Bent Not Broken – Shea Family Legal Funds Help


This is really hard to swallow my pride and admit that we are facing some major difficulties in trying to finance the legal fees to keep the kids safe from some very dangerous situations. I’ve spent most of my career fundraising for others (Hospice, United Way, Veterans with PTSD, Homelessness, Drug Prevention & Recovery) and it never occurred to me to ask for help for us, until I came across a page for a family who lost their child to a rare disease and more recently a family whose Dad/Husband committed suicide. It brought me to tears and I couldn’t even imagine the hurt and pain they have endured and continue to endure. It made me think about the call for action on bringing addiction, the opioid epidemic and mental health awareness to the forefront. My children do not suffer any physical impairments but are struggling with PTSD and are challenged with a parent with serious addictions, personality disorders and all that comes with that. It has been extremely difficult to come up with the right words, phrases or sentiments about our situation without coming off as sounding like I am some super-parent because I am not. It’s embarrassing to ask for financial assistance with a situation that affects my sensitive teenagers, precocious 9 year old, friends, family and daily life.

My only goals here are to:
1. Protect the kids from serious danger already happening
2. Help try to prevent an avoidable tragedy for my kids should there be an OD/accident
3. Put the legal issues to bed by finally putting an End to the enabling, denial, indifference, and tolerance and Put into Action what has been imminent and now immediately necessary
4. Spread awareness and offer help for any other families, bent-families or bending families that are dealing with or on the verge of dealing with similar issues.

The kid’s mother struggles with severe opioid addiction, alcoholism, and personality disorders. As does her live-in roommate of 2 years and past live-in roommate of 3 years.  Has been to rehab numerous times, made some progress but then regresses. Years of battling this addiction, sporadic inconsistent recovery efforts and dealing with attorneys, enormous fee$ and a family in denial, Nothing for my children has changed except schools, cities, various living situations, various partners mom brings home, lack of commitments, unmet expectations and obligations, broken promises, etc. Addiction is a family disease and it has affected and continues to infect the kids in so many ways that I can’t even articulate all of them here. When sober and independent, their mother is a decent mom and person. The kid’s mother’s family, while good intentioned, do not seem to grasp the totality and reality of what is going on or what my kids face on a daily basis. They have not grasped the concept of Enabling and loving someone to death. Taking real concrete legally bound preventative safety measures to avoid dangerous and life threatening situations for a 15, 14 and 9 year old has escaped their scope and abilities.

That is exactly why I am asking for your help. This isn’t meant to be an indictment of the kid’s mother or her family but I continue to take on 90% of sole responsibility for the kids financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually with no “co-parenting” support or reimbursement.

Unfortunately, my job is not one that is lucrative enough to finance the legal fees that need to be paid in order to finalize these actions. Another challenge we face is that the other side of this unfortunate situation is well-financed, will not listen to reason, avoids recovery and cannot admit that there even is a problem. No-shows at scheduled court hearings, Cancelled court hearings and subsequent mediation attempts, Abdication of Legally-bound time-sharing, Absconding on trips to avoid Legally-Bound Time-sharing, Broken Communication, Blocking Communication, Negligent and Contradictory Co-Parenting, Delay tactics, Unresponsive to drug-testing requests, Unresponsive to my attorneys, avoidance of being served injunctions, avoidance of DCF, theft, domestic violence, negligence, indifference, abandonment, numerous police visitations to numerous residences, dragging out litigation, procrastination until some unforeseen law enforcement action all have not worked. A public arrest, public news at 6pm type stories, newspaper articles, rescinding of a job didn’t motivate anyone to think there was an ongoing problem.  Stealing of our daughter’s bodily fluids was the only thing that finally inspired the last rehab trip.  Currently and foreseeably in the future the mentality is that: ” She got her graduation certificate from Rehab and all traces of addiction have been cured and stamped out. End of Story. Life shifts back to Happily Ever After……..”

We all know better! This is not reality for most addicts and families of addicts. It is not my kid’s reality.

The avoidance of making good on the legally bound obligations (to the tune of $20,000) and past & current drug-fueled behavior cannot be avoided any longer.  Sometimes, families want someone to be someone they are not so badly they will pay to make it so and then that person will rebel and this is exactly what is going on and my kids are the pawns in this sad dysfunctional situation.

We are faced with a very large debt from what has not been paid in child support fees and are facing an even bigger challenge with what seems to be insurmountable legal fees just to achieve some sort of rational financial retribution, protection from ongoing financial default, safe visitation/time-sharing plan and preventative safety measures from all of the inherent dangers that come with her addiction that have not ceased in 7 years and are active currently.

Your help is welcome and very much appreciated. I lost my own Mom (to breast cancer) at 17 and do not want the same fate for my kids. It is not easy to grow up without your Mom and even harder when she is alive but not really present.  I am grateful for your consideration and any amount of help that you can give.  Sincerely & Positively :),

Tim, Kaley, Jack & Lily Shea

Funded Justice