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Could therapy work against me?


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Hi OnlyHuman,

I don't think you are being paranoid. I think the question you raise is very valid, esp. in your situation. I would think a very "good" lawyer would take advantage of anything having negative connotations look really bad for you to help your children's father win, at any cost. Just my opinion, but I'm looking at it from a cautious point of view. You should check w/ your lawyer before doing anything that could be perceived as unfavorable to your character as a mother (influencing caregiver) to your children. I have no personal experience w/ divorce, but I've heard the "dirty tactics" stories from relatives who did. I wish you well and take care.

Edited by karai
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Good morning and welcome, Onlyhuman,

This has to be a tough rode right now. I have typically strayed from custody issues but have had to on occasion go to court to testify as an "expert witness". Every state is different, but one common theme is that the court will ignore your treatment issues entirely unless there currently is or has been a history of neglect or abuse on your part, towards the children. Also, the judge will look at whether or not you have the means and capacity to raise your them (a safe home, financially able to meet their needs). Finally, they'll look at your stability-- are you or have you been a danger to yourself or others, are you capable of taking care of yourself (i.e., you are not mentally ill to the point of self neglect).

Your husband can raise issues of (and ex's often do b/c they think it will sway the judge) of you needing or being in therapy ("she's in therapy and is seeing a psychiatrist for depression.... or anxiety or..). But, the judge will determine whether these issues will genuinely affect your ability to provide a safe, loving home. If not, you should have no problems. These things your attorney can give you more info on. One other thot on this, some courts have interpreted your being in therapy as a good sign-- one that indicates an effort to heal and get past the struggles your having so that you can be a better parent in the end.

One quick thot though, to ransom your children to force your ex to "man-up" will backfire and cause more damage than good to them. Karai is right, the court will not take kindly to this tactic and may force you to allow visitation or even give joint custody (unless your ex has a history of abuse/neglect towards you child). In a worse case scenario, I've seen judges rule against a parent who was completely insistent/adamant that she would not allow her ex to see them unless he paid child support-- they interpret this behavior as self serving and not in the best interest of the child. So, be very careful.

More importantly, if your children grow up fatherless and eventually discover you "ransomed" them for money as the reason for it (which you should justifiably get), it may cause great damage to your relationship with them. This decision is too important to let money and your anger/pain determine. Your children need their father, regardless of what's happening between both of you-- at this point it "ain't about you and him"-- it's about what's best for the children, and this "pay up if you want to see him" could be interpreted as your not working in their best interest (which can create a question mark in the judge's mind about your judgment and decision-making).

This stuff goes on daily in family court, a nonpaying ex--- and a pissed off ex trying to extract money from the ex who won't help out. Many judges throw this issue out immediately as a non-custody issue, but they will compel the husband to pay up on his own, or have his wages garnished, and in some jurisdictions, have him spend a brief and luxurious vacation behind bars as a gentle nudge to "man-up!"

I say this as a father, as an abandoned son who has never had biological parents to speak of, as a mental health professional who's worked with children and families for >30 years, and as someone who reluctantly has been asked by the court to testify on these matters. I understand your pains here and where you're coming from, and it feels very wrong that the "lowlife" should get to see his child w/o doing his part-- this is only natural and just. But it only hurts your child, it hurts you because it maintains the bitterness in your heart, and it forces a court's judgment against your wishes (which makes the situation more aggravating).

Good luck and I hope this helps.

Edited by David O
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