Mediate This!

Child Safety: Safety-Focused Parenting Plans Part II - Interruption

June 17, 2022 Matthew Brickman, Sydney Mitchell Season 1 Episode 56
Mediate This!
Child Safety: Safety-Focused Parenting Plans Part II - Interruption
Show Notes Transcript

What happens in a safety-focused parenting plan when new safety issues arise other than those that the plan was created for? Matthew Brickman and Sydney Mitchell answer your most frequently asked questions about divorce as they go over several key points:

  • Assume nothing.
  • Know who you are before you get married. 
  • Know who you're getting married to. 
  • Know the laws and statutes in the state you live in.
  • Don't take advice from anyone who isn't a legal professional in the state in which you're getting married and living in.

If you have a matter, disagreement, or dispute you need professional help with then visit iMediate.com - Email mbrickman@ichatmediation or Call (877) 822-1479

Matthew Brickman is a Florida Supreme Court certified family and appellate mediator who has worked in the 15th and 19th Judicial Circuit Courts since 2009 and 2006 respectively. But what makes him qualified to speak on the subject of conflict resolution is his own personal experience with divorce.

Download Matthew's book on iTunes for FREE:
You're Not the Only One - The Agony of Divorce: The Joy of Peaceful Resolution

Matthew Brickman
President iMediate Inc.
Mediator 20836CFA
iMediateInc.com

Sydney Mitchell:

Hi, my name is Sydney Mitchell.

Matthew Brickman:

Hi, I'm Matthew Brickman, Florida Supreme court mediator. Welcome to the Mediate This! Podcast where we discuss everything mediation and conflict resolution.

Sydney Mitchell:

Yeah. Okay. Yeah, I apologize. Um, I was thinking about, okay, let's say a parent is in the process of, or like a father is going through the step up plan , to have contact with the child. And let's say he has, whether it be a drug addiction or , um , an alcohol addiction that he's working through, obviously behaviors improving enough to then invite contact with the child. But let's say there's some type of, you know, situation where the child is exposed to something , um , that was not anticipated or , um, uh , I mean it could be a , a , a varying number of things , uh , the parent, the dad relapses, and, and now can't care for the child. Like what happens when there are even more safety concerns that are presented unexpectedly during the process of the step up plan.

Matthew Brickman:

So depending on why we're creating a safety focused plan would then depend on, well , what happens if, so, remember, we , um, we had talked about in the beginning of this particular episode about the child's safety section and how we've talked about that in the regular parenting plan, or sometimes we would add it right in a safety focused parenting plan. It's not, well, we may or may not address safety issues. If we're doing a supervised plan, a safety focused plan, a step up plan, odds are we're putting safety focused language in there , depending on the particular , uh , issue that we're needing to address. Right? So for example, for example, let's, let's say that it is, and you had brought up like a relapse, let's say that it's drug and alcohol related . Okay . So we have a section that we can add that has all the drug and alcohol language in it. So let's say for example, that we have a three month step up plan, like we were talking about, right. That if a parent substantially exercises, then they go onto the next one, then they substantially exercise. They go onto the next one, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative>. So let's say, for example, let's just say hypothetically, that dad has , um, a drug issue. And so we have a safety focused step up plan to where we're creating a safe environment for dad and the child to interact, right. Eventually it's gonna be maybe 60, 40, 50, 50, whatever the parties negotiate or whatever the law is. Um , or whatever that the , you know, the , the judges do, cuz we know what the judges do. So that's usually where we end up in, in mediation. But let's say for example, we build this whole thing out, then we've gotta go and look at the safety focused language. So let's say for example, again, it is a drug addiction. So we would build in here , um, an entire drug testing. Now again, it depends on the extent of the nature it's so particular of is this drug testing just during the safety focus, parenting plan part, is this ongoing? How long does it go? Is it into infinity and beyond? Is there an expiration date ? Like how long does this go on? Um , but I'm gonna read through the language and as I go through here, I'm gonna address a couple of things. Okay. Cause then , and this will answer your question of, okay. So what if we have a step up plan and a parent should relapse? The answer is in the safety language of what happens . Okay .

Sydney Mitchell:

Okay . Okay . So it's not within the step of plan it's it's in the child's safety.

Matthew Brickman:

It is in , yeah. Okay . Yeah, it is. It is addressed here. So, so I'm gonna jump to that and then we're gonna back up, right? So we've gone in here. If a parent either fails to appear for testing or test positive and we've got it depends on what it is. Is it alcohol abuse , uh , drugs, whatnot . Then they will reimburse the requesting party. This will make sense when we go through the first part of it and the requesting party may terminate time sharing for the remainder of the ongoing time sharing of the parent, not in compliance said time , sharing shall remain suspended until the parent not in compliance provides at their own expense three negative drug tests comprised of one per week for a total of three consecutive calorie week calendar weeks at his or her own expense. There's a couple of really important words in here. Okay .

