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Last minute advice for custody evaluator visit in home?

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little turtle posted 11/25/2019 14:17 PM

We don't know what's going on over on the other side. We know you are going to be the best dad possible, no matter what the outcome.

When is the interview? Who will be there?

Bleu posted 11/25/2019 19:42 PM

You have an additional opportunity to advocate FOR you. Not against STBXWW.

1) Write an outline or short synopsis of what has already transpired with the evaluator.

2) Email your attorney that information and schedule a call.

3) Listen to her opinion and take notes.

4) Ask questions or think, come here, muse and go back with questions.

Do not just call. For most people, that means wasting money with emotional vents. Vent here for free or with your therapist for less money.

Your attorney needs to know what GF wrote in her letter and how to conduct damage control. That may mean addressing it. That may mean ignoring it. Your attorney should know the best approach based on the specific adjudicator for your case.

The issue here is not the truth of girlfriend's words. It's that she chose to discuss/disparage WW. One of the facets of custody is fostering or facilitating the relationship with the other parent.

This is your chance to ascertain whether you should address it or leave it alone. It's also your chance to see what the final interview means. You may acquire insight into the Judge or Master's preferences at this stage.

A big part of any litigation is putting on your case in the way the adjudicator wants to experience it.

barcher144 posted 11/26/2019 07:20 AM

Another mini-update: My lawyer emailed me last night, letting me know that the evaluator scheduled a meeting with both lawyers for December 19 to discuss the conclusions of the evaluation. So, the end of the evaluation is truly, 100% near.

When is the interview? Who will be there?

The interview is on Wednesday. Just me and the evaluator, one on one. Since my last one-on-one interview with her, both of us have done psychological testing and had our in-home visits. The evaluator has also interviewed all three kids one-on-one and presumably all of the reference letters were submitted.

Your attorney needs to know what GF wrote in her letter and how to conduct damage control. That may mean addressing it. That may mean ignoring it. Your attorney should know the best approach based on the specific adjudicator for your case.

The issue here is not the truth of girlfriend's words. It's that she chose to discuss/disparage WW. One of the facets of custody is fostering or facilitating the relationship with the other parent.

I guess that I have two responses for this:

1. My lawyer's advice, in general, is to answer the evaluator's questions honestly and directly and to not go off on tangents. I was told not to try to control the interview in any way, not that the evaluator would let me anyway. For a 68 year-old woman who probably doesn't weigh 100 pounds, she's pretty intimidating.

2. GF didn't directly disparage STBXW as you are envisioning. She merely spilled the beans on a lot of dirt that I know about STBXW that I was told by my attorney to not freely offer because it would make me look obsessed with STBXW. That is, a key question that the evaluator is addressing is whether or not I am "over" the marriage and that I can be a parent in spite of past hurts. Back to GF, she said things like "STBXW has already introduced the kids to her BF, but it's pretty obvious that she's cheating on him. How will the kids be affected when BF finds out and dumps STBXW?"

My basic concern isn't that GF disparaged STBXW. It's simply that I know all of this gossip about STBXW. It potentially suggests that I am obsessed with her still, whereas my actual demeanor is more of "meh".

Catwoman posted 11/26/2019 07:51 AM

So did you query your attorney directly about what the GF communicated to the evaluator? IMHO, I think it was a strategic blunder, since presumably the only way GF would know these things would be via you since she is not a family friend or anything of that nature (please correct me if I am wrong about this).

For GF to opine on STBXW's behavior is, in my opinion, out of line. The evaluator may see this as GF being your "mouthpiece" so that you aren't directly communicating this to the evaluator. Looking at this closely, she may see this as you trying to manipulate the outcome by using your GF to communicate things you wouldn't communicate directly.

I would proceed carefully and cautiously from here on out and seek your attorney's advice before doing something that could have significant consequences.

FYI--I have a policy that I don't discuss my ex or my myriad issues with him with my long-term SO, and he does the same with me. That's what IC or a best buddy is for. My time with my SO isn't something I want to taint with my toxic ex. Of course, he knows if I have gone to court or such, but we don't dwell on it.

Cat

barcher144 posted 11/28/2019 20:35 PM

This thread is totally off-topic, but it's my thread so I can do that, right?

A couple of unrelated updates.

