Shared-parenting.

(99 Posts)
Balderdashandpiffle Tue 04-Sep-12 00:04:21

I do shared-parenting. It works, the kids love it.

On here people say they're keen for it. In real-life I've not met a single mother ever who would do it.

It's not going to become the norm is it?

NewStartSameStory Tue 04-Sep-12 00:14:22

you'd be surprised there are single mothers that do the shared parenting thing. But sometimes the reason behind the relationship breakup make it harder to do. Some hope to do shared parenting but it can be hard to achieve in reality.

Bintang Tue 04-Sep-12 00:39:08

I would go for shared parenting, but one of the main causes of relationship break-up on MN it seems is partners not pulling their weight- I hardly think they're going to manage shared parenting somehow- seems a lot don't share properly when they're in the same home!

Fortyshadesofgreen Tue 04-Sep-12 12:57:39

OP I can't see it being the norm either and good point NSSS - the reasons for relationship breakup often get in the way or the perceived reasons.

Thats the one area that always dumbfounds me. A recent conversation I had with my solicitor threw up the term for it called 'implaccable hostility' apologies if I have misheard or misquoted.

In a nuthell my ex is so hostile towards me that if pushed to extremes a Court my decide that additional contact between my kids and myself which we all want, would be unwise because of her reaction and how she feels towards me. I just can't get my head around how that is 'right' legally or morally.

With that as the ultimate position / sanction / extreme, then I think that Shared Parenting is at best a pipe dream and almost entirely dependent on the attitude of the Resident Parent (the vast majority of time the mother). Of course if the NRP doesn't want to Shared Parent then it is a complete non starter anyway!

However even with a willing NRP the RP holds all the cards in 99.9% of cases. If Shared Parenting works for some then fantastic, but I can't see it being the norm.

wannaBe Tue 04-Sep-12 13:10:50

my view is that you have a child together, you parent a child together.

I've recently been in a position where this has come up as a point of discussion (don't want to go into details atm) and yes, my view is that shared parenting is the absolute preferred way.

And tbh while I know there are men out there who choose not to have that level of involvement with their kids there are IMO also an awful lot of obstructive women out there who put barriers in the way of their ex having equal access to the children. You only have to look at mn and see the threads which talk about going to court to reduce his access/that a man shouldn't be entitled to alternative christmas/birthdays/the threads telling women of cheating partners to threaten their h's that they'll be living in a flat seeing the kids once a week to know that it's definitely not all men's fault that shared parenting doesn't occur - far from it.

Fortyshadesofgreen Tue 04-Sep-12 14:35:06

+1 wannaBe

Agree wholeheartedly

My opinion....
There are those Dads as NRP who will do everything they can for their kids regardless of what happens and what it costs them (time, emotion, cash etc). Then there is a 'band' who will get involved but can be deflected or marginalised / pushed out with resistance / hostility from the RP (or a lack of funds for the fight rather than the stomach for it), the age of the kids also has a influence and then there is the 'band' who don't want to be involved and won't be involved as NRPs with their kids. I think that the first 2 bands of NRP Dads is a lot wider than popular perception would have us believe. If that were true though.... it would lend weight that there are more RPs out there opposing and undermining contact and the relationships between their kids and the NRP, than would maybe be palatable in many quarters.

crackcrackcrak Tue 04-Sep-12 18:31:49

It's v hard with my ex though I am trying. He is so oppositional. He would choose to argue with me above the best interests of dd at every opportunity. It's v sad. He has the practical ability to be a good father and dd adores him but he is just so bloody minded about basic care and welfare (this used to extend to me too) that it's v hard to move toward co operation.

Portofino Tue 04-Sep-12 18:37:24

I am in Belgium and 50/50 is seen as the default position. I know numerous families who do it like that. I think that as most children are in school full time from 2.5 and family is seem as being very important in the work environment, it seems to work better. One of work friends split with her dh and was quite blase about how she made the most of her week "off"' Her dcs are teenagers but still the very idea of it makes me uncomfortable. Social conditioning maybe? Very fair though.

Portofino Tue 04-Sep-12 18:39:56

The common set up ime seems to be week on/week off. I am sure there are many, many cases where it is complicated but this is what I have seen. Maybe I should start Belgian MN!

Balderdashandpiffle Tue 04-Sep-12 19:26:02

'Her dcs are teenagers but still the very idea of it makes me uncomfortable. Social conditioning maybe? Very fair though.'

Why does it make you feel uncomfortable?

ratbagcatbag Tue 04-Sep-12 19:35:29

My DH does shared parenting. His ex is fab and an amazing friend of mine now, they both agree together they didn't work but their DS is more important than their squabbles so it worked. We went to each others weddings smile
Do think from experience that women can be really obstructive and some guys will do anything to use the kids against the ex, it only works if both are committed.

