What type of documentation should I be gathering if I’m contemplating divorcing my wife and fighting for custody of our children?

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What type of documentation should I be gathering if I’m contemplating divorcing my wife and fighting for custody of our children?

My wife and I are having some issues related to her depression and use of alcohol. She has recently started having an affair on the side and I am wondering if I need to be collecting any kind of documentation so that if things end, I will be able to have custody of my 3 children (2,7,9). Her family and I are planning an intervention and if she will not admit herself to an in-patient program to get help a separation/divorce may be my only recourse. Also, I do not want my children around her while she continues with her self destructive ways.

Asked on August 16, 2011 California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  Unless she is hospitalized or arrested and there is physical paperwork documneting her behaviour, most of the proof you will have will be in the form of testimony from family and friends as witnesses.  Although the intervention is a good idea, it may also be a good idea to try and speak with an attorney about starting a guardianship or conservatorship for her thereby allowing you to place her in an inpatient treatment program.  If she is not mentally fit to make decisions for herself because of the alcoholism or depressive state (her mental capacity is diminished) then some one else needs to take charge.  Maybe her parents if you do not wish to do it yourself.  Good luck to you all.


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