Q. I messed up a year ago and passed out drunk while my wife was out and I was taking care of our 2-year-old. He was fine but she lost all trust in me. I spent the last year getting sober. I’ve held a job, stayed sober and went by to spend time with her and our son whenever she allowed. Despite my efforts she told me last week that she is not interested in taking me back.
I understand but I don’t want to lose our son in this process. She has refused to let me spend any time alone with him since that night. She works for the court and keeps telling me that no judge is going to let me spend time with our son until he is 12 unless she is present so I shouldn’t even bother fighting her on this. Is she right? Is there anything I can do now that I’m not already doing to win back some trust?
A. First of all, she is not right. The fact that you are now sober and doing the hard work to improve your life and your health is important and won’t go unnoticed. That being said, it is hard to prove a negative when she goes in and tells the judge all of the terrible things that happened when you were drinking. But there are ways to do it.
You should find a substance abuse monitoring company and start a routine of having yourself monitored with random urine tests and/or soberlink breath tests several times each day. One company I’ve had clients use is Paymer Associates. They can send you for random urine screens and/or hair tests and can monitor soberlink breath tests. If you have a few months of data in hand showing your sobriety, this presents an entirely different picture for a judge. I recommend you not tell your wife you are doing this.
Then, when a divorce complaint is filed you can ask for a temporary parenting plan with confidence going before a judge with your data. Admit what happened in the past and tell the judge that you have been proactive to turn things around so that you can be the father your son deserves. Then show the judge your clean testing data. It is highly unlikely your wife will persuade a judge not to allow parenting time.
Email questions to whickey@brickjones