Portofino Tue 04-Sep-12 19:54:46

Because I cannot imagine not seeing my dd every other week. It does make me uncomfortable thinking about. But as I said - it is fair.

ratbagcatbag Tue 04-Sep-12 20:00:17

Hang on, I might have got this wrong blush I thought shared parenting was where you do well shared parenting but in a way that suits you, so we don't do a week each, we have DSS every night after school, he stays over a couple of them and goes back to his mums other nights. smile

Portofino Tue 04-Sep-12 20:04:30

ratbag, I am just referring to my Belgian experience. 50/50 means either half a week with each parent, or one week with each. Unless there are "issues" this is the way it seems to go. Have no idea what happens in the case of little babies though.

queenrollo Tue 04-Sep-12 20:24:24

ex and I do this. we share the week between us, and have flexibility about extra time for holidays or if family are visiting from far flung places etc.
The biggest opposition I have met over this was from other mothers (both single parents and those with their partners still) who were appalled that I would not stick to the 'normal' letting DS dad have him every other weekend.
I hate being away from DS on the days he is with his dad, but I have to put my feelings to one side so that he gets quality time with both his parents.

Balderdashandpiffle Wed 05-Sep-12 07:07:57

It seemed bizarre to me when we first separated and started reading up on child-care after separation that it was considered the norm for the NRP (a term I loathe) to see (let's face it) his children every-other-weekend and one evening, after seeing his children every day.

The whole resident, non- resident parent thing seems to me to promote conflict.

BlingLoving Wed 05-Sep-12 08:28:40

I think portifino's response is very relevant. She can see its fair but still doesn't like it and I think that's why a lot of women do resist shared parenting.

A good friend of mine at school spent a week with mum then a week with dad. Worked just fine. I have no intention of separating from dh but I imagine if we did we would share on the basis that a) we both value ds having both parents and b) we would both find single parenting hard so would probably appreciate the time without him if we had him 100% at other times.

Fortyshadesofgreen Wed 05-Sep-12 13:49:09

Fair point on the terms RP and NRP and promoting conflict - but we are in a society where the 'system' dictates terms and labels like this, the 'system' like labels. I can't see that changing - would be nice though BDAP.

From my experience from separation Day 1 there is the presumption that 'Mum' knows best in relations to kids. I had this attitude from School (initially - that changed), Cafcass (initially - that view changed), mediation service (again that changed).

I can't see any magic bullet but I think that having some sort of intervention / counselling alongside the financial discussions running up to the decrees / consent orders etc would help. Intervention that specifically deals with the kids with a different counsellor or mediator - seperate from the finance right from Day 1 with the ability to help both parties see what is the best for their kids. The only brief glimmer of hope I had was a Cafcass Officer seeing that the root of the problems lay in my ex's hostility towards me, but my ex just wouldn't engage with her, arms folded, stared out of the window. If she had more time with her I think she would have got somewhere.....

I am fully in favour of shared parenting, but to make sure it covers all areas, not just the time each parent spends with the kids - communication is the biggie for me. Things do get missed in day to day life and shared parenting shouldn't be about absolutely eveything be relayed between parents , but with a system that is embedded with the kids at the heart of it, not where they can be used as pawns. The kids seeing open and honest communication will help them no end and hopefully decrease the hurt and confusion they feel at times.

My ex wife would no doubt see me as you see your ex Bintang - every situation is different so I can't comment about yours at all. But the reality is very different from the perception my ex clings onto in my case and a perception she actively promotes to anyone who will listen. One of my youngest son's friends parents (sounds complicated I know !), told me after spending some time with me and the kids that I was really nice and not what she was told I was like.... that is not an isolated example either.

Fortyshadesofgreen Wed 05-Sep-12 13:53:30

Opps apologies Bintang !!!

I meant Crackcrackcraks quote.

Sorry confused

Bintang Wed 05-Sep-12 21:44:10

grin I'll let you off! (was wondering what I'd said that could be upsetting!)

Fortyshadesofgreen Thu 06-Sep-12 10:08:27

Thanks Bintang grin grin

PetiteRaleuse Thu 06-Sep-12 10:19:27

Shared parenting is becoming more and more popular in France - almost the norm in my area.

Most of the couples I know who have separated have something sorted out along the lines of the children staying with one parent one week and the other the next and so on. As far as I can see it works out very well, and there is much less argument over finances as costs are shared.

I think I would find it difficult personally, but it does appear to be a mature way of sorting a difficult situation out in the best interests of the child.

Obviously in cases of EA, DV etc more traditional solutions are found, often decided upon by a judge, but where break ups are relatively amicable in theory it seems like a good idea.

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 07-Sep-12 20:07:43

DS stays with me mid week and Saturday night. I pick him up from school , he stays the night and I take him the next day. Weekends we are very flexible - I could have a half day, all day or we do things together.

I thought about the 50% shared parenting - but I think it would be too hard for DS as he would never be in one place long enough. He knows where his home is, he sees his friends after school and he's settled. He sees me for two nights and we have a good bond.

