Modification of Current Custody Order


Minor child which ex-husband and I share custody with is almost 9 years old. We have a joint legal custody with primary residential custody being with me the mother.(parenting agreement incorporated into order signed late 2011 by judge).

The order clearly addresses certain issues like excessive alcohol consumption and vulgar and degrading language used by father in the presence or where the minor child can hear. Over the course of the last year the situation has gotten worse as his alcoholism has increased and I now fear the safety of our child and most days myself. He has never physically abused our son and in fact pretends to be dad of the year to the outside world. My son now comes home to me upset, and confused. In the last three months our son has begin to act out, begged his father to not drink and now doesn’t want to go because his words " It’s boring, all there is to do is sit around and watch daddy drink". I have never degrading his father and never talk bad about him to our son. I catch myself trying to make excuses for his fathers behavior so he doesn’t know how bad it really is. The cycle of abuse has not stopped even though I am divorced because we still have to communicate about parenting issues. The last straw was when pick up occurred this weekend and ex-husband came to pick up intoxicated and I would not let him ride with him. I am called ugly names by the ex, yelled out and it upsets my son to hear his father say these things to the point where our son says, mom, why is he like this? why does he yell? I try to hold back the tears but if even one slips out my son says mama, don’t cry, he is just mean to you and I am sorry. His abuse is not aimed at our son directly, just at trying to destroy my relationship with our son, which I am not worried about. My son loves me and we are close and I am and have always been his primary caregiver. I just think at eight years old I have to do everything possible to make sure he doesn’t have to hear these things, my job is to protect him and I feel like I am failing.

I have all of this documented, recorded his rants, the fathers constant suicide threats, threatening to kill me and others. I know how in the past I was advised I have to concrete evidence to prove his alcoholism and abuse. I don’t want to spend our life and time feeling like I have to record and write down details when his actions are so blatant. I have requested return to mediation to modify custody order due to change in circumstance today. I am tired and I can’t sleep at night knowing the verbal abuse and manipulation my son is subjected to. I never wanted him not to have a relationship with his father, or never wished to limit his time. He currently has him 8 days a month. I have tried to co-parent to no avail. He refuses all compromises and does nothing wrong and finds nothing wrong in this vulgar nasty language around child. He is more concerned with making me suffer and to cause me pain at the expense of our child(his words) and making me pay for me leaving him after a 13+ year marriage.

My question is: When I go back how hard will it be for me to request a psychological evaluation for him, address his alcoholism or testing and updating the parenting agreement in place? If he doesn’t comply now, how will redoing the order change the situation? At this point would Contempt of Court be the better route to go since we already have an order in place that addresses all of the above behaviors he is just not going to comply with them. His mental instability scares me and frequent outburst still emotionally wear me out and I am not even married to this man!!! The last time I mentioned court he called our son without my knowledge drunk and told him he was leaving this place. Am I facing a huge uphill battle? what I don’t want it him to end up with more time which he says if I take him back to court, he is going for 1 week on and 1 week off. I can barely stomach the 8 days after seeing what it is starting to do to our child. What legally can I do to make him see it has to stop today? please help! After being apart for two years, and divorced for 6 months I need peace. Any advice would be appreciated.


Specifics about the level of difficulty you will face when you pursue your claim are outside of the scope of this forum, but I would file a motion for contempt as well as a motion to modify to have as many options as possible.