What is the name of your state? IL
Hi! First post here, so I'll get right to it:
The situation is that currently I am married, have a stepson who is going to be a senior in high school this year, and a young son of ours who is going into kindergarten. While the first couple years of our marriage were basically ok with a few ups and downs. One up was our son, with the down being that he was born at 29 weeks and was in the hospital for a couple months afterward. He is doing awesome, though he has some developmental delays. We were a team with him in the NICU and we were a team with getting him home and doing therapies and whatever it took to give him a great shot at life. Unfortunately, over the past few years, though, my wife has had declining physical and mental health. It started out more physical in nature, with multiple things going on like kidney stones and fibromyalgia and many other ailments that weren't life-threatening or anything, but it just seemed that whenever someone around her had something or she heard about something, *boom*, the next day she'd supposedly have it. It affected her job as she missed much work (she was working full time). She had a diagnosis of depression and took a med for it prior to us getting together, but she saw a doc a handful of times a year and seemed to be doing ok. Along with these physical ailments, though, she also started getting harder to get along with. Illogical reasoning and some self-destructive and obsessive compulsive behaviors. Her psych doc did nothing, so I finally convinced her to see someone else. With this guy the diagnosis of bipolar came out, along with anxiety. A bit later she was hospitalized for a week because of suicidal thoughts confessed at her appt with her doctor. She was determined to be disabled based on the multitude of conditions at play about a year and a half ago. She had to change to a new psych doc due to an insurance change and she continued to have behavior problems. The new doc added to the bipolar and anxiety, diagnoses of borderline personality disorder, ADHD, and a mixing of obsessive compulsive traits. They began to try some better medications for what she had going on, however, unknown to anyone, she stopped taking a couple of them some months ago. Over the course of the first part of this year I was noting a decline in her status and began to forecast back in April that I felt she would be in the hospital again soon. Sure enough, right after we returned from a vacation she had a meltdown complete with weird movements, altered skin sensations, visual and auditory hallucinations, and she was admitted again to a psychiatric unit for a week. She has been doing a "day hospital" thing since then but that is now ending. Her docs seem to thing she is doing wonderfully, however, they are not here to live with us and I believe their idea of "doing wonderfully" is simply that she is not currently suicidal, as far as anyone knows. Over this past semester while our little one was in special preschool, he missed a multitude of days that I didn't know about because she simply couldn't get herself up to take him. He would get up and apparently spend hours in his room with a wet or messy pullup until she felt able to tend to him at something like 10 or 11 in the morning. This is after me calling and calling in the morning to try and make sure she was getting up. If she did get him to school, I had to call to make sure she was picking him up...which she was very late doing frequently as well. Then she'd lay on the couch like a zombie until I got home and took over and she'd go to bed. Child care, older stepson care, supper prep, cleanup, whatever, fell to me. This is how it has been for some time. She cannot seem to play with him or clean up after him much of the time.
I am trying to take steps to safeguard against these issues in the upcoming school year, but quite frankly, I don't even know if the relationship is going to last through the year. If it were not for my fears of losing my son to her custody, I might already be out of the relationship because I simply cannot keep up with her emotionally and mentally anymore. She's all over the place with manic phases and blowing money shopping, along with the irrational thought processing that comes with the borderline personality. The way I see it, if we're together, at least I can monitor him and his atmosphere every day and try to head off problems before they happen. I am worried that if we split, she would get a considerable amount of visitation and he'd actually be in worse shape that way than he is now. Still, this relationship has gone south in a hurry, we're more like roommates now, and he is seeing her going to the hospital or doctor all the time and now he is claiming to be sick and needing to go to the doctor on a daily basis now, trying to emulate her activities. Or he feigns sleeping on the sofa and says he's being mommy. I am concerned about a continuing issue with her not paying the attention to him that he needs as a small child and she often says she just can't provide. Although she will turn around and say that she feels she should have equal custody of him in the even that we did split. There is much more to the whole story, but I've tried to nutshell as best I can and still get the story across.
So, my question here, dear readers, is what to do if conditions get to the point where I just have to say enough is enough and push forward with divorce? What's the possibility of me getting full custody of him? I am already providing the majority of his care and am fully comfortable in doing such. Is it possible for me to significantly limit her visitation? Or to permanently have them be supervised visitation only? She has left medications out before, and had episodes of basically passing out because of misuse of meds. I'm simply trying to do something, anything to not put him in that situation without me there to scout things out. I suggested putting him in latchkey this upcoming school year, but she threatened to take him and walk out and disappear if I tried to do that. Plus then I checked and all the local (small town) child care openings were filled. (btw, I have not yet spoken to a lawyer as I am using sites like this to gather information and be as informed as possible before I walk into a lawyer's office). What, if anything, can I do?