Single Parents - Divorced Adults Group Message Board › Seeking advice before I act.

Seeking advice before I act.

A former member
Post #: 48
Hello, I’m seeking advice. Even though I’ve been a member for a long time and know several of you well, I know most don’t know me or my circumstances so to sum up I’ve be divorced for 2yrs, my daughter is with me about 75% of the time, and my Ex is supposed to be on meds for chronic depression and other disorders.

My questions are, how does one classify child endangerment, abuse, and/or neglect. Would any of these pertain at all with my following issue and what should/can I do?

My Ex regularly leaves my daughter all alone, within her apartment, and takes a nap that can last 2 hours, maybe more. My daughter is either unable or unwilling to wake her for one reason or another. My daughter is also now able to get her cell phone and does call me almost every time this happens, and “whispers”. I feel helpless!! In the past, I’ve even told my daughter to call 911 if she doesn’t feel safe and can’t wake her up. She hasn’t done that yet!!! But I kindof hoping she does. I’m just very worried about her safety, now more then ever, when this occurs. She could up and leave the house and my Ex would never know… I’m now faced with, perhaps, calling social service but not sure if I should and very worried about the outcome. Plus, I feel horrible for not acting sooner. No, I have not confronted my Ex because it wouldn’t go anywhere, since she’s been like this for as long as I have known her. The main pattern I’ve seen is that the worse her depression gets the more frequent and longer she naps and /or sleeps. Which can total on the upwards of 15 hours or more per day, which was one of our issues when we were together.

Another issue I have is that my Ex only has one school night per week and she can not get my daughter into school on time. She only lives 4 block away and I’m 7 mile away. I have confronted her on this. It works for a few weeks and then she is late again. She is late almost 50% of the days that she is with my Ex.

Any advice would be great. My daughter just turned 7.
Feel free to send me a private email if you prefer too.
A former member
Post #: 4
ok just going by what you said, I'd say the child is in danger with your ex..... If your child feels helpless over there, I would say she is in danger. If you are worried, and your daughter is worried, then I think there is a good reason to be worried.

why isn't she on meds? I thnk she needs them and if she is not willing to do what is necessary to be "sane" to take care of daughter, then she doesn't need to have any kind of visitation at all...... and she should be told that also. if she is not willing to do what is necesary to take care of herself, then she should have no visitation whatsoever. yes I know what depression is like, it puts a wet blanket on your soul every day and sometimes it takes meds to help. I should know, I take fluoxotine (prozac) which helps the OCD nature of me...... but at least I don't get depressed and sleep like she does......

I don't know if you can swing it, but find a way to confront her with this and tell her no visitation or whatever until she gets her act together. sounds like you split from her because of mental problems. I'm sorry for that but she needs to make some changes to herself right now..... takes work though.

A former member
Post #: 1
Hi Steve,

I'm not sure if we met as I have only been to one monthly meeting and that was back in February. As a social work grad student at the UW for the last two years (I am graduating next week), I interned with child protection for both Dane (currently) and Rock (last year) counties investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect. If you want to talk you can feel free to respond to this message or call -- just send me your phone number.

Sonu
A former member
Post #: 5
Hi Steve,

I have worked in the mental health system for several years (not boasting - just informing for your comfort level!) and I think I understand the delicate situation you are faced with - if you want to talk please feel free to email me. It's not an easy situation and you sound like a caring individual trying to do the right thing with the least amount of pain involved for all.

I am very familiar with the child abuse laws but since there is an offer from a member working directly within that system I think it's a great opportunity to speak with her about any reporting obligations.

Glad to see we have a variety of help heresmile

Take care,
Dona
Kathryn
user 10588499
Madison, WI
Post #: 17
I truly don't think the court is going to consider taking a two-hour nap any form of neglect or abuse when your daughter is 7. Be careful what you say to your daughter also so that it is not perceived that you are making her fearful during these times or trying to turn her against her mother. If she was sleeping 15 hours a day while she physically had your daughter and you could prove it, then I would seek guidance from your attorney.

