Untreated mental illness/alcoholism and custody

Hello, and thank you in advance for any time you have to address my problems.

A year and a half ago, I got involved with someone I have known for many years. I knew that he had problems in the past, but he was in the process of working through them. Or so I thought. As it turns out, he wasn’t working on anything and hadn’t made any improvements in his life - his mother was doing that for him.

From the beginning of the relationship, he wanted a child with me and the feeling was reciprocal. I wanted a child too. The major stipulation was that he be in continued medical and therapeutic treatment with a board certified psychiatrist for his problems. For years before I knew him and for the year we were together he made it clear that he was bipolar, an alcoholic, has severe OCD issues, and has had chronic hoarding problems. We talked about this and he agreed to see a psychiatrist from the beginning of our relationship. When I was six months pregnant, I found out that he had been lying about getting treatment and the only thing he had done was to get a sample pack of pills which he didn’t even finish. I left him then, knowing that raising a child with someone who had such problems and not only refused to treat them, but on top of that lie about them would be disastrous. When I reached the point of being three weeks before delivery, I asked him if he had been in treatment since I left and he said that he had but I found out he had been lying about that as well.

In fact, he recently told me (I am now one week from delivering) that he had been lying about being bipolar all of these years, that he is not an alcoholic, that he does not have OCD issues (he can’t deny the hoarding - he destroyed two apartments which needed major repair and renovation when he left them) - and that the only problem he has ever had was depression and that he was refusing to get any help at all at this point. He is also very angry and threatening whenever I mention child support on top of custody.

Now he is insisting on his ‘rights’ as a father even as he is denying serious mental illness and alcoholism, and refusing treatment. The only treatment I know of is that he is taking Lexapro, but without any other treatment or office visits. I think he is only taking this so that he can claim that he is getting help, even though he really isn’t.

I am terrified of leaving my child alone with someone who is a consummate liar or entirely delusional - either way, there is no doubt that he is seriously mentally ill and it has been a problem with him for at least thirty years. I am scared that he will be careless or worse, that my son will be injured and he will lie or simply not mention that anything happened to him. He is deeply manipulative and passive aggressive and I am worried that he will destroy this child’s emotional state by using him as a pawn in an effort to ‘punish’ me for leaving him and doing what I needed to do for my son’s best interests.

He had me fooled in the beginning - he had everyone fooled, but in less than a year it was clear that he is not stable and I literally live in terror of having to leave my child with him, or any child for that matter. I have a fourteen year old daughter from my previous marriage, and she has always been mine and my ex-husband’s top priority in terms of what is best for her emotional and physical well being. To know that this child does not have that sort of father is dismaying, and I honestly did think that his father was going to get the help and support he needed so that he would have his son’s best interests in mind. Instead, he lies, procrastinates and fights every single thing that he should be doing in order for this child to have the same stability and happiness that his older sister has enjoyed throughout her life.

My question is, when I file for custody how do I make sure that this baby’s father’s severe emotional and mental health issues are not swept under the rug? The father has already said that if he is pushed, he will simply say that he was never officially diagnosed with anything and will lie about the fact that he has been telling people for decades that he is bipolar and alcoholic. He keeps saying ‘you have no legal proof and no one will believe you’. This is the kind of person I can see ‘accidentally’ injuring or killing my son and lying his way out of it. I am sincerely and honestly terrified to have him even touch this child at this point.

The attorney’s will give you the legal advice.

In my experience, first if you can not prove it, don’t put it in your papers. Otherwise it is looked at as a smear campaign against the other parent. I know of a judge in my county that is keen to this and if you can’t prove it she won’t hear it. If it can be proven by record she excepts it.

My ex was seeing a therapist, my attorney supeaonaed(sp?) the entire questioning all we got was “that is privileged information”. Then we got slapped with his therapists bill for the entire time he was in court!(per hour)

Written admissions of psychiatric issues like from your ex, admissions to a ward for suicide, Social Security, Veterans Administration. I THINK those can be requested and used as evidence, but again the attorneys will have to answer that.

Good Luck and God Bless I hope the attorneys here can help answer your fears.

I would suggest you include a motion for a psychological evaluation in your complaint for child custody, include your allegations of his mental instability in your complaint, and you do not have to allow him unsupervised time with the child until you can get in front of a judge. I sincerely wish you the best.