Child Visitation: But He Drinks, Does Drugs and Has a Criminal Record

Question: I'm worried that my husband will get visitation if we get divorced. I don't think he should get any child visitation because earlier in our marriage he did time for murder in a Georgia prison. He got in with some pretty bad people and started selling drugs. He quit his job as an accountant and started working with these drug dealers. He worked his way up the ladder of the drug gang and then he got arrested for being involved in a murder. I think it was a murder conspiracy or something like that. Since he was involved in some way in killing, I don't want him to see our son, who I'm scared could turn to crime like his father.

I never thought my husband would turn to crime. We met when I was at Georgia State University and he was at Auburn University. We got introduced by his cousin, who was in my sorority. I thought he was fun, smart, and really nice. He was studying accounting and could figure out complicated math problems in his head, like Einstein or something. Although the other girls in the sorority said he was boring and didn't talk, I liked him.

We got married after we graduated and he worked for a big accounting firm in Atlanta. He started great and everyone at the firm seemed to really like him. But I think he started drinking and that became a problem. He never drank in college for religious reasons, but during our marriage, I encouraged him to have a beer every now and then. That, sadly, led to hardcore alcohol, then marijuana, cocaine, and meth. He went from a mild-mannered accountant to a meth addict.

Basically, he fell in with some drug dealers who also liked college football and he started to deal himself. He was dealing and doing the drug gang's accounting. One day the police came to our house and arrested him for something to do with the murder.

Since then he's turned his life around. He doesn't drink, does drugs, or do anything violent. But I know what he's capable of and now that he's out of prison I don't want him around our son, who's 7 years old. Can I stop him from getting visitation with our kid?

R.G. in Dunwoody, GA

Answer: It is actually rare for visitation to be denied totally. Even for people who have battled alcohol and/or drugs and gotten into trouble with the law, a complete denial of visitation is rare.

However, the court may order that visitation be supervised by a third party or that it is in a public place. That is to ensure the safety and well-being of the child. In some cases, a professional “supervisor” must be used for visitation. The supervisor is there to make sure that everything stays calm during the visit and that the child is protected.

It is up to the court to determine visitation if the parties can't come to an agreement, just like it is up to a judge to award child custody. The court will weigh the evidence presented and determine the parameters of visitation.

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