Sydney Mitchell:

Can you , if you're not going to already , would you just summarize what all that just said? It was a lot of words, a very long sentence just to make that succinct for us. And then

Matthew Brickman:

Yeah , I think it might be helpful . So, so what it means is this, if you have a parent that has this drug testing language and that parent does not go as this paragraph says that they need to go when request, and we're gonna talk about that. Or if they fail a drug test, then instead of needing to come back to mediation, filing a motion for contempt enforcement, hiring your attorney automatically time sharing is suspended. Now that is an important word. It is terminate. I mean, sorry. It is suspended. That means that if you're on a safety focused plan and you've got these steps, it's suspended where you left off. So say for example, dad is in step two. He relapses mom thinks he's under the influence, says, go get testing. He gets tested. He is , uh , testing positive mom then can immediately terminate the time sharing . And he will stay suspended at that level until he gains compliance of this entire paragraph. And then he starts back where he left off. Does that make sense? Mm-hmm <affirmative> so what this entire paragraph says is each parent or, and then usually everything is reciprocal. This is not mom dictating to dad. Dad dictating to mom. Usually, you know, even if, even if it it's it's it's one parent, usually it's if, if either of them I've had people that have never drank, never done drugs ever in their life and they end up doing something and then people are back doing modifications, going, yeah, they started drinking heavy and they , this happened and then they got a DUI . They had never done it before. So we just make it reciprocal. It's just easy. Mm-hmm <affirmative> . So , uh, each parent shall be entitled to a range at their own expense, a random urinalysis of the other parent , not to exceed once every calendar month. So we're gonna stop there. So sometimes this is a urinalysis . Sometimes this is hair follicle. Sometimes this is blood and sometimes this is fingernail. It all depends. It depends on what is going on. Um it's and so, you know, the type of drug testing, it depends on what the issues are. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and the reason why we put that it's not to exceed once every calendar month is this is not to be again, this not to be a sword it's to be a shield, right ? This is not, this is to be , uh , protective of the child, not to be harassed of the other parent. Right. But also guess who's paying for it. Well, the parent requesting it, well, guess what, then you're not gonna be wielding this sword. If it's gonna cost you every time to wield this sword, mm-hmm <affirmative> a lot of thought has gone into how we construct these things. Right? So the other thing that's important to know is what type of drugs or alcohol, because that'll tell us what type of drug testing we need. Is it a, your analysis? Maybe that's enough. Maybe no, you know what? They know how to beat urine . They know how to beat this. You know what we want hair follicle. Okay. Well, Sidney , I actually had, I actually had somebody in mediation shaved their entire body, every piece of hair, including their eyebrows. Oh my gosh. Like, and , and , and drugs was at the issue and you know what, this guy made sure you ain't gonna find no hair. Wow. Guess what ? So, so guess what they were like, well, we, we , we definitely don't trust you because you've shaved every piece of yeah . Clearly , clearly , you know , so definitely not going with your analysis. So you know what they wanted blood. You can't be all right . You got blood cuz you're alive in you're breathing. Mm-hmm <affirmative> the only problem though is, okay. So the cheapest of the , um, drug testing is your analysis . That's the least expensive. Mm . The second least expensive is hair. The nests, least expensive is blood and the most expensive. Um, at least as of the date of , of recording, this said that I'm aware of is fingernail. I've never heard of that one. I know. I know the first time I was like fingernail, I'm like, that's, that's pretty crazy. And for those, for those people listening, this guy had, had also shaved every hair in his ears, his nose, his face, every hair, like that's. So that's so funny . I know, but you know, but this , you know, he , he was like, you're not gonna get it from me . He knew it was gonna come. So he thought he'd be proactive until they asked for blood from those it's more expensive. But then it also, depending on the type of drug, depends on how many panels. Right . And depending on how many panels depends on the cost. So if it's a three , I think there's 3, 7, 10 21. I think something like that, don't quote me on it. But the , so depending on an , in , depending on the panel gives you the range of the drug or the particular drugs that you may be looking for. So again, this, this whole paragraph is custom depending on the situation, what we're looking for. So then let's go to the next sentence. That was just the first sentence of the entire paragraph. So then if a parent is notified that a, your analysis, you know, it usually Sydney , what I'll do is, is after this, like, like in this, in this example that we're looking at, I've got random urinalysis. Usually once we define what it is, like random blood tests , random urinalysis, random hair, follicle tests , then I'll, then I'll just change the rest of the language to the drug test. Cause we've already defined what kind it is . Right? Right . So if a parent is notified that a drug test is requested by the other parent, he or she must appear at the laboratory office within 10 miles of the sample, providing parents' home as