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Divorcing an alcoholic...custody issues

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Joined: 18 Feb 2011
Posts: 1
State or Province: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:13 am    Post subject: Divorcing an alcoholic...custody issues Reply with quote

In the past year, I have been struggling with trying to figure out if my husband just has a verbally abusive personality or if it is due to alcoholism (part of my struggle was figuring out if he really was an alcoholic as I have really never been exposed to this before). He expressed willingness to stop drinking alcohol this past weekend, but then failed and is sneaking it in the garage and he thinks I don't know. We have a very young child who is too young to realize what is going on right now, but I really want to protect her from seeing her father slowly kill himself with alcohol and from seeing her mother sit there and take verbal and emotional abuse when he is drunk, not to mention constant belittling. My husband only drank a little (socially) when we met and married and was a completely different person. I never saw signs of alcoholism then...there wasn't a pattern and he was a kind and affectionate person. He did a complete turnaround within a week of when our baby was born. He is unwilling to get outside help and gets mad at me when I say anything. I've read everything about detaching from the alcoholic and just taking care of yourself and your child(ren), which is all well and good, but we do live in the same house, and criticism, belittling and threats from him don't make it easy to detach.

I know now that I should definitely leave. I need to protect my child from this and I think it's the only way to "detach" and really have a functional life. My question to everyone is: has anyone had experience with custody issues with one alcoholic parent? Part of my H's emotional abuse has been to say, "if you don't like the way I treat you, you can leave, but I will get the baby." Although I know he would not get full custody of the baby, our state has custody laws that recommend equal time with both parents. He cannot be trusted to drive her anywhere with his drinking, or be fully mentally present and able to care for her appropriately since by the end of every evening he is in a beer-induced fog. However, I can't really "prove" that he is an alcoholic because I drive us everywhere so he has no DUI's (I realize this is enabling, but it's a necessity for the safety of our child and myself), now he's hiding his empty cans, he pays for the alcohol with cash or a credit card for which I do not have access to the statement and throws away the receipts, and I would call him a functioning alcoholic who goes to work everyday and doesn't drink till he hits the front door. Any ideas? I have been looking up attorneys so I can have a consultation, but I just wanted some input before all that. Financially, I am able to take care of the baby and provide a home (albeit not the same one we have now) for my child. I just would like to know what I'm up against, because I would feel like the worst mother in the world if he got partial custody and I had to hand her over to him, knowing full well that he would be drunk before the evening was over. I would constantly worry about her safety.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated! Feeling a little desperate...
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