Update#1. To give you the backstory, our dog bit my youngest (DS8) in July near his eye. The kid provoked the dog by poking her in the eye several times. One of my kids said "Mom has said that everyone says that she has to get rid of the dog, even her lawyer."

Eventually, I agreed to take the dog. She's a super sweet dog but I didn't want the responsibility. She's really helped out DD14 with her anxiety/depression and DD12 was super close to the dog.

So, once I got my new place, I took her in. Managing her has been easier than expected because GF takes care of her a lot. GF loves the dog and vice versa, so it works out for all of us.

Anyway, STBXW got a new dog for the kids for Christmas, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy. STBXW has claimed that she cannot afford the kids' band instrumental rental for school (~$50 per month) but she can afford this dog?

It's more than a little annoying, considering that STBXW works only 30 hours per week while I have had had to take on a second job to pay my bills because the judge's temporary ruling requires that I pay her more than $3000 per month.

Update#2. I started tapering off of my anti-depressant last week. I am experiencing some rather annoying physical symptoms... I need a lot more sleep than before and I have unusual aches and pains (muscles and joints).

Catwoman posted 11/29/2019 06:12 AM

A Chesapeake? I don't know about that. They're great dogs, but they take a special touch (I have one and have volunteered with CBR rescue for years). Someone who isn't mindful of how their children treat pets could have some real issues with a Chessie.

Cat

k8la posted 11/29/2019 08:29 AM

Does the evaluator know about the dog incident, and if so, it would probably be helpful to know she's gotten another dog without attention to the fact that your child is not kind to animals over there. Both child and dog need to be trained to be good around each other.

barcher144 posted 11/29/2019 10:40 AM

Does the evaluator know about the dog incident,

Yes, the evaluator knows.

My son has learned, the hard way, how to treat a dog. I still don't know what he was doing or why it triggered the dog to bite him, but he hasn't done anything like that since.

I now own the dog that bit him... and during the in-home evaluation happened, my son asked to give the dog a treat. It was unplanned, but I think that it shows nicely that my son is unafraid of the dog.

[This message edited by barcher144 at 11:16 AM, December 1st (Sunday)]

ZenMumWalking posted 11/30/2019 15:47 PM

I'm also tapering of one of my meds (AD Efexor). I have found that I need to go sloooooooooooow. The first 2 weeks I was sleeping about 20 hours a day, and for the few hours I was awake I had a MASSIVE headache.

All I can say is to make sure that you are tapering down as slowly as possible, and hang in there while the side effects (withdrawal) go down.

Wishing you the best outcome for custody!!

((((barcher))))

barcher144 posted 12/1/2019 11:21 AM

I'm also tapering of one of my meds (AD Efexor). I have found that I need to go sloooooooooooow. The first 2 weeks I was sleeping about 20 hours a day, and for the few hours I was awake I had a MASSIVE headache.

Thanks for sharing. I was wondering if I was having withdrawal effects or something else was going on. It sounds like it is the withdrawal effects... which is a little empowering, making feel like I should try and power through it.

The plan is to go very slowly. I was at 100 mg/day; we are going to stick with 75 mg/day for 2 months... and then 50 mg/day for 2 months... and 25 mg/day for 2 months...

My psychiatrist is pretty conservative with medication. The one thing that I have learned over the last 3 years is that she is usually right. I have many frustrations with my mental health care over the last 3 years, but none of that is from her.

tushnurse posted 12/2/2019 11:19 AM

Anyway, STBXW got a new dog for the kids for Christmas, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy. STBXW has claimed that she cannot afford the kids' band instrumental rental for school (~$50 per month) but she can afford this dog?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA..... She won't be able to manage this dog. Unless she got the one Chessie in the world that is easy to train, isn't bull headed, doesn't need to run daily and wont' be a chewer.

Like Cat said these dogs are great dogs, but you have to be an excellent and involved owner.

Also about weaning off SSRI's, go extremely slow and see your Dr about your other complaints the muscle aches etc. The body does keep score, and remember more than one of us here ended up with autoimmune arthritis as a result. Get seen, get tested if the Dr thinks it's appropriate. Some of these symptoms may be secondary to your new second job that physicality of it too.

