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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. Answer

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 is devastating.

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.

Comments for My Husband and His Alcoholism: I Want to Get My Child Away From This! How Do I Get Sole Custody?

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I have the same problem
by: Anonymous

When I read your post, I realized I could of wrote the same post. I too have the same situation. My husband is a functioning alcoholic. He doesn't drink during the day, but as soon as he gets home he hits the liquor cabinet. By 8:00 he is unreasonable, beligerent and belittling to me. Yes, I went to therapy, was told to keep away and to work on myself. When you live with the person, you become a prisoner of your own home. I have a young daughter that is starting to feel the effects of his behavior. I want out desperately, however, I am not sure about the outcome of custody. I am frightened for her to stay with him and I know she would not be happy and secure. The delimna is how do I prove he is an unfit father when he functions during the day. I have kept a diary and I am considering a child psycharist for my child. I have sacrificed my happiness for the sake of my daughter. I wish I could get him to leave. He says he is not going anywhere. We are miserable. No answer here.

Leaving alcoholic, w child? - confused
by: Anonymous & stuck

Thanks for all the posts. I so relate to what so many of you have said. I had started typing this when I did the search and found this link:

I'm not sure what to do - my partner/"husband" (we never married-in my mind because I was never quite comfortable, hard to imagine living with him forever...) is a "highly functioning" alcoholic. We have a child together who is almost 6. We all live together. I deeply care about my partner and have love for him, but I often don't like him at all. If it was only me, I would leave, but I think I would feel that I would be abandoning my son during the times he would stay with his dad. Of course, i don't want my son to have to grow up in a dysfunctional relationship either. I just don't want him to have to live alone with his dad part-time. Not to mention how sad i would feel (as would my son, i'm sure) to not live with my son every day!

We share the care of our child, though I do more. I know that if I leave he would want to split time with our child 50/50.
He is definitely emotionally abusive, but he's not physically abusive. Do I need to talk with an attorney? How does one prove that their partner is a functioning alcoholic that is emotionally abusive. One can't see the bruises. I am just fearful for my son. I am supposed to be the "mama bear" and protect him. I don't want him to have to put up with the hell that I'm quite sure he will have to put up with if I'm not around to "smooth things over" as I often already do.

We are planning on doing couples therapy together but we're broke (he finally agreed to do therapy after I was looking for places to move out to...)
I recently started going to Al-Anon, but haven't gotten a sponsor or started the steps yet. It's helpful to hear others share, I have shared once, and I will continue to go. I'd also like to hear the advice of an expert who counsels others regarding alcoholism.

Any resources/suggestions/advice greatly appreciated! Thank you.

Alcoholic Husband 2 kids
by: Anonymous

I could have written the first comment myself except I have 2 younger children. I've dealt with all this for 6 years majorly have been married for ten. This man has completed ruined my life! Financially, emotionally etc. he drinks almost everyday, disappears for days at a time - has gone 7 days without seeing his children. Lies constantly, manipulates, cheats on me, verbally abuses me , has physically abused me many times , has the kids keep secrets from me and I could go on and on.
I want out but after seeing a lawyer I'm more stressed and distract. I do not want him to have the kids drive drunk a
And take them to bars as he has while drinking! I told the attorney everything - I live in Californiz and he said it all boils down to proof. He has had 3 DUI"s and never spent a day in jail!! The last one was 3 years ago even though he drives now almost daily drunk and with no license. I want to move away but the lawyer said that probably won't happen and this divorce could cost 50k! The so called husband will do whatever to fight me and make my life miserable!! I'm so afraid to proceed as once court stuff is settled its a done deal. I also don't have money to pay rent and he will not leave!! I'm more stressed than ever. Seems the family law courts are NOT very fair!!

by: Anonymous

You need to call WEAVE and get the information you need to file a Temporary Restraining Order and live in your car if you have to in the meantime. If you truly need assistance, you will get it. If you have time to post on this site, you need to get the things you can't bear to never see again, diapers, water, and MONEY, and GET AWAY from this man immediately. The longer you stay, the worse it will be for you when you ultimately separate. If you continue to leave your child in this environment, YOU are endangering your child because you know better. You are posting on this site. You are reading this information. I know it hurts. But you need to get away from this person and hold on tight for the emotional roller coaster that follows. Even if you feel bad for your husband, you need to feel worse for your wonderful and innocent children. They deserve better.

