If your partner has mental health problems and a history of alcohol abuse, but was now getting better - but the relationship was not a proper relationship anymore - but leaving would mean your partner's health deteriorating, to the extent they couldn't care for the children, but taking the children would mean devastating your partner - is there a duty to stay until the children are old enough?
It's not my relationship. The struggling partner wants to carry on, but the other wants out. What about the children- there is no way things will be good for them if they split. Don't the parents owe it to them?
I stayed for 22 years with a h who was civil engineer but unfit to work, who was in bed at least 20 out of 24 hours, and when out of bed paced the floors or drove the car aimlessly. I worked part time but my earnings were taken off his benefits. His social worker did not tell us that his long term sickness would allow me to earn and keep a reasonable sum so each time he came out of psychiatric hospital, he signed on for unemployment benefit and received income support. The OP would have described me for 22 years.
When I left his family coped for about a year and the he went into hospital care permanently where he remained for about 15 years until he died. Upon leaving him I waited the requisite two years separation and then started divorce proceedings. By the time I left guilt was not a factor. His paranoia and other issues just about destroyed me and I'd done all I could.
I would now tell anyone in that position to make the break.
How old will the children be when they reach an age which is 'old enough' and have you considered that living in the circumstances you describe can cause them immense psychological damage which could result in them replicating their dps' behaviour in their adult relationships?
Of course the alcoholic 'struggling partner wants to carry on' because they've become accustomed to making false promises and using their alleged mental health problems and love of the demon drink as a form of control by guilt-tripping their partner into staying with them far longer than they should have done and this is further evidenced by the, also allegedly, recovering alcoholic bleating claiming that they'll inevitably relapse if their partner chooses to vote with their feet and take the dc out of the no doubt toxic atmosphere of the family home.
Regardless of what you personally may believe parents owe to their children, it's clear that one of the dp's has failed to prioritise the needs of their dc, and of their partner, above their love of the bottle and this has now come back to bite them on the bum.
I therefore have no hesitation in saying that the dc will be far better off living in a peaceful and secure environment with their non-alcoholic dp, and the sooner this happens the better it will be for them.
There's no reason why this transition can't be made in a civilised manner and the dc can continue to see their alcoholic dp but, depending on their ages, it may not advisable for them to have overnight stays until such time as there's been a lengthy period of sobriety and evidence that any mental health issues are under control by medication or other treatment.
I think our 'moral' duty, if one exists, lies with our children first and foremost; their protection, their happiness. This sounds like a very complex relationship and hopefully the person concerned can access full advice on the various issues likely to face the family if they decide to separate and can engage the partner's family, friends, professional care workers to offer help for the already struggling partner to lessen the obvious fall out that will arise. Human lives can be so very sad at times.
I think the fact that the struggling partner's health would deteriorate if her partner leaves is a big factor in him needing to go. Her health isn't his responsibility. That must be impossibly stressful for him. She needs support to try to become independent. It's obviously a really sad situation, but it does sound like her partner and children do need to leave and set up a stable home, with times arranged for her to be with the children.
Ok, sorry for dripfeeding, but things are evolving... Turns out now he has a girlfriend and no plans to take the children, totally unclear how she will cope... Totally unsure how to help or what to advise!
That's really difficult. So it sounds like he wants to leave both her and his children. I don't think that's really an option for him. His children sound really vulnerable in this situation. Your friend needs to start letting people know (health visitor, GP) so that support is available to her if he does suddenly leave.
I'm finding it a big unclear. So the wife is an alcoholic with MH issues, unable to properly care for their children alone, and he's got himself a girlfriend and now wants to swan off to his easy new life leaving his kids behind, insufficiently cared for?
He should leave. He should ideally have not got himself a girlfriend until he had done so And he should keep his kids with him, enabling as much contact time with their mother as she is able to safely manage and is still healthy for the children.
If I read this correctly and he's planning to just dump and run on his kids, he's an arsehole.
If he's a friend at his wits end and about to make a bad choice, I'd talk him into seeing a solicitor to talk about how to ensure he is resident parent for his children, and talk to SS about support for his STBXW.
If he's quite happy with his decision to just dump the kids there, I'd be wondering why I was involved with him at all.
I doubt the fact that the dw is the struggling partner with an h who's taken up with an ow and plans to abandon her and his dc has 'evolved' over the last hours which begs the question of what relation are you to this conflicted family?