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I have a very muddled predicament, I almost do not know

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I have a very muddled...
I have a very muddled predicament, for which I almost do not know whether I need a lawyer, or a doctor, or both. For several months, I was seeing a single father with two young children - ages 6 and 9. "Seeing" because as much as he would seem to like
me and engage in sporadic times we would be romantic, afterwards he would retreat almost in fear. Over the course of this time, he started trusting the children more and more with me. Soon a very deep bond developed and I was spending hours taking the children
to the zoo, the park, etc. Due to my closeness and going in and out of his home, I found statshed many bottles of meds - lorazepram (atavin?), Lexapro, Nanoproxen, Anaabuse, Acyclovir, Adderall. These were just the bottles I found - not sure what he keeps
on him in addition. They were all prescribed by one doctor who when I googled is famous for TMS therapy. The man often gave the children to me grudgingly - as if he did not want to part with them - but can barely keep his eyes open, is exhausted, and needs
to pass out by 6:30 latest every day. As the children got older, and particularly during summer holidays, they wanted more and more to visit me (i live in the same building). He has joint-custody of the children, but led me to believe their mother was a crazy
person. Even though I confronted him very gently about these pills - on a day I found almost 48 beer cans smushed and hidden under the bathroom sink and hundreds of cigarette butts on the bathroom window ledge (I concluded he must hide in the bathroom to drink
and smoke) he got vague, said talk later, and then stopped talking to me completely. I went upstairs and knocked gently after several days, and he cursed and snarled and told me to "f- off" with children within earshot. The children obviously were really upset
and told their mother all this. She contacted me - said this was the first time she had even heard about me, and while her children cried "Daddy is a liar, she is our friend and has been for a long time" he simply told his ex "she is crazy." The children,
having already experienced the fear and loss which comes with parents divorcing and going througn a heated custody battle, are suffering. They have tried to sneak over to see me because they miss me, but I have had to tell doorman if they buzz up without a
parent to not let them up, or if they come to my door directly it has greatly saddened me, but I have not opened bc I do not want to get embroiled in legal issues. Of course I love them, but they are not my children. His ex-wife has asked him "Is it true they
have spent so much time with this woman? Who is she?" He will not answer. She called me at a loss -and could not have been nicer, more forthright, or concerned. Through this whole period, the reason our realtionship never became more serious was because I
started noticing little things -like he had zero friends....never went out socially in the evenings...just withdrew and remained in his apartment. A few common friends we have mentioned all his friends had been very concerned about him, and at one point there
was even whispers of fear of suicide. On the days he has the kids for the morning up until about 2 pm he has this manic energy, always laughing, but very shifty and never meeting my eyes...and then always the defeated exhaustion and request for my help. What
is going on? What is my responsibility toward the children if I am the only adult privy to this information? What should I tell the ex?
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Family Law
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Thank you so much for so much thought, care, sand detail.
Answered in 3 hours by:
10/5/2015
Family Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Lawyer replied 2 years ago
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 30,589
Experience: Attorney with experience in family law.
Verified

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

If you're not in an occupation that makes you a mandatory reporter, you don't have any legal obligations toward the children to do anything. But there's a difference between legal obligations and doing the right thing. You also do not owe the father any obligation of privacy or secrecy, especially if the children are in danger. You can tell the ex the full story of what is going on when the children are with their father so she can seek to get full custody, at least until he can get treatment. You don't have to talk to her or tell her anything, but you can. She will probably subpoena you to testify if they go back to court. The judge has the ability to order that he seek psychiatric evaluation (and if necessary, treatment) in order to get his parenting time with the children back.

You can also call child services if you're worried that the father does not have a safe living environment for the children. They'll investigate, and you can make a complaint anonymously. You also have the ability to call the police if you ever have reason to believe the children are in immediate danger.

There's unfortunately no right to see the children in this situation, but it sounds like the mother might allow you to spend time with them at some point. Letting them in could cause you problems, especially if the father calls the police. You don't have to take them in. You could call the mother, though, the next time they arrive on your doorstep so she could come get them.

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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq.
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Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 30,589
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