Kathryn
Kathryn
user 10588499
Madison, WI
Post #: 18
.......I don't know if you can swing it, but find a way to confront her with this and tell her no visitation or whatever until she gets her act together. sounds like you split from her because of mental problems. I'm sorry for that but she needs to make some changes to herself right now..... takes work though.

You can't just take away parental visitation if it is in any kind of court order for placement. You will be found in contempt and it could REALLY hurt you. Even if you go to a counselor and she/he suggests a change in placement, your ex could take you to court for contempt and win. The ONLY way you can change placement if it is in writing already is by court order. If she is in physical danger, you could deny placement, but then you would have to prove an extremely valid reason or could be found in contempt (i.e., physical abuse, rape, etc.) If they do not feel you had a valid reason and your wife pursued it, again, you would be found in contempt.
A former member
Post #: 49
The ONLY way you can change placement if it is in writing already is by court order. If she is in physical danger, you could deny placement, but then you would have to prove an extremely valid reason or could be found in contempt (i.e., physical abuse, rape, etc.) If they do not feel you had a valid reason and your wife pursued it, again, you would be found in contempt.


Oh! I agree with the above statement hands-down and my case it isn't nearly to that point.

I truly thank everyone for there input. I've just being pulled 3 ways (me, my daughter, and my mother) not knowing what to do or to say. That's way I made this posting in the first place, ie. to get a "reality check". I really not wanting to make a mess of things between my Ex and I now that we're just starting to get a long after 3 yrs. Also my daughter now does have a good relationship with her mother that has just developed over the last year and I would hate to see that get destroyed as well as destroying my own relationship with my daughter in consequence .

It's really a fine line when one parent doesn't like/agree with the behavior (wright or wrong) of the other parent, but I take solace in the fact that I'm no longer marred to them.

-Steve
A former member
Post #: 6
Just going to put my opinion out here.....

I would consult with someone regarding the sleeping/question of neglect issue. Excessive naps with no supervision for a 7 year old can be extremely dangerous. The child can get into medicines, poisons, etc....yes even at age 7. There is a "failure to protect" law and I guess I would ask myself this: "If my daughter ingests something, leaves the apartment, etc....if anything happens due to the mother sleeping excessively or neglect, AND I had knowledge that the risk was there, did I do everything I could to prevent it? Did I do all I could to keep my child safe? Did I check into all my options and obligations?"

My belief is that you must consider safety first. If something happens you can't go back -but if you have done all you could then at least you have peace of mind knowing you tried.

I agree that the approach has to be very carefully considered but the fear of the consequences i.e. contempt, etc...should not prevent you from acting on your instincts. You sound very concerned; concerned enough that you need to follow up at this point.
Take care and I really hope all goes well.....email if you would like to talk smile

~Dona
A former member
Post #: 1
I am in a similar situation with my ex and my 5 year old son. I have contacted lawyers and mental health professionals about the fact that my son is not getting his medication (life-threatening asthma) and reports other issues of concern to me. I have been informed by the psychologist, social workers that I work with, and lawyers that unless I have physical proof of neglect or abuse, there is really nothing that I can do about it. I could have my son see a therapist to discuss the issues that he brings up with me, but my ex can go to all appointments, and I think that my son may do a lot of editing with him there.

As far as changing placement goes, you can petition to have it changed after 2 years from the original agreement - unless you have proof of abuse, neglect, or intentional harm to your child. Then you can petition to do it sooner. I'm really sorry about all of this...

I don't know you at all - but I can relate to your situation. Good luck speaking with her, and make sure that you DOCUMENT EVERYTHING THAT YOU BOTH SAY!! I have been advised by legal counsel that any and all conversations that I have with my ex should be documented as thoroughly as possible.

Hope things go well for you...
Kate
A former member
Post #: 13
Just a comment on the therapist, from a personal expirience the sessions can be so that the child soley meets so the therapist understands what or how the child is feeling, then they meet with each of the parents separately and then all three meet, as to come to a solution to the challenge. It takes away some of the "pointing of the finger" feelings for the challeges of co-parenting.

Check with your phycisian or clergy for a reference when selecting a therapist too. Making sure your child is comfortable with the therapist is the key too.




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