arranged and paid for in advance, by the requesting parent and submit a sample within 24 hours of the request. So we build out, okay, where is it? When is it like, how's it all built out, right? Notice of the request shall be provided by the requesting parent to the sample providing parent via. So now we look back at the parenting plan, how did we address their communication? Mm-hmm <affirmative> is it text? Is it email? Is it talking parents app close family wizard? Like, how are they communicating? And we'll just copy and paste that and put it into this , uh, section. So they will then notify the other parent. But it's in writing, advising that the test has been arranged in providing the name, address, telephone number days, hours of operation of the laboratory receiving the sample. So quest or whatever , uh , drug testing facility is around. So then this is where it gets important. If a parent fails to appear for testing, okay. That guess what you're in violation of this time, sharing can be terminated if a parent tests positive for non-prescribed controlled substances. So if they're taking something, they shouldn't be taking, they don't have a prescription for fine. We covered that. Um , alcohol abuse, maybe it's alcohol, maybe, maybe not, who knows , has any irregular or diluted sample. There's a number of products on the market that you can drink and do, which will, you know, maybe, you know, trick the test. No, if it's irregular or diluted, it's considered a positive, like you're in trouble. So we try to get every little thing that, I mean, humans are creative. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, then what happens is then if they, if , if they don't show up, they test positive, they try to beat the system. Well then they have to reimburse the other party. So remember the party that requested is the one that's actually paying for it. But if they test positive, now they've gotta pay them back. Now, what happens if they're negative, if they're negative, no harm, no foul, great. At least we still have a good environment for the child, right. But if they do test positive, then they have to reimburse. And now we get to the rest of the language and the requesting party may terminate the time sharing for the remainder of the ongoing time sharing of the parent, not in compliance. So it's an automatic trigger of time . Sharing's over now for how long? Like forever indefinitely. No, you gotta keep reading said time sharing shall remains suspended, not terminated, suspended, wherever they left off in their step up plan, they stop right there. So basically push a pause button, right? So push a pause button until the parent not in compliance now provides at their own expense. Now, now they got skin in the game, right? So now at their own expense, they've gotta do three negative drug screens in whatever format, whether it's hair, urine, blood three panel seven, whatever we already outlined. They now have to do three negatives comprised of one negative per week for a total of three consecutive calendar weeks. And if they can do that, then they go right back where they left off. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, we're not using this as a sword. It's a shield to protect the child. Right. And so that's how we build this thing out. Now. Guess what I've gotten? recently<affirmative> they're smoking pot now. What? And they're like, well , I have a medical marijuana card and what ailment do you have? Oh , wonder HIPAA. You can't ask me that. I just have a card <laugh> and guess what? Most of the judges are, are smoking. A lot of attorneys are smoking. Like no move on to a different drug, like, sorry, but you know, when they become legal, no , I also get, oh, well they drink around the child. How old are you? Are you over 21? You're allowed to drink. Okay. And you know, so when do you get to the restrictive protective, right ? Part of it, you get there, if it is , and it goes back to shared parental responsibility, are you unable to make decisions or making detrimental decisions? Are you under the influence where you're making bad decisions or you're passed out and you can't even properly care for and protect the child. Right? So that's Sidney . When we go up to then this other language that says either no alcoholic beverages or drugs of any kind will be consumed from 24 hours before the child arrives until they're returned to the other parent, that can be a Dr . A bit draconian and a bit restrictive. Because look, if you're over 21, you want to have a cocktail. You want a glass of wine at dinner. You're allowed to, this says, no, not allowed. And what if, what if sometimes I get it where, okay , let's go back to our example. Mom's got the child, dad's doing a step up program . She wants this language in there. Be careful what you ask for this door swings both ways. And if you've got the child 80% of the time, he's got 20% of the time. That means that 80% of the time you are not drinking, he can, but yet he's the one with the safety focus plan. Be careful what you ask for as well . Everything's reciprocal. You know, now this, we don't use that often. It it's very, very rarely because look, mom and dad, they're old enough again, are you trying to be restrictive? Are you just trying to be protective? Right. It's a double edge sword because it cuts both ways. Right? And so that's where then we can get to see where I put or right. Big capital letters or okay . Maybe , maybe we have a different way of doing things. So neither parent will be under the influence of any substance to the extent that their normal faculties are impaired include , but not limited to alcoholic beverages or controlled substances, legal prescribed, or illegal during any period that he or she is to be with the child.