Balderdashandpiffle Fri 07-Sep-12 20:20:02

So if you'd asked for 50-50, or your son had asked, your ex would have been ok with it?

crackcrackcrak Fri 07-Sep-12 20:56:51

Forty - I left a dv situation which included drug and alcohol abuse. I know you didn't make a personal comment do to speak but understand I am trying to parent co operatively with someone who is very irresponsible and ignorant of the care and consistency needs of a 3 year old. It is not simply that we don't get on. It is totally impossible to explain something like 'dd goes to bed at 7 because she needs 12 hours sleep so if you keep her up too late she will be grumpy and whiny the next day' another bloke would say 'oh right I can seecwhyvthats necessary' with exp all he hears is 'I want to control you!' so I might as well speak Chinese. Also he is verbally abusive and aggressive toward me in front of dd 'you're a fucking cunt' etc so it's v hard for me to even try and have a conversation with him
Let alone negotiate some parenting stuff sad

Balderdashandpiffle Sat 08-Sep-12 07:19:23

Crackcrackcrak.

This is honestly not a dig in anyway.

But what's the reason people have children with such idiots?
Is it being young and naive, or coming from dysfunctional relationships and seeing these as normal?

queenrollo Sat 08-Sep-12 08:28:21

crackcrackcrack i'm 5 years down the line shared-parenting with an ex who I get on with very well....we have completely open lines of communication. And it's still hard......trying to do this with someone who is not co-operative would be very hard indeed.

Balderdash the reason people have children with completely unsuitable partners is because they are rarely 'unsuitable' when you meet them. It has nothing to do with age/naivety or having a disfunctional background. I know people who have been in long term relationships with this stuff going on behind closed doors. If you met them in a professional capacity you would find it very hard to believe they would allow themselves to be treated so badly by anyone.

crackcrackcrak Sat 08-Sep-12 12:47:37

Balderdash - you mean 'any way' not 'anyway'
Hard not to feel got at by your comment as you don't know my circumstances either before, during or after my marriage.

If you met exp you would think he was the epitome of Disney dad - great expression I learned on here!

Also exp behaviour declined sharply as dd1 got older though in hindsight plenty of it was atrocious before that. Remember also that DV often begins or is exacerbated during pregnancy -we know this from research and stats etc.

Exp behaviour had its moments during his previous relationships but wax unprecedented during the last year of our marriage.
As I have said on my other threads, until you spend a lot if time with people whose marriages/relationships are more normal, you end up normalising behaviour from a partner which is unacceptable.

Please remember also that dv/ea spans all classes and social groups.

Balderdashandpiffle Sat 08-Sep-12 13:21:17

I'm not getting at anyone. Thanks for the grammar correction, I won't take it personally.

My brother was in an abusive relationship, i believe my niece is in one now, I'd like to be able to spot an abuser to protect my children.

As I can't relate to an abuser, if I don't ask questions I can't learn about them.

Balderdashandpiffle Sat 08-Sep-12 22:59:17

I've been reading a few more posts and threads.

And it's depressing, fathers are considered second best, it's a bit depressing.

crackcrackcrak Sat 08-Sep-12 23:04:28

Remember these threads are not representative. People with amicable separations and or ex partners who don't cause problems will not be posting in here for help and advice. Of course it's depressing reading!

SuperB0F Sat 08-Sep-12 23:10:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Balderdashandpiffle Sun 09-Sep-12 08:48:37

The maintenance bit comes into this regularly.

If a father wants to see his children more it's to avoid maintainance.
Really?

SuperB0F Sun 09-Sep-12 15:27:48

Oh do cock off, you whinger. I was clearly joking.

Balderdashandpiffle Mon 10-Sep-12 01:45:55

Charming.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 10-Sep-12 02:28:57

OK, found this in Active. I had shared care with my Ex-H for my DS1 (long story about why it's not happening right now, to do with Ex-H's partner hurting DS1, but it worked for 8 years, so bear with me!).

We had a 60/40 split to start with, then a 45/55 split. It worked really well to start with, until my Ex-H got with a new partner and started a family. Continued it for years even in the face of her hostility, DS1 enjoyed spending so much time with his dad, and I got used to it.

We started shared care when DS1 was two, and it went on until 6 weeks ago, DS1 is now 10. Hopefully we can get back to a shared care arrangement at some point, but that is dependant on Ex-H's partner dealing with her serious anger issues. It has NOTHING to do with Ex-H's ability to care for his son or be a good dad, and everything to do with the fact that his partner hates the fact that I exist and my Ex-H has a past, and takes that out on DS1.

I'm not going to say it was easy to spend that first Christmas away from DS1, it wasn't, I spent half of it in the bathroom in tears, and the other half plastering a false smile on my face for the sake of my other DC's (DS1 was 3yo when he first spent Christmas away from me).

BