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Do we need a lawyer? BM addicted to OXY.

Mermar90's picture

So we just found out via public news that several months ago BM was caught stealing oxycodone from elderly patients at her medical facility. At the time, she admitted that she was stealing them for herself because she was addicted to them. She was charged with 2 felonies and the court hearing is next week. It's weird because we've been talking to her/seeing her since then and had no idea.

Of course my SO and I are quite literally shaking upon hearing the news and desperately want to do anything we can to help SD (13) who is currently living with BM and may have no idea that this is happening or what is going ot happen. Will BM have to do jail time? Will she have to do a tough rehab program? What if she relapses? How will all of this be on SD whom, I might add, has ADHD, behavioral issues, often mentions how she has no friends and is no good at anything, and has been struggling in school... and now this. Can BM handle all of SD's needs as well as her own?

My SO and I could give SD the world. We have stable jobs and just bought a townhouse with a spare bedroom that SD could have. But how do we do this? And should we do this?

I imagine considering that this is BM's first offense and that it is non-violent that the court may go easy on her. Best case scenario she may get to do an outpatient rehab program from home. I assume in this case that the court would not threaten to remove her child from her because they typically side with mom's and again, this is her first non-violent offense.

So do we just sit by and let this happen? Or do we get proactive? Are we supposed to be trying to negotiate directly with BM? Or do we go full legal mode and get a lawyer?

Have you ever been in a situation like this? What did you do? We're ready to act, but haven't quite decided on the best way to do that yet.

tog redux's picture

Well, addiction isn't necessarily a reason to lose custody of your child. She most likely was functioning fine, considering you didn't notice and she was still working; and since SD is 13, and therefore relatively self-sufficient, it's probably not a CPS issue, either.

My guess is that if it's her first offense, and she is willing, she will get probation and go to rehab.  If your DH is on good terms with her, I'd suggest that he reach out to her and say he saw the news and will help with SD however she needs him to.

If he's not on good terms, I'd just wait and see what happens. It's not a reason to swoop in and try to get custody, necessarily. Given your post history, I'm not sure you really want custody of her anyway.

advice.only2's picture

I respectfully disagree. The BM should lose custody and if the court sees fit she be allowed supervised visitation given she completes rehab and is able to maintain a sober lifestyle, completes probation, as well as submits to random drug testing.
You aren't functioning fine when you are needing to steal medications to feed your addictions. How often has the BM driven while high with the kid in her car...putting the childs life at risk? How often has the BM been zoned out to the point of being incapable of making any types of decisions should an emergency arise while shes with her child.
Hiding this from your DH is not showing she has any remorse for her actions, more that she is hopeful she will get off easy and continue to pretend everything is good. She probably also hid this because she knew she would lose custody if it was found out.

tog redux's picture

I'm not saying what should be. I'm saying what will be. If no one can prove that she did any of the above things you mentioned, she won't lose custody.

A lot of opioid dependent people never even look high, especially if they are taking pills and not shooting up.

She won't lose custody. Maybe for as long as she needs to be in rehab, but long-term? Nope. Plus, who knows, maybe she was stealing them to sell them? We don't have all the facts.

advice.only2's picture

I can agree, but OP's DH should consult a lawyer to see what his options are. Reality is she is doing something illegal and facing serious charges, if she was being charged with misdemeanors I could see letting it go, but felonies carry harsher punishments. Meth Mouth only ever got misdemeanors and DH still was able to get custody and retain it, despite Meth Mouth taking him back to court every three to six months for seven years. I know different cases different scenarios. I just think as a father his first and foremost should be to protect his child from a crap lifestyle that BM is living.

Mermar90's picture

I just want to reply to both of you discussing this. You two have been very helpful. Both of you have different view points and we are getting a lot from it. Thank you.

Thumper's picture

IF bm is convicted... IF it goes that far, chances are high she will plea out, wagged a finger at her, ordered into court rehab cough cough, attend court every 3months for status update.

The only way custody will change is when she is in the back of a paddy wagon on her way to the brink. Even then if her parents are close by AND they are full blown enablers, they will cover for her---YOU may never know she is arrested.