Sydney Mitchell:

So that covers the medical marijuana.

Matthew Brickman:

<laugh> the egg that covers everything like, and , and look, you should not be under the influence of anything when you were to be caring for a child where you're not able to properly protect or care for the child. Like if you want and , and attorneys tell their clients all the time, if you want to get high, do it. When the child's not around, don't do it. When he is around, don't do it . When she's around, you want to go out on a drinking binge, you wanna destroy your liver, do it on your days that you don't have your child, don't do it with your child around . Yeah . Right. So then we get, if, if, if , if, if either parent is intoxicated or in any mood altering substances, legal or illegal, we'll stop right there. So we've, I've had, you know, you know, we , we live in Florida for a number of years and even this country , but really in Florida, we've had a major, major epidemic of Oxycontin, right? Hmm . I have a prescription not to take six a day. Like , no , you don't have that kind of prescription. That is an abuse of a legal prescribed mm-hmm <affirmative> narcotic. So again, we cover everything going because, and , and , and I've had a words like, you know, well , I have a prescription, not for that many, right? Not for that many. And so Sydney , even for that, sometimes going back down here, we'll get into this drug language, even if it's a prescribed legal drug, because we know that there is an abuse .

Sydney Mitchell:

If you're gonna anticipate that behavior, I mean, you've, you've gotta , it's all be , it all has to be written down somewhere and agreed upon. And there's gotta be a policy because otherwise what, then you have to go submit for modifications and

Matthew Brickman:

Well, like , okay . Yes. But long before you can submit to a modification, you could have the injured or death of a child,

Sydney Mitchell:

Right.

Matthew Brickman:

So you can modify all day long. No, I mean, I'll give you an example . Well, let me finish this paragraph. And then I'll give you an example of this paragraph too . So if either parent is intoxicated or in any mood, all trained substances, legal or illegal, to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired, which would create a situation where he or she would be unable to properly care for and protect the child. This shall constitute a direct violation of this agreement. Like, you know what you're doing, this is a direct violation. And then we go back to our, just our general parenting plan that has the enforcement clause that says, if you do not adhere to this plan, if you default that in and of itself can be grounds for the judge to come in and redo the time sharing .

Sydney Mitchell:

Hmm .

Matthew Brickman:

Think about your actions. Do you love your drugs more than you love your children? If so, maybe you shouldn't have had kids just saying , right. So, so, and I think, I think I gave you this, this , uh, uh , uh , this story where the father was. So under the influence that he was taking the two kids to school and ended up in a different neighborhood, hit two cars, popped up on a curb and hit a tree, nowhere close to the kid's school. And of course they come in to modify and yes, he was over 21. Yes. He's allowed to drink, but he was so hung over . And so inebriated that he should not have been behind a car. He did it with the kids in the car. This isn't even a DUI that he got. And the kids with mom on the weekend, no, the kids were in the car. Guess what? He got a safety focused parenting. Like he went from 50, 50 backtracked, ended up with a safety focused drug and alcohol and all these things. Like when, when I originally did their divorce, it was 50, 50 fine. Yeah . Sh both of them accused each other of excessive drinking, but he said, she said, neither of them had DUIs. DWIs. Neither of them been arrested. There's no evidence except, well, I know. And like I said, he knows, she knows, and God knows. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> . So after the fact though , like, okay, he finally got caught. Okay, great. Now this guy ends up with a safety focus , parenting plan with everything that we're talking about about first, there was, you know, he was , he was an in , uh , inpatient rehab, then outpatient rehab then started to see the children. It was supervised , um, through a facility down in Delray. Then , um, then we had the alcohol and drug testing . I mean , we had it all there cause he got in the car accident under the influence with the two kids in the car. Like, yeah. So, you know, I had one too , which , which involved domestic violence where the mother was at and , and it was, this was all caught on the , uh , home security cameras in the house. The mother was attacking the father , um, while the father was holding the child. Um, and I think the child was, it was under one under one . Um, and so yeah, like if you think that it's a good idea to attack another person while they're holding your infant child, your decision making probably isn't there, right? You prob we probably need to figure out either, is there mental issues or, or , you know, substance abuse issues, you know, some sort of counseling, some sort of therapy, you know, and usually then this, this is where we get into, you know, also , um, you know, therapy, provisions and whatnot in a , uh , in a parenting plan as well about, you know, the party's consent to therapy. So, and so is gonna be the chosen therapists. Um , they're gonna have the child at the therapy on time. They're not gonna question the child after their therapy. You know, we , we build out all of the stuff if it's therapy as well, occasionally Sydney and I will be releasing Q and a bonus episodes where we will answer your questions and give you a personal shoutout.

Sydney Mitchell:

If you have a comment or question regarding anything that we discuss, email us@infoichatmediation.com , that's info, iChat IAT, mediation.com and stay tuned to hear your shoutout and have your questions answered here on the show

Matthew Brickman:

For more information about my services or to schedule your mediation with me, either in person or using my I chat mediation, virtual platform built by Cisco communications. Visit me online at I media eight , inc.com. Call me at (561) 262-9121 toll free at 8 7 7 8 2 2 14 79 . Or email me@mbrickmanichatmediation.com .