But when weaning those meds you have to go really really slowly. One of the reasons I am not a fan.

hcsv posted 12/2/2019 13:04 PM

In addition to weaning symptoms from SSRIs, you may have emotions resurface that you thought you had already dealt with. This is also quite normal. I didnt think I had any more tears to shed, but there they were again. and I was only on meds for a few months.

barcher144 posted 12/3/2019 07:11 AM

Also about weaning off SSRI's, go extremely slow and see your Dr about your other complaints the muscle aches etc. The body does keep score, and remember more than one of us here ended up with autoimmune arthritis as a result. Get seen, get tested if the Dr thinks it's appropriate. Some of these symptoms may be secondary to your new second job that physicality of it too.

We're definitely going slow. When I told her that I wanted to start tapering, she warned me that it would take a long time. I told her that I understood, but that I wanted to get the process started.

The various aches and pains have started to subside. I also thought that it could have been caused by the handyman work, but the symptoms didn't correlate to my work activities very well. Also, the need for a lot of sleep was totally unrelated to anything. That also has subsided; I have slept a normal amount the last few days.

In addition to weaning symptoms from SSRIs, you may have emotions resurface that you thought you had already dealt with. This is also quite normal. I didnt think I had any more tears to shed, but there they were again. and I was only on meds for a few months.

Other than in my dreams (I've read that intense and emotional dreams are common when tapering), my emotions have been kept in check. I am really good at practicing my therapy skills, so that helps, I think. I went shopping with GF at Costco a couple of days ago and it was very crowded and GF started triggering because of it all. I remained calm and relaxed and I was even able to get her to calm down and relax.

Still, point well-taken. I expect to have some 'issues' as I taper.

The other good news is that the other, unwanted side effects of the anti-depressant seem to be softening. My sex drive has slightly increased and it has been easier to reach orgasm during sex. Most importantly, I used to have uncontrollable and painful yawning events... I haven't had one of those since I began the taper.

tushnurse posted 12/3/2019 16:55 PM

Are you going to be willing to take that Chessie when she says she cant keep the dog because it is bad?

demolishedinside posted 12/3/2019 18:44 PM

Slight thread jack...tushnurse, you donít like SSRIs?

tushnurse posted 12/4/2019 07:26 AM

Cont Demolished T/J
No I don't. There are plenty of older cheaper effective meds for the average person that can have less side effects, and can be stopped much more easily.

I know many Dr's hop right into that category of med before trying others because that's what is more commonly prescribed, but some of the additional benefit of the older meds is better sleep (which most of us here need) and less autonomic issues like IBS and Migraine. When you are super stressed and in a fight flight response which many here are, well those older meds w/ less side effects may actually be much more effective.

End T/J

ZenMumWalking posted 12/4/2019 08:47 AM

One more thing about the taper: I know you plan for 2 months, but don't be discouraged if 2 months isn't slow enough (it will not be for me, and that's ok).

((((barcher))))

barcher144 posted 12/4/2019 10:12 AM

Are you going to be willing to take that Chessie when she says she cant keep the dog because it is bad?

I want to combine threadjacks...

I will be willing to take that Chessie if, and only if, I am allowed to increase my dose of anti-depressants in the future.

barcher144 posted 12/4/2019 10:15 AM

No I don't. There are plenty of older cheaper effective meds for the average person that can have less side effects, and can be stopped much more easily.

I know many Dr's hop right into that category of med before trying others because that's what is more commonly prescribed, but some of the additional benefit of the older meds is better sleep (which most of us here need) and less autonomic issues like IBS and Migraine. When you are super stressed and in a fight flight response which many here are, well those older meds w/ less side effects may actually be much more effective.

I actually have not minded zoloft much. I felt better, in general. The tapering (so far) has been not a big deal. The yawning was definitely annoying, but I'll take the trade.

I will also say that mental health drugs, in general, scare the hell out of me. My experience with Abilify was horrible, but the getting onto the drug (it basically killed my will to live) and the tapering off of it (severe anxiety). Not to shift the thread jack back to being on topic, many of STBXW's accusations against me were valid while I was dealing with Abilify.

barcher144 posted 12/4/2019 10:22 AM

One more thing about the taper: I know you plan for 2 months, but don't be discouraged if 2 months isn't slow enough (it will not be for me, and that's ok).

I have a *really* good relationship with my psychiatrist and I trust her very much. And, she and I will go slow if needed.

It's also a moot point. I think whatever weird things happen when the dose is reduced... they have subsided.

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