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Is there a legal way to limit visits from a divorced parent?

When I was 7 yrs old my mom tried, unsuccessfully, to commit suicide. My father was extremely verbally and emotionally abusive all his life. They divorced when I was 19 yrs old. He always had other women while married to my mom. He remarried while married to my mom. Got a divorce and stayed married to his second wife for 25 yrs. She has passed on. Due to my mom's failed attempt at ending her life due to her deep depression, desperation, suffering, and despair (when she had 4 young children 4-7) from our cruel father she couldn't see a way out of her sad life in the country back in the 1960's. She remained ill the rest of her life and underwent several major surgeries to be able to survive the attempt. Even during her lifetime, my father always took every opportunit to humiliate her, and speak demeaning about her and to her. Due to the fact that they had 4 children, they made ammends and remained friends througout their lives. My father is now 85 and my mom is now 80. She has been in an Alzheimer's facility in NYC for the last 2 yrs. As her HCP & POA I was able to prevent him from visit because his visits were extremely traumatic to her, bringing the horrific emotional abuse he inflicted on her when we were young back to her "present reality". The "no visits" lasted for 1 1/2 yrs. My brother found out that "all" patients have the right to choose who visits them regardless of who objects and regardless of how advanced their Alzheimer's disease is. It's an "umbrella" law/regulation that, in my opinion, should be visited on a case by case situation, not just for all residents. My mom doesn't know any better, at this point in her life. At present she's mentally in her teenage years, so they are date/just married and in love. He has convinced her that they are married. As all abusers he secludes her in her room during his whole visit. He visits frequently, and for many hours at a time. Her attitude changed immediately towards me when he started visiting.

I have opposed him for years for his treatment of her and of us when we were growing up. We have forgiven him but we all have scars. I don't think it's correct to allow him to visit her when she suffers after he leaves. He secludes her and she remembers how he's always been so jealous of anyone who spoke to her or she poke to. My brother has fallen for all of my father's lies. The story is very long and pretty sad as you can imagine the lies and trail he has left througout his life. I live in Charlotte, NC and my mom is in the Bronx, NY. I am the only one who "takes care of her" I buy everything, I call every day, I speak to all the doctors and nurses and make sure she's doing well. My father fills her head with many lies and she gets mad at me, so when I call it's extremely hard for me being so far and hearing her angry with me for things he has put in her head.

I travel every 2-3 months to NY from NC and stay 1-2 wks at a time. My sister and my brother live there, but they don't often visit. Well, my aunt died a month ago and my brother has been visiting a little more often. And when family is close to NYC they go see her. Because she has more visitors there I have - against my better judgement - kept her in the nursing home in NY. I'm the only in Charlotte, my husband just retired and has Gold Stage IV COPD, I have a really bad back and in constant pain, my house has stairs, and it's not gated - she is a flight risk (she has cut her track guard twice already!! and very resourceful) so I have left her there. I leave with a broken heart every single visit.

The problem now is that when I visit my brother tries to be there every day along with my father so that my mother "can decide who visits her while I'm in NY" I don't want to see my father together with my mother at all. It makes me physically ill. She was very happy and very peaceful until his visits started back again. I went to different lawyers and they said there was nothing I could do other than take my father to court for abuse/neglect/rape/etc., I won't do that to my father. My brother nor my sister will support me for a restaining order against him. So, I couldn't go visit her during her birthday. During thanksgiving I had to keep calling until they left then I could go in and visit her. It was always late in the evening - when sundowner would kick in and she's having a lot of anxiety attacks - making me feel worse leaving her as she always wants to come home with me. I am so torn without any resources on my side. The law is not on my mom's side.

My question is: Is there a legal way to limit my father's visits with my mom.

Thank you for allowing me to explain as short as I can, yet give you a "complete" picture of the situation, for you to be able to give me some guidance.

Sincerely and extremely appreciative,


Status: Open    Dec 07, 2015 - 07:37 AM

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4 answers

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Dec 14, 2015 - 09:27 AM

You need to obtain Legal Guardianship of her. It is different than the POA/DPHC.

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Dec 14, 2015 - 07:45 AM

If you believe your father's current behavior is harmful to your mother and that your mother cannot speak for herself, you should follow the advice of the lawyers. It is not an easy decision to make, but may be your only option if you believe his behavior is currently being harmful to her. On the alternative, if he is no longer behaving in the same negative ways of the past, is no longer being abusive, then there may not be grounds for a protection case. Here again, I defer to the lawyers or a child and family services organization (they also handle elder abuse issues). They would be able to give you a better idea of what laws apply in your state.

Jan 23, 2016 - 08:33 AM

Just a thought here...Is there any possibility that you could move your Mom closer to you?
The move may be difficult for her and she will be confused for a while but it will be easier on you and on her emotinally once she gets settled.
And I also suggest you contact an Elder Lawyer and get Guardianship that will make it easier for you to see that the visitors that she gets are in her best interests.
Another thought. It recently became legal in some states to place monotoring devices in a persons room. If it is legal in the state of New York to do so you might want to consider this. That way you can record interactions and you will have proof that the visits are detrimental to her and this may aid you in eliminating the visits from her ex. (I don't even want to call him your father since he does not deserve that honor)

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Jan 23, 2016 - 01:00 PM

@ nikkipals, Aurora M, sblack Thank you for your kind words and advice on my question. I have asked about security cameras and they are not yet legal in NY. I had met with a few Elder Law Lawyers and their fee is $8k my mom is worth more than that, however, I don't have that kind of money. It does break my heart because she deserves better!! I have thought many times of moving her near me, taking into account the setbacks, if my husband was not so ill with Gold Stage IV COPD, I wouldn't hesitate!! I was going to fly on Moday to see her, I miss her and I hate it when her doctors change her meds without letting me know. Leaving me wondering, after I have a few conversations with her, where her behavior is coming from, after I speak with the nurses I find out of the changes!! The snowtorm took care of the trip!!! I will travel the following week. However, I am seriously thinking, to go to the courthouse where they have pro bono lawyers who assist you through the Guardianship Process (Do it Yourself). It takes a little longer. (There shouldn't be a blanket law as to who has the last word on visitors!! When someone cannot decide for themselves what's best for themselves, because of their diminished mental capacity, someone else should decide for them.) Or just bringing her home with me. Nikkipals, you are correct my father doesn't deserve any titles other than the "abuser" who has gotten away with it for so long and has no remorse!!! Again, thank you all for your answers, and kind words! I don't feel so alone!!! Everyone agrees on the "hiring a lawyer" route!! Diana McLemore
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