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Wife and I are going to get divorce (TX). She is an alcoholic.

Plano, TX |

I've finally had enough. I want our 5 and 2 year old with me, until she is sober, becasue she is a danger. The first step in the divorce is the temporary orders hearing. Her own mother and father are willing to testify at the hearing attesting to what I'm claiming, that she is an alcoholic. I'm ok with temporary spousal support for her an apartment etc, and will give her more posession once she proves she is sober, but, as of now, she needs to go, and the kids need to be with a stable parent. since alcoholism is hard to prove, is that enough for me to get the house and custody temporarily? She also has 3 prior DWI's and has been to rehab 3 times, unsuccessfully of course. She was also diagnosed with bipolar 5 months ago.

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Attorney answers 3


No one can guarantee you what will happen in the courtroom, but....if her own parents are willing to come in and testify to her alcoholism, that's pretty powerful evidence. That combined with evidence of three prior DWIs should put you in a pretty good position for getting primary custody, and if you're going to get primary custody, it's pretty likely that the judge will give you exclusive use of the house - to minimize the impact the case has on the kids, if for no other reason.

Good luck.


I agree with Attorney Lafleur but want to expand upon his answer.

If her own mother and father are willing to testify, it's powerful evidence. Your own testimony as to how often she drinks, how much she drinks, what she drinks and the effects it has on her will also be useful. You can also ask for alcohol testing (normally it's a swab) in that temporary orders hearing.

You're also going to want to get certified copies of those DWIs so you can introduce them into court. Even if you testify as to her alcoholism, it's still not going to be a slam dunk until you prove everything up and get it into admissible evidence. If she hires an attorney, you're going to have a tough time on this one even with all this evidence.

I'd strongly recommend consulting a local attorney. However, if you guys can agree on what's going to happen, you might not even need a hearing.



Thanks for your comment, Mark. I'm a bit confused. a 'swab' test? What is that? Seems like that would just detect recent alcohol consumption, within say 24 hours? Doesn't seem that would detect 'alcoholism'. My bet is that if alcohol is detected, her lawyer would simply argue she had a drink the evening before the trial, which isn't illegal. The only testing I was informed of in cases like this is the liver enzyme test, which typically comes in the full blown trial, not the temporary order, since there's simply not enough time. The Liver test will detect prolonged alcohol abuse. Could you please comment?

Mark Anthony Cohan

Mark Anthony Cohan


Sure. I've dealt with a case in the past where the custodial parent took a swab of the non-custodial parent every time he picked up the child with provisions on what happened if he failed (read: orders changed). You can also have a test ordered at the date of temporary orders that would be grounds for modification if failed.


Considering her parents are willing to testify as to her drinking problelm, she has 3 DWIs and has been in rehab 3 times, I think it is likely that the judge will believe she is an alcoholic. It is quite likely that you will be able to stay in the house to minimize disruption for the kids and the kids would stay with you. Her visitation with the children will likely be supervised. Simply being "sober" is not enough for the kids to be placed with her. I have a background in drug and alcohol counseling. It is very common for a person becoming sober to have "slips" every few month. Once she has been sober with no slips for 18 mos to 3 yrs, you might consider allowing the kids to live with mom - or not. There is no reason that the children should not live with the more stable parent.

I recommend that you consult with an attorney regarding this matter.

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