Alcohol abuse visitation/access/court order

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  • #58204 Report

    Georgia94
    Participant

    Ex & I have broken up during pregnancy (his infidelity).
    He wants 50% access to baby when they arrive, which obviously isn’t in baby’s best interest.
    He says he will take me to court if I don’t allow him to take baby 50% of the time.

    I don’t even feel comfortable allowing him to take baby overnight at all to be honest. We were together nearly 10 years and in that time I think there were (honestly) 10-20 days where he didn’t consume an alcoholic drink.

    It didn’t affect his every day life, he never drove drunk, he held down a job etc. He did drink (to excess in my opinion) around his older child. I would estimate 2-7 cans lager Mon-Thurs and 6-12+ cans Fri-Sun, sometimes spirits but usually at an event/socialising. He would choose drink over his child, expecting me to pick them up/drop them off from activities, put them to bed, cook for them, make sure they brushed their teeth etc, spend time with friends drinking rather than with visiting child. He would find excuses to drink, such as ‘I’ve worked hard’, ‘It’s sunny’, ‘it’s the weekend’ etc.

    My biggest concerns are that he will promise me/a court that he wouldn’t drink when he has baby overnight, and therefore wouldn’t wake up if baby cries/fusses during the night and also that if something happened with baby he wouldn’t be able to drive to hospital (we live in the country).

    I am also concerned that the baby would get a low amount of care/attention due to drinking, or that others would end up caring for them (his older child/friends).

    Can anyone advise me on if this drinking has any bearing on if I should allow overnight access and how a court would view it? It’s difficult because he is an adult and drinking is legal. How could I ever enforce a condition like ‘no drinking when baby is in your care’?

     

    Thanks in advance!

    #58207 Report

    steve3334
    Participant

    hi,

    if you go through court, it’s very unlikely he will get to have baby overnight until child is 18-24 months old or longer, unless you agree to it. can let court assess his drink problem and if that poses an issue.

    #58214 Report

    Georgia94
    Participant

    Hi steve3334, thank you for your insight into this. I thought a court would allow overnight access to be honest!

    #58217 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    Actually, child courts do allow overnight access before 18-24 months in some cases, if this was steve’s experience it’s likely due to his personal circumstances.

    If he has an issue with alcohol, this will be taken into consideration; but you need to tell your solicitor about this before the case so they can present this to the court, (along with the aggressive behaviour you described in your other post). If you leave it until the court case itself, he can simply say you are lying & hide all evidence. A court would likely investigate this, but if they don’t find any evidence of concern, it won’t go in your favour.

    I think it would really help you to talk this through with the gingerbread helpline who can tell you what your rights are or the healthiest way to address this. asking random strangers is not legal advice & could lul you into a false sense of security.

    rights of women are a fantastic org who can tell you what your rights are with expert free legal advice;

    Children and the law: when parents separate – Rights of WomenRights of Women

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by JBLA.
    #58219 Report

    Georgia94
    Participant

    Hi again JBLA,

    Thanks for your advice on this too!

    I will get in touch with both the gingerbread helpline and also the rights of women organisations. I have asked my solicitor who is dealing with the splitting of assets but they said there is nothing to do until baby arrives, I just wanted to see if anyone had experience with this to help me stop worrying during pregnancy. I’m also rapidly running out of money for solicitors (£227 per hour!).

    What kind of evidence should I have for the alcohol related issues? I don’t think I have any at all so it would be a case of he said/she said unfortunately 🙁

     

    #58221 Report

    steve3334
    Participant

    if it goes to court, you will most likely be talking to a social worker, and you can tell them all your concerns.

    #58226 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    Hi Georgia,

    most welcome.

    might be worth asking if the solicitor is trained in domestic abuse. not all are, i’d say yours may not be, as they’ve failed to identify. Laws have changed in recent years with the new domestic violence Bill too; so training needs to be up to date.

    if you have experienced any form of dv; even no physical violence & it’s emotional abuse, and your struggling to pay for legal advice, you are entitled to a free legal aid :). Rights of women should be able to signpost you for this or at least somebody affordable  <3

    I dont know what the exact evidence would need to be in these circumstances, but Gingergread or Rights of women should know, or will know somebody who does 🙂

    – if it helps any, my ex drove me to despair and panic while pregnant, but did a course in hypnobirthing, really manage a huge difference, pregnancy was a dream after that, peaceful birthing (i’ve heard it can help for complex births & caesareans too) & skills for life to manage stress 🙂

    You did the best thing reaching out for advice, there is tonnes of support out there for you. things will get better x

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