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Question
Posted by: me | 2012/02/15

What can we do?

I posted this on the Family Law site but there does not seem to be anyone answering there and I am literally going crazy with worry on the subject.

My daughter, who has been diagnosed and being treated for Borderline Personality Disorder wants to divorce her husband and take the children with her. Children are 7 (from previous relationship) and 15 months old (with current husband). The problem being, she is quite erratic at times, goes out for days (and nights) at a time leaving the children with her husband - who by the way is very good with the children - thank goodness. So for the timebeing they are fine and well cared for when she has an episode. She also drinks heavily and apparently uses dagga - for which she has been charged with the sale of - case is pending. Our dilemma is that if she leaves her husband and takes the children, we, my husband and I are of the opinion that these children will not be well cared for at all. We are all for the father taking care of the children but the elder one is not his and therefore by rights should go with her.

The welfare are supposed to do regular visits to the home but have not been there in over 8 months and they say she is legally entitled to take the children as she is there mother. But they do not see that side of her behaviour. Whenever they are (arranged visits) there her behaviour is perfect and house in order. They do not see her when the police need to be called because she is drunk and disorderly

Please keep in mind this is my daughter we are talking about, I love her unconditionally and accept that she has a problem and sometimes is the sweetest and most beautiful person but we are talking about the welfare of two little people here who dont deserve to be left alone and screamed at for making a mistake when mommy has had too much to drink or is just in a nasty mood.

It sounds so dramatic, but I really cannot explain what these kids are seeing and feeling. What are the legal implications in a matter like this? Your opinion would be most grateful.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Sorry to hear that Family Law seems absent at present. Not every expert can respond every day.
Borderline Personality Disorder includes really bad behaviour and thoughtless about the needs of others. It does not include "episodes" such as we see in Bipolar Disorder. Substance abuse makes things worse, of course. She sounds, not surprisingly, like someone a court would probably consider to be an unfit mother.
Imagine if she had custody of the kids and decided to go out for days at a time, without having the stable husband to leave them with - what would happen ? The elder child should not automatically go with an irresponsible mother who wouldn't care p[roperly for the child, and a court would be required to decide the matter governed by the primary issue of what would be best for the children.
Soundslike the welfare people are being irresponsible, thoughtless and lazy, too. And if they are stupid enough to rely on impressions gained on pre-announced visits giving her loads of time to prepare to pretend everything is perfect, then they are being irresponsibly stupid and endangering children.
You and the father MUST get a legal opinion. As said, many lawyers will offer a free hour for a preliminary opinion, and law schools should have a free law clinic.
Your daughter won't benefit from having the children with her, and needs highly skilled personal psych treatment, which isn't easy to find. Congratulations to you for having the responsibility to place the welbeing of the children as the first priority
Her case about the dagga won't improve her chances. Do you even know if she WANTS to have the children with her and carry that responsibility ?

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4
Our users say:
Posted by: me | 2012/02/16

Firstly sorry about the " episode"  word - that''s what we at home call her binge days. Two seperate doctors have said she is BPD and the one she is with at the moment has prescribed her meds which in my mind she abuses - takes too many at a time. To us, she has actually been worse on the meds than off but she says her doc says she is doing fine and she says it is us who has the problem!! She is sweet one minute and one wrong word and she goes crazy! Typical BPD. I have had her at many doctors and therapists and she ends up not going back saying she is fine. What she actually tells them is beyond me, she cannot be " fine"  and still act this way - it is not normal.

She loves her children and is a really good mommy a lot of the time but when she is bad, she is really mean. She also uses the children as a " bargaining"  tool eg you cannot see the kids this weekend because you called the police/traffic etc for me. At the moment I am not allowed to see the children at all because the police arrested her for " drunk and disorderly"  when I call them to the house one evening when she was out of control and the children were really frightened. So we always get punished for trying to do the right thing.

The situation is really complicated and I dont think people would believe what day to day life with her is actually like but I do thank you all for the advice and help.

Reply to me
Posted by: almost mad | 2012/02/16

Sounds like such a dificult situation. You sound like a good mother and you should not feel bad about wanting to put the kids with the husband. I worry about the kids, as they need someone who is stable and who wont disapear and put their lives in harms way. Why doesnt your daughter take medication? Maybe you could take her to the docter and get her to some treatment, then perhaps she will be okay to take care of the kids.

Reply to almost mad
Posted by: Obvious | 2012/02/16

You do not need opinions from a Shrink site but sound legal advice.

Most lawyers give one hour free legal consultation - if you do not have funds to go further they will direct you to the nearest free legal clinic.

Reply to Obvious
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/02/16

Sorry to hear that Family Law seems absent at present. Not every expert can respond every day.
Borderline Personality Disorder includes really bad behaviour and thoughtless about the needs of others. It does not include "episodes" such as we see in Bipolar Disorder. Substance abuse makes things worse, of course. She sounds, not surprisingly, like someone a court would probably consider to be an unfit mother.
Imagine if she had custody of the kids and decided to go out for days at a time, without having the stable husband to leave them with - what would happen ? The elder child should not automatically go with an irresponsible mother who wouldn't care p[roperly for the child, and a court would be required to decide the matter governed by the primary issue of what would be best for the children.
Soundslike the welfare people are being irresponsible, thoughtless and lazy, too. And if they are stupid enough to rely on impressions gained on pre-announced visits giving her loads of time to prepare to pretend everything is perfect, then they are being irresponsibly stupid and endangering children.
You and the father MUST get a legal opinion. As said, many lawyers will offer a free hour for a preliminary opinion, and law schools should have a free law clinic.
Your daughter won't benefit from having the children with her, and needs highly skilled personal psych treatment, which isn't easy to find. Congratulations to you for having the responsibility to place the welbeing of the children as the first priority
Her case about the dagga won't improve her chances. Do you even know if she WANTS to have the children with her and carry that responsibility ?

Reply to cybershrink

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