exPDw in a facility

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pushit

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exPDw in a facility
« on: March 25, 2021, 12:50:26 AM »
I received a call tonight from my exPDw.  She was talking in code about how "some things happened" and she is in a place where they will not let her out of.  (I think we all know what that means)  Apparently she's been there for going on 6 days.  I looked up the number she called me from and it's a local mental health treatment facility.  She called me under the guise of "opening a dialogue" to become better co-parents, but she quickly headed to the victim role and I put a stop to it.  It was delusional.

Here's my biggest concern:  Today was the start of a 5 day period of parenting time for her.  Unbeknownst to me, she has been in this facility since 5 days ago.  Her parents picked up the kids from school and never notified me of the situation.  They are with her parents tonight and I've had no contact with them.  I should clarify that I'm not concerned about the kids' safety while with her parents, but I'm very concerned about exPDw being released and being with the kids right now.

Has anyone dealt with something similar?  Looking for guidance and thoughts, both for short term actions and potential long term outcomes.  Would you think this is enough to get supervised visitation for her?  Perhaps moving towards full custody?

I have already sent an email to my lawyer.  I imagine the kids will be with me tomorrow night and for the foreseeable future until we get some clarity on what happened and whether or not she's dangerous.  I also imagine tomorrow will be a busy day of phone calls with my lawyer.  Oh man, I need a beer...

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Penny Lane

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Re: exPDw in a facility
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2021, 12:09:05 PM »
Oh wow pushit, I'm so sorry, this is very stressful.

The good news is, the kids are safe for now. Take a breath. It won't help them to act without a plan; I hope you can take a beat to think through your options and find the best one for you.

In the very short term, the kids should definitely be with you today and until she gets out. If it came down to it, would her parents really try to stop you from picking the kids up from school? Can you get this accomplished without a court order?

In terms of a court order, what you need right now is a judge to say that as long as she's in a facility, or if she's determined to be a danger, the kids will be with you. I'm not sure how exactly you would track whether she is a danger. Your lawyer might have some ideas. But it seems feasible that you could get an emergency temporary order to keep the kids with you, say, for two weeks while you sort this out.

Then to figure out where you go from there, I think you need to know how she ended up in the facility. Was she charged with a crime? Did she attempt suicide? Drug use? Etc.

I think for now it's reasonable to ask for some kind of temporary full custody and/or supervised visitation for her while you figure out what's going on. But depending on what the situation is, in the long term you might be better served asking for some safeguards rather than total control. For example, I don't think a court is going to take away her parenting time forever because of a suicide attempt - people with (treated) depression can still go on be good parents. But if there is a pattern of threatening suicide in front of the kids, maybe that leads to more restrictions.

So asking for full custody is one option, yes, and might be the best route depending on those details that we don't know yet. Other options are: A provision that says if she is involuntarily committed the kids stay with you until her doctor signs off on her ability to care for them; if you have concerns about her mental stability (or drug use?) you have the right to keep the kids for up to a week at which point the court needs to step in; she has to follow the treatment plan ordered by doctors (I see this as somewhat useless but it can't hurt) otherwise the kids stay with you. What I'm saying is: Be flexible, and really think through what restrictions on her would make a difference if full custody isn't happening. And of course your lawyer can let you know what's actually feasible. I think an attitude of "she is hurting right now, I want to help out, and I want to make sure the kids are safe while she gets the help she needs" will go a long way.

I hope your lawyer can guide you here. Hopefully you can get an emergency temporary order that puts the kids with you for at least a couple weeks, and that will give you some time to try to brainstorm solutions rather than reacting to a crisis.

One other thing, the kids are probably scared and confused. When you next see them, I would devote some energy to projecting a calm, loving, in-control attitude (even if you don't feel calm or in control). They probably need to hear things like "everything is going to be OK" and "I'm not sure what is going on, but it sounds like your mom is getting some help that she needs and I'm going to work with the people helping her to make sure you guys can see her as soon as it's the right thing for everyone," "you guys are going to be OK, and I think your mom is going to be OK too." When you're dealing with a mess that the PD created or is in the middle of, it's easy to focus on dealing with the mess. But it's really important to take a moment and help guide the kids through the (probably inaccurate and scary) things they're hearing about from the other parent, and in this case potentially the grandparents.

You can handle this! Do what you can do for the kids. Let go of the things you can't control. And focus on getting everyone through this in one piece.

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GettingOOTF

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Re: exPDw in a facility
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2021, 03:05:56 PM »
I don’t have kids so have no experience to share on that side.

I do have experience with an ex who was in a secure facility twice. It is difficult to explain to people who have not been through this how hard it is to get someone in to one of these facilities. There are all kinds of laws and protections in place to the point that it is impossible to get anyone admitted against their will unless they have been actually physically violent, and even then there is a long list of criteria that is difficult for any but the most extreme cases to meet.

Even when they agree to go in on their own there are teams of people assessing them to protect the facility from lawsuits.  Someone has to be in a very bad way to end up on a secure psychiatric ward. This is absolutely something you need to be mindful of when it comes to her future contact with your children.  I won’t detail what my ex did for privacy reasons, but he essentially “snapped” out of the blue and I consider myself lucky to be alive. There was no evidence of the violence though so that didn’t help me. I had to talk him in to going in voluntarily with the threat of leaving if he didn’t.

It is a major red flag that your children’s mother is in a secure facility while she has physical custody of the children and no one notified you.  This should be addressed in any custody agreement.

This is 100% a time to make a call to your attorney and get an emergency custody arrangement drawn up then really think about what you want going forward. My experience is that these are not one off events.

From my experience people don’t walk out of these facilities in great mental shape ready to take on the world. My ex was only released as he wasn’t exhibiting violent behavior and my insurance only covered two weeks at a time. His doctor and the hospital social worker both agreed he needed longer but they couldn’t legally justify it. These decisions are made with the law in mind first.  You need to be aware of this when assessing your exes fitness to be around your children.

Edited to add. I would go in hard now. You can always loosen up the conditions later. It’s much harder to get more protection down the line when you don’t fight for it during an incident like this.



« Last Edit: March 25, 2021, 03:40:29 PM by GettingOOTF »

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pushit

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Re: exPDw in a facility
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2021, 10:59:11 PM »
Thanks for the replies, some great things to ponder.

Quick update:  Kids are with me, emergency motion has been filed.  I'm not going to go into any detail because this is in the beginning stages and volatile.  Going in hard, I'm certain this kind of thing will keep happening if I don't take action on this one.  So far the other side is denying everything and claim she's in the hospital for physical medical reasons, we expect their response to the motion tomorrow.  I'm sure it will be an interesting obfuscation of the truth.