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Video Transcribed: My name is Brian Jackson, and I am an attorney for men in Tulsa. Today I want to talk to you a little bit about an actual set of facts I’ve found myself confronted with in the past, and what might’ve been done differently to avoid some problems.
I worked on a case a couple of years ago. One of the parties was involved in a number of things that were problematic conduct. This individual had engaged in the use of methamphetamine. This individual had forcibly entered into the marital residence after being excluded and had engaged in a physical assault on the other party. The result of this was, among other things, he did get a protective order entered against him on an emergency basis. He additionally was, for a long time, restricted to supervised visitation.
Now one thing I do want to draw you guys’ attention to in this case too, was this was an individual who initially appeared for a protective order hearing without counsel and made the mistake of attempting to talk to the other party while sitting in the court hallway. One thing to understand is that just because you’re there that day for a hearing does not mean that you can have contact or communication with the opposing party to a protective order. That is a criminal violation of the protective order and it can and is prosecuted.
Also, if you’re excluded from the marital residence, if you’re told to leave or especially if you’re ordered to leave, it’s a good idea to leave and don’t try to get back in later, don’t try to force your way in, because even if it doesn’t catch you a criminal charge, it can be used as grounds to enter extremely restrictive visitation and custodial orders.
It may meet the definition of harassment and/or stalking if you’re talking about multiple incidents for the purposes of the protective order, particularly if there are other facts in play that might give rise to an inference of domestic violence or an inference of harassment or stalking.
So guys, if she tells you to leave, if you can’t convince her to leave, then it’s probably better to let discretion be the better part of valor and go, rather than risk the consequences of forcing your way into the household.
Another important thing to mention, although I think this goes without saying, if you have a problem with substance abuse, get help and get help quickly. That can and is used against you in domestic litigation when there are children involved.
And it’s not exactly helpful in protective order litigation either, although substance abuse by itself is not a reason to enter a protective order as a matter of law. It can be brought up in protective order court and the court will consider it as it goes to the seriousness of the threat you might pose.
And as well, if you’re dealing with a situation where the court knows that you have a substance abuse problem, particularly hard drugs, like opiates or methamphetamine, the court is going to consider you to be a more dangerous individual and will be more likely to enter a protective order on those facts.
So if you have a problem with substance abuse, take care of it, get help. There are very good federal laws that will keep the fact that you sought out help for drug abuse private, absent a court order. Although substance abuse is relevant in terms of it is discoverable.
That assumes that your significant other knows about the substance abuse, to begin with, and knows about the treatment. And certainly, even if it does come out in discovery, it’s better to be able to tell a judge that you’re in treatment rather than fail a drug test and have no real come back to tell the judge, “Hey, I recognize I have a problem getting help.” So for those reasons, it is a good idea to get treatment.
And I want to clarify my point about the privacy laws. If your ex knows you have a substance abuse problem and if your ex learns that you’re in some kind of a treatment program, then those facts and those records could be discoverable, because they are relevant, particularly in the context of child custody. However, if she doesn’t already know you were involved in substance abuse and she attempts to inquire around, treatment facilities, by federal law, cannot simply divulge that you’re a patient or a client.
So what I’m talking about is more or less in the situation where she doesn’t already know, although if there is a question in discovery about substance abuse, you are required to answer honestly to the extent that it’s discoverable.
And as I said, in cases involving child custody, it is discoverable. So that is an example of a fact pattern I’ve actually come across in the past and how it might’ve been handled in a better manner. If you are looking for a Men’s Child Custody Lawyer in Tulsa Ok, you should go to dads.law.