I have been on here a few times as I have gone back and forth with separations with my stbx. Long story short, he spent the last 5 years of our marriage unemployed and gradually declining in every way, including the husband/father role, to the point that the kids and house were completely neglected and mistreated. There is also an extensive history of irresponsible and dishonest behavior, and some situations that have been very questionable with the kids.
So, at the present moment, we have been separated for 3 months. He is living at his brother's which is 1.5 hours away. The kids live with me and visit with him every other weekend, with some increased days during summer vacation. From the beginning, things have been questionable where they are staying -- there are a total of 6 kids there during their weekend and it is basically just "party time" with no rules, boundaries, etc. My kids are 5, 9, and 12 and have been watching pg-13 movies and playing Mature video games every single weekend and coming out with some very inappropriate quotes, and also displaying some fears that I think are related. I have contacted him about it every time and he always says we are "on the same page" and he will make sure it doesn't happen again. My ex refuses to bring my son to any of his sports games on his weekend, even though this is very important to my son, was arranged prior to the separation, and has resulted in his team having to forfeit. I am also not able to get in contact with the kids when they are down there -- neither my ex or my son answers the phone or returns texts. The kids always come home exhausted and sickly, and although they were having a blast with their cousins at first, they seem to have tired a little on the situation.
My ex has been acting a bit strangely. I always work on the weekends that he has the kids, and the last 2 weekends, he brought them to our house, knowing I wouldn't be there and just hung out all day. I feel that this is a violation of my space at this point (with him being gone for 3 months now), and it has been very confusing for my daughter and resulted in her freaking out when he leaves for the first time since we have separated. When I questioned him about it, he said things aren't good at his brother's and he's not really comfortable with the kids being there, but wouldn't share any more details. I asked him about his long term plans for employment and housing and he said there's no news and he will let me know when there is. I talked to him briefly about filing legally for separation/custody and he said (despite these issues) that he wants joint custody. I continue to pay for his car payment, car insurance, health insurance and cell phone and he has no income.
After arriving home today, the kids told me that he had lied and told them that I had texted and asked him to bring them home early, but then later volunteered to them that he had lied about that. He also gave them each a guitar even though he has no job, which seems bizarre, although he has a history of compulsive buying. My five year old told me (again) that they had watched scary movies and I found out what they were -- rated pg-13 and R. They also mentioned my 5 year old crying for me this morning and when I asked what had happened, she and the 12 year old said that her dad had hit her several times on the butt for trying to get out of bed this morning when he didn't want her to. She also came home in her pajamas.
I am not sure what to do with all of this information and how to proceed with the situation. I don't want to hurt the kids by keeping them from their dad, nor do I know if I have the power to do that, however I am very uncomfortable with the situation and he gives nothing in terms of working with me on it and making sound decisions. I consulted a lawyer for some information the last time we separated (last Sept), but haven't made any moves in that direction yet this time. The hope was that we could agree on things ourselves and avoid the expense.
Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated.