.  I am not sure of your current custody status or any other details.  Whoever has the child is the custodial parent at that time.  Refusing your BD access to your child because he smells like alcohol given that they are fully supervised visits (no matter how strong that smell is) can lead to you fighting to retain full custody in court should it get to that.  Please speak to a lawyer, many have free consults that can provide helpful info and many courts have legal aide that can assist as well.  At the very least get a notarized agreement that spells out the rules of visitation and both sign.   I am willing to answer any questions you have about my experience if it will help.  Please also search the Blended families board lots of good visitation advice, examples of the stuff the courts will allow to "foster a relationship" with the non-custodial parent, and lots of prior single moms. 
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  • @Acbarbour awesome advice! I know your not a single mom anymore but i would love it if you hung around and joined in. Some times its nice to get advice and perspective from people who have been there done that. So to sum up,

  • in Ohio we have "single mother, never married" clause which is that if you were never married to the father, you have sole 100% custodial rights until/if he decides to sue for custody rights. so visitation is whatever i want, basically. 
  • hm, i have a lawyer and am following what he has prescribed. visitation is up to me. my dilemma is, do i allow him to see his daughter while he's under the influence, in my home while i'm there, or do i risk him taking me to court by telling him he can't come over if he's been drinking? i do not want a legal battle but also do not want her around him when he's like that. 
  • I would still get something in writing on file with the courts. Cross your t's and dot your i's. Make sure he cant argue it.
  • Hi @minnesotaMomma91 and everybody.  I lurk here because this life is so familiar to me.  I try to only chime in when I have something valuable to add but I will speak up a little more often.  Thanks for the welcome. 

    OP I am glad you have a lawyer and I would suggest getting something in writing because it helps if he becomes disagreeable.  My best weapon has been saying "The court order that is what we are going to do."  In order to protect your daughter I would not worry about stopping visits as they are short and supervised. Provided he is not clearly under the influence and not be able to safely handle a baby.  At this point your DD probably thinks that is just the way he smells.  Would a different time maybe later in the day be good so that he can have time to "get himself together"?

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  • @acbarbour it's @ 2:30pm on sundays! should be sobered up by then even after the rowdiest night, in my opinion.  
  • I have to agree.  Best of Luck and hopefully your BD gets it together before you LO gets to much older.

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  • My BD drank/drinks to get rid of the hangover in the morning.  Could be possible that your BD is doing the same.  
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  • I think you're doing the right thing by requiring him to be sober during visitation.  Aboslutely, 100%. 

  • Would he actually take you to court?  Does he consistently come to visits?  I think it is 100% fine if you tell him he cannot come to your home reeking of alcohol.  Be nice about it.  This way, he can make a choice.  If he wants to be involved, he will stop drinking.  If he can't stop drinking, he won't be involved.  
    Right now he has zero visitation rights, but I wouldn't keep rubbing that in his face and reminding him that legally he has no rights.
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