Divorcing an addicted attorney
by: Jessica Kruse

I am 31 with three young children divorcing a 48 year attorney who is addicted to alcohol. i have also caught him doing cocain. He has had three DWIs wiped from his record and a alcohol assesment done by a doctor that determined he is an alcoholic who "is a threat to himself and all other near him". With all this i am told by my attorney and the attorney hired for the children that it is highly unlikely that i (with a clean record and no addictions) can obtain full custody. We are 9 days away from trial. What can i do!?!?! He picked them up just last sat reeking of alcohol! He can't be trusted to take care of himself much less three kids. I am terrified. Please help!

by: Anonymous


My husband is an alcholic and abuse
by: Anonymous

Can I get Phyiscal and soal custody of my child. His been arrested 2 times for it but not charged. He plead guilty to pulling the telephone line and is on probation for 3 years. His was told not to verbally, physically, emtional abuse me. Am worried if he get custody my son well be in danger he likes to drink and drive. He has a DUI and drink in public. He was drunk when he last abused in fornt of my children. His been verablly abusing for the past 15 years and hitting me. He stoped but his dirnking was everyday and he would come home drunk and verbally abuse to me. I would have to leave the home with my son at 10-11pm to get away and be safe. Yes I took it for a long time but I thought of keeping my family together and he would change but it never happend. Know his filed for divorce and dispsiton of porperty. I live in the home and pay the payment can he kick me out?

Im REALLY scared
by: Anonymous

I was hoping for your opinions on my situation, as it is relatively similar. When I met my husband he was a social drinker, he had a very good job, and was very sweet to me. For some reason that I can't explain, soon after we got married, he started drinking heavily. Soon after that, he became verbally abusive all the time, and now hes physically abusive often. I'm pregnant with our first child. If I wasn't pregnant I wouldn't be as worried, but I'm scared that he may get super drunk one day and end up harming the baby somehow. I have moved out of our appt, but I'm scared to get divorced because I DO NOT want him to have any custody of our baby. There is NO way he could properly care for it, even for a few hours. Also, he is from Kenya and has threatened me many times that when the baby is born, he will come for the baby, take it from me, and take it to Kenya. Which would mean that I would probably never see my baby again..That would devastate me. What should I do??

by: Anonymous

Did you contact a lawyer? I am asking because my husband has gone from social drinker to an alcoholic over last 3 years. My daughter is 2. I know he loves her but he passes out and gets into violent fights with me in front of her. He is both verbal and emotionally abusive. He does get physical with me sometimes. I have tried to get him help. He also seems to be having some mental issues. I am afraid to leave bc I am in florida and I have heard that he will get partial custody. I would never take our daughter away from him but he is a danger to her right now. I have heard it will be his word vs mine. I am in school and he is only one working. I worked hard until I decided to go back to school. I have 2 semesters left. Will this look bad? I need advice. This is a life decision. I do not want my little girl crying when he goes crazy on me. I would leave but I cannot allow him to be alone with her with the way he is. I caught him drinking rubbing alcohol the other day. It is bad. Please help.

Alcoholism and Emotional Abuse
by: Anonymous

Start recording him from your cell phone and then go to the courthouse and file an order of protection on him. This prevents him from contacting you at all and no access to the baby. The judge will agree to a temporary order as long as you state all your reasons why you feel you need this protection. You will have to appear in court 2 weeks later for the judge to decide if the order should be granted. My advise is go ahead and hire an attorney and take those first steps to get away from your abusive spouse. I lived with the verbal abuse for 2 years and was always afraid to leave and always hoped that he would change and get better. But the bottom line he will not change and you can't change him. Make the move and if your decision scares him and he gets the professional help he needs then great and if not you need to have peace and to be able to provide your baby a loving him without the turmoil.

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