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Question
Posted by: Teresa | 2007/04/13

custody battle

My brother is married to an alcoholic. She has a serious problem and has been in and out of homes over the years. He has basically brought the children up and is a fantastic father. She stopped drinking and decided that she wanted a divorce. My brother was very prepared to stay together for the children's sake, but she wanted no part of it. Although my brother has fought for custody, the courts awarded custody of the children to her - dispite her history. His main concern was obviously the children and he is so concerned that she might have a relapse as this has happened before (the children are still very young). Financially she has taken him to the cleaners and he has nothing and less than that and on top of that he has to pay her lawyers even though it was her who asked for the divorce. Its cost him so much money which he simply does not have. To top it all she is now in a lesbian relationship and her girlfriend is now living with her (my brother pays the rent!!). He fought the divorce as he desperately wanted custody of the children because he is so concerned about them but it seems that the guy just stands no chance of custody even though the wife is wrong on all parts. Has anyone any experience of this situation who could offer some advice. He just wants his children to have a normal life and, as I said, he is the most amazing father. Even when they were together he did absolutely everything for them, taking them to and from school, buying their clothes, visits to the doctor, putting them to bed, feeding them and educating them.

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Our expert says:
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Courts do at times make fatuously stupid decisions, unfortunately. It sounds most odd for them to give children who have been previously neglected by her, to an alcoholic mother, even if she is not drinking at present. Sounds like his lawyers may have been less than effective. Did the court know about the lesbian relationship, at his expense ? I hope he has still got access to the children, and can remain available to them when, as seems fairly likely, the mothers slides out of control again.
And I agree that the case should be discussed with the Family Advocate, at least so as to prime the pump if the matter of custody and maintenance has to be revisited if the mother slips up again

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Our users say:
Posted by: teresa | 2007/04/13

Ok - got the web site for the family advocate - sounds very promising so thanks I've given him the details - hopefully something positive will come out of this.

Reply to teresa
Posted by: Teresa | 2007/04/13

CP - PS. No the courts did not know about the lesbian relationship as this only came out a couple of months ago and the girlfriend only moved in very recently - so they know nothing about it. He lawyers were so ineffective - she's got a really sharp lawyer - and he has to pay thousands and thousands of rands for both lawyers.

Reply to Teresa
Posted by: teresa | 2007/04/13

CP Never heard of the Family Advodate - do you have the contact details. He did manage for the court to approve that he would have immediate access to the children should anything happen again in the drinking department which I guess is a good thing. I just think that he has lost so much as an innocent party and she is just getting away with everything - its really so unfair.

Reply to teresa
Posted by: Been there | 2007/04/13

Has he been to the Family Advocate? They are really very helpful and are mainly concerned about what is best for the children. The will speak to everyone involved as well as the children. It might help. Keep fighting this. It is in the best interest of the children.

Reply to Been there
Posted by: Maria | 2007/04/13

It is so unfair that the court still favours the mother in these situations. I don't have advice, but why don't you also post your question to the Divorce Support forum.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: teresa | 2007/04/13

They're 10 and 7 so nope

Reply to teresa
Posted by: RMC | 2007/04/13

How old are the children? Anychance they could choose to live with him?

Reply to RMC

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