Charlie Sheen had his not-quite-2-year-old sons Bob and Max living at Sober Valley Lodge until two days ago, when ex-wife Brooke Mueller took out a restraining order against him and got the boys back.
But could his bizarro behavior wind up costing him custody for good? And what about Mueller, with her own history of drug issues?
Sheen just tweeted that he may have struck a deal with Mueller to avoid any further nastiness ("not sure what all the legal noise is about...just verbally reached a deal with B. no court mon. yay....") and a source close to Mueller tells us a deal is in the works.
But things could still fall apart (as they have before). Family law attorney Fred Silberberg breaks down how a legal battle could play out, telling E! News that there's a real chance the actor could lose custody of the kids.
"There are two different levels on which the kids would be taken away," explains Silberberg. "One is on a temporary basis, and that's based on the allegations that they might be in some sort of physical danger or subject to emotional abuse. The other, longer term basis is that you would have to prove that it's not in their best interest to be living with [Sheen] or to be in his custody, and that could be based on a number of factors."
If Mueller decided to keep up the pressure, here's what likely would happen next:
• An investigation would take place where the court would determine if the allegations against Sheen are true and decide whether the twins should remain with Mueller in a long-term arrangement. Mueller must submit a written statement to the court claiming there is a bad situation at Sheen's house and that she was threatened.
• Next Mueller must prove Sheen is an unfit parent with actual evidence. (She is claiming the unsafe environment has been created by Sheen's "goddesses.") "This could be from observations of other people. Sometimes in these situations, people hire private investigators to see who is coming and going from the house," says Silberberg.
"If he has a substance-abuse issue or he's suffering from a mental illness, that could be enough. [Sheen has denied both.] The other could be that there is an unsafe environment in the house." If Mueller can prove the environment is not appropriate, she could win full custody.
• There's a twist. Brooke could be deemed an unfit parent as well. (Her own lawyer had admitted in court that Mueller is currently seeking drug treatment following a relapse while with Sheen's crew in the Bahamas last week.)
"The problem with this case is the lawyer that represents her came to court and asked for custody, but then admitted that she herself was in rehab," says Silberberg. "It was odd timing that if she is in rehab that this is the time she would be doing it."
If the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services determines that Mueller's behavior has placed the kids at risk and that she isn't fit to parent alone, the department can move in and take custody if the twins. That means they'd be placed in foster care.
But things are in flux. "It's hard to say at this point whether it would be both of them because we don't know at this point what she's being treated for, and what her ability is as far as being a parent," says Silberberg.
In any event, however, it seems Mueller has the upper hand for now, which is perhaps why Sheen extended the olive branch.
The boys are currently staying with Mueller (she's receiving her drug treatment at her home) and a battery of nannies, according to her mother, Moira Fiore, who flew into town this week to join them.
And while tempers seem to have cooled, Mueller should be prepared for a Chuck Lorre-type war just in case. After all, on Tuesday Sheen tweeted, "My sons are fine... My path is now clear... Defeat is not an option..!"
Sadly, we fear, when it comes to the little boys, no one's winning.