My Husband and His Alcoholism: I Want to Get My Child Away From This! How Do I Get Sole Custody?
In the past year, I have been struggling with trying to figure out if my husband just has a verbally abusive personality or if it is due to alcoholism (part of my struggle was figuring out if he really was an alcoholic as I have really never been exposed to this before).
He expressed willingness to stop drinking alcohol this past weekend, but then failed and is sneaking it in the garage and he thinks I don't know. We have a very young child who is too young to realize what is going on right now, but I really want to protect her from seeing her father slowly kill himself with alcohol and from seeing her mother sit there and take verbal and emotional abuse when he is drunk, not to mention constant belittling.
My husband only drank a little (socially) when we met and married and was a completely different person. I never saw signs of alcoholism then ... there wasn't a pattern and he was a kind and affectionate person. He did a complete turnaround within a week of when our baby was born. He is unwilling to get outside help and gets mad at me when I say anything.
I've read everything about detaching from the alcoholic and just taking care of yourself and your child(ren), which is all well and good, but we do live in the same house, and criticism, belittling and threats from him don't make it easy to detach unless I leave.
That being said, I would like to leave ... for my daughter's sake mainly. I need to protect my child from this and I think it's the only way to "detach" and really have a functional life. My question to everyone is: has anyone had experience with custody issues with one alcoholic parent?
Part of my H's emotional abuse has been to say, "if you don't like the way I treat you, you can leave, but I will get the baby." Although I know he would not get full custody of the baby, our state has custody laws that recommend equal time with both parents.
He cannot be trusted to drive her anywhere with his drinking, or be fully mentally present and able to care for her appropriately since by the end of every evening he is in a beer-induced fog. However, I can't really "prove" that he is an alcoholic because I drive us everywhere so he has no DUI's (I realize this is enabling, but it's a necessity for the safety of our child and myself).
Now he's hiding his empty cans, he pays for the alcohol with cash or a credit card for which I do not have access to the statement and throws away the receipts, and I would call him a functioning alcoholic who goes to work everyday and doesn't drink till he hits the front door. Any ideas?
I have been looking up attorneys so I can have a consultation, but I just wanted some input before all that. Financially, I am able to take care of my daughter and provide a home (albeit not the same one we have now) for my child.
I just would like to know what I'm up against, because I would feel like the worst mother in the world if he got partial custody and I had to hand her over to him, knowing full well that he would be drunk before the evening was over. I would constantly worry about her safety.
Any guidance would be greatly appreciated! Feeling a little desperate... Thanks.
If you've decided that you don't want to expose your child to a toxic home environment where alcoholism and abuse are ever-present, making the decision to leave is to be applauded. You can't control what your husband does, but you can control what you do and what kind of environment you choose to bring your daughter up in.
As to obtaining custody, I'm sure the courts want to do what is in the best interests of your daughter, so if she is going to be in any way endangered by being allowed to spend time with your husband, then they'll act accordingly. But as you rightly point out, it boils down to proof.
So getting a proper legal opinion is definitely the best place to start. A good attorney will be able to help advise you on the best course of action to follow. And if anyone else reading this has personal experience of having dealt with what you're going through - please comment and offer your insights.
Taking action and wanting to provide your daughter with a harmonious and loving home environment is a positive step. Being brought up in a home where alcoholism and any form of abuse is present, causes children untold damage in the long-term, and unfortunately too many parents don't act quickly enough when faced with such a situation. The effects of alcoholism on children
I'm sure with your determination you'll figure out how to get this resolved in everyone's best interests. Please keep us posted on developments. Good Luck.