So, I suggest you call BM's local cps and put them on notice that DAD is available and fully able to take his child when needed. ALSO you can call the police and speak to Narcotics unit and ask them for update.

Yes you need a lawyer to sift thru this. They may tell you there is nothing you can do until she is arrested.

((((HUGS)))))....this road you are on is all too familar. Its long and very VERY VERY  expensive too. Hopefully your bm will wake UP..

Mermar90's picture

Thank you for your advice! Sounds like some of it may be from first hand experience. It's definitely helpful though. We will talk to a lawyer and bring up some of what you said.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I think your SO should collect as much documentation (media articles, news video, etc) as possible, and talk to 2-3 attorneys. Most attorneys talk a good game to get your $$, but he needs to find out realistically what his chances are in your particular state.

 I live in the same state as advice.only, and family courts tend to be a little less biased here than in states like tog's, where dads tend to get crucified. He should also reach out to BM, and offer to help. You never know, sometimes custody changes just fall into your lap.

tog redux's picture

I can't get a feel for whether or not the BM in your situation is high-conflict, but honestly, the best approach, IMO,  will be to see what BM is willing to agree to before rushing in to try to take custody away from her. High conflict custody battles are no good for kids and you will spend a lot of money trying to get custody unless BM is a total trainwreck (which you are saying that she's not).

I'm not saying to not be prepared, that's always a good idea - but rushing in to file for custody before you know more about the situation is not a good idea, IMO.  If DH and BM speak, then try to work with her about this. If it turns out she's a complete mess and can't parent, and won't give DH more time voluntarily, THEN go to court.

And be careful what you wish for, because your SD sounds like a hot mess. More than one stepmother on here has helped fight for custody of a stepkid and lived to regret it.

BethAnne's picture

Talking to a lawyer is just that, talking. It is important to get good information on the legal situation where you are from an expert (or two). Once you have that information your husband can decide what to do with it. He will not be forced to take legal action if he doesn't want to. My husband spoke to lawyers numerous times over the years when he wanted advice but decided on all but the last time to not take formal legal action but just to negotiate with BM directly. Most good lawyers will lay out a few different options for ways to move forwards and will outline likely costs and timelines. 

One word of caution is that the last time my husband spoke to a lawyer there was a small chance that his daughter may be removed from BM's care by DHS and he was told that if that happened then getting custody of his daughter from DHS (rather than from BM) would involve extra steps as a court would have to determine that our home was safe etc. I don't know what happens to a child should their main care giver be incarcerated, but it is definately a good idea to find out what the process would be from an expert. 

Spending a couple hundred dollars for a consultation will be worth knowing that the information you recieve will be relevent to your husband's circumstances and your local courts. When your husband has that information then he can choose from an informed view point what to do next.

Gimlet's picture

So, this might be surprising coming from me but I would not leap to anything yet.  It's easy to get addicted to opioids, truly.  Most people get started because they have pain and they don't think they will get addicted, and then they do.  It's how they respond to it that matters.

I would talk to the lawyer, but I would also see what happens with BM.  Some people stay clean after rehab.  Others never really get clean.  It depends on how well she supports her sobriety, really.

I'm also wary of the "swoop in and save the kid" mentality.  I do understand you/DH wants to do the right thing for the child, but there are so many ways this can backfire.

Get the facts, talk to the lawyer, and go from there.  Best of luck.

Rags's picture

My DW and I would do whatever was necessary to protect the Skid.  In the scenario that you are living, that woudl include destroying BM professionally, going for custody, and keeping BM on the ropes until the Skid was an adult.

Sadly far too many of the bottom 10%er morons of the legal profession who end up sporting the Harry Potter wizard robes and slinging the Fisher-Price wooden hammer in family law courts won't do what is actually in the best interests of the kids.  They will keep kids in the custody of disgusting adults rather than awarding custody to an actual quality parent.  They also seem to see drug addicted felons as "wonderful family". 

You and DH have  your work cut out for you to protect his kid from his druggy felon mommy and sadly, from the courts that ascribe some value to POS people like this BM.

Good luck.