Greetings, my favorite purple peeps.
In the five years post-divorce, I've had sole custody of the three cakelets. They are now in HS, MS, and elementary school. The terms of the divorce allowed the ex Herr Funnelcakes (the pineapple fucker) to have EOW and 1 weeknight dinner with the kids if he complied with the limitations in terms of alcohol monitoring.
In a move that will surprise negative infinity percent of the people familiar with him, he was unable to comply with the terms. They were to 1. file monthly treatment updates with the court; 2. to allow me to speak with his treatment providers as needed and 3. for me to be able to request up to 2 urine analysis tests for alcohol per month. (Not that he has a problem peeing...insert trombone noise.) If he didn't comply, he was to use supervised visits. Which he has been doing sporadically for over 4 years. Sometimes he would go 6 months without seeing the kids. Sometimes he would set up a visit with a supervisor and they would sit in a booth at a Subway next to the highway for two hours. Sometimes he would schedule regular visits. I only once attempted to contact his providers (they were like WTF, who are you) and fewer than 5 times requested UAs, always coinciding with a visit. He maybe filed 20% of the treatment updates with the court during the past 5 years. Which he couldn't do for whatever curvature of the earth lasagna Bernoulli's principle funnelcakes is a meany kumquats blah blah reasons.
Bottom line, I'm happy we're divorced and I'm not the vice squad. If he's not filing regular updates with the court and generally non-compliant, I don't give a shit what he's up to. If he has the kids unsupervised? Then I would give all of the shits.
Amidst the panini he's decided that the best way to avoid the rona during visits is to conduct them with a social worker in his converted ambulance-cum-camper. This is not relevant to the legal milieu nor even my current question but I'm only 99% detached and still find it exquisitely delicious that the only solution he's found for parenting is in a literal waaaah-mbulance. If you try to 180 but you only do 178, things like this will come up and you will laugh way too hard.
Since the divorce, he's lost some jobs, got a DUI, sadly lost his mother to pancreatic cancer (I was able to see her with the kiddos before she passed...love her forever and and eternally grateful I got the chance.) He's sent us to mediation twice, called the cops on me for a "wellness check", filed three motions that have been thrown out by the court or that they have struck the day before, cost me thousands in legal fees, and most recently tried another round of unsuccessful mediation last year. That went to non-binding arbitration to give us a new parenting plan. Since the mediator/arbitrator is also a family court judge* it seemed like if he took his complaints back to court the arbitration would stand. Please note that he would not sign the new arbitrated agreement he initiated, even though my attorney followed up on it. Repeatedly.
Then the pustulant carbuncle writes to me more than half a year after arbitration saying, "since we have a new parenting plan Imma start having unsupervised visits" and I reminded him that he never signed the new agreement nor was it filed with the court and that under the plan effective at the time of the divorce he was not in compliance. This meant another motion against me including being asked for fees. The family court judge in the hearing didn't even allow my attorney to argue, he just awarded ME fees...that's how unhinged their motion was. But it did put the new parenting plan into effect.
With the new parenting plan -- which is materially the same in terms of custody time if the feckless mouthbreather ever does the alcohol compliance -- he has to file monthly treatment updates, give me access to his alcohol treatment providers, a month to activate monitoring with Soberlink for twice daily breathalyzer tests. Which, I low-key hate because I do not care if he's pickling himself into oblivion unless he's with the kids. Get hammered with his new friends (because he can't keep the old ones) -- I don't care. Mimosas with his girlf**? Not my circus unless my kids are there. But thanks to Soberlink monitoring, starting last week I started getting daily e-mails of the results of his breathalyzer tests.
For everyone jonesing for a plot twist, you will be disappointed that he continues to be on brand and not 36 hours after activating Soberlink (three months after he was ordered to do in within 30 days) he missed a test at 8:00 p.m. Friday. I'm sure there are many reasons one could not access a cell-phone connected breathalyzer on 8:00 p.m. on a Friday, and so that's y'all's creative writing prompt for the week.
This is now in my consciousness in a way that it never was before, because it's new data that I have to track and use to show him he's not in compliance. I also never wanted this level of enmeshment with his addiction, because when he was doing his treatment theater after D-Day it was clear that the field on which I grew my fucks was barren. The other thing that is bizarre about his whole alcoholism journey is that his interpretation of the divorce was that I left him at his lowest point in his life.***..he has brought this up in every mediation since the divorce. The mediator actually popped into my zoom room on the last go round, as was like, yo, WTF with this guy****.
Anyhow, I'm mostly writing to vent about the new plan which allows more granular insights into his wankery and also to ask the eternal yet largely rhetorical question what the hell does one actually DO with said data points. Anybody used Soberlink as part of custody stuff? Wisdom?
The kids are thriving. Everybody is doing some kind of quirky extracurricular. They're all in advanced learning tracks at their respective schools. They made me a Mothers Day card from the washer and dryer. They can cook meals, joke in several languages, and have the tightest sibling bond ever. None of this will end if he starts getting unsupervised visits, but the older two are pretty uninterested in having their lives disrupted travel to a beige culdesac in the exurbs every other weekend when they don't really have a relationship with him. He hasn't really comprehended that they've aged from 8,5, and 1. The eldest just turned 15 and he got her a LEGO set of Disney's Frozen. Like, she's into Mandarin, poker, ukulele, and calculus right now...she's not seven...LET IT GO, dude.
Theoretically, he could work into some new phases of custody (e.g. 6 hours unsupervised, one overnight per week, EOW) but every slip will result in re-setting to supervised visits. I'm not looking forward to the logistics churn nor the return to dealing with him and his fragile grasp on the space/time continuum. Or his finely honed if wildly misapplied sense of justice. I'm also scared to look forward to any time off from the cakelets, as I think it will be truncated by stupid and because I don't want to get my hopes up that my gentleman caller and I could actually have 24 hours of uninterrupted time to pursue our mutual interests*****.
So talk to me about long-term shared custody with an alcoholic. Talk to me about your Soberlink monitoring. Tips? Tricks? Commiserations? I'm all ears.
*WTAF with this family court industrial complex???
**Not the AP but to paraphrase the immortal ADryHeat: I hope for the sake of the sisterhood that he's dating laterally but for the sake of my kids I hope he's dating up.
***Yes, divorcing an unremorseful cheating alcoholic after we were fired from a year from marriage counseling. Total betrayal of vows on my part.
****Seriously don't blame supply chain issues because no one has been able to find a tiny violin. This guy has all of them. He's hoarding a strategic reserve of tiny violins.
*****Hahaha I'm not referring to documentaries and geocaching in this particular context.