Can I take custody away from my husband if we are married? 13 Answers as of May 20, 2011

My husband and I are married, but I am worried about leaving our daughter around him because he gets drunk 3-4 times a week and I think it is negatively impacting her. I want to have custody of our daughter until he cleans himself up. Is it possible for me to do this? What steps do I need to take?

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Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
A custody case may be commenced at any time, even if the parents are married, but residing separately. A court makes custody determinations based on what it deems to be in the child's best interests. Certainly chemical abuse would be a valid consideration in such a proceeding.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 5/20/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
There may be some resolution that I am simply unaware of, but I don't know the answer. You could probably enter into a written agreement that he won't drink while having custody of the children, but I just don't know how you would enforce it without involving a court. You didn't indicate that you were thinking about divorce, and I hope you are able to avoid it. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 5/19/2011
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
You will have to make an application to the court, and prove what is in the best interest of your child. If the father is a drunk, he can be set up to lose this important issue as long as you have competent legal counsel advising you how to do this. Simply the fact that he gets drunk is not enough. However, we can devise a plan to fill in the missing elements and obtain custody for you, if the missing elements are available.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/18/2011
Law Office of Curry & Westgate
Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
Hire a family law attorney, file for divorce and custody.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/18/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
Until there is a court order establishing the respective rule applicable to each parent, each parent has equal and unlimited rights to take action and make decisions concerning the child. While you can, legally, deny the father access you need to consider the question of how he will react and what he might do. If all he chooses to do is file for a divorce and/or custody, you can debate the best interests of the child in a courtroom and a judge will decide if and what limits to place on the father's access. However, if he becomes violent or threatening (which a lot of drunk men do), without a court order you will have little basis to enforce your decisions or to protect yourself.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 5/18/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    I am sorry to hear of your troubles. You should protect your daughter. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the first office visit. I know people worry about how expensive a lawyer is, so I am careful to be as inexpensive as I can for my clients. Before you spend a dime, you will know how much this is likely to be.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 5/18/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You can file a motion for custody in your local Judicial District courthouse.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/18/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    You can obtain sole legal and physical custody. You need to file an Order to Show Cause, re: Custody and Visitation. You and the father will be sent to Mediation. Be sure to be very specific regarding the dates and instances of the father's drinking habits and incidents.Do not stand for, or permit, the Mediator to give you short shrift and minimize your claims of negligence and misbehavior by the father.Unfortunately, it happens too frequently. You need to conclusively demonstrate to the Court, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the father is a danger to the children. Move for professionally supervised visitation, or at least visitation supervised by a neutral family member.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/17/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    I understand your concern. If you want custody of your children, you will need to separate from your husband and file a divorce or legal separation case to enable you to seek sole custody of your children. Whether that will bring your husband to his senses is questionable, but if you need an Order from the Court granting you custody of your children, that Order would need to be made in an appropriate legal proceeding.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/17/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    File for divorce or separation.Seek an ex parte order preventing him from having non-supervised contact until there is a temporary order hearing. At the temporary order hearing, argue the supervision and non-drinking needs to continue until he's assessed and treated. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/17/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    Assuming you are asking this question in contemplation of a divorce, in Washington State, commence a divorce action and seek immediate temporary orders for custody.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/17/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    So long as you are married, there is really no way to get custody of your child and keep your child separate from your husband. Mother's and Father's share equality before the Judge with respect to children. Now that is not to say parents are to harm their children or endanger them, but it also does not mean that every parent will be the best. Your husband is setting a poor example for your child and she will have detrimental influences on her from seeing him drink, but unless you take action to separate yourself, you will not have much influence. Here is the rub; if you leave your husband, he will have rights to parenting time as well and you will not be present during those parenting times. If the drinking can be documented with receipts showing volume, pictures of him passed out (date stamped), testimony from witnesses who have seen his bad behavior in front of the child then it may very well be possible to mandate treatment for him before he can have unsupervised parenting time with his child. Before you do anything drastic, your question raises many questions in my mind to ask you, so call if you want further guidance.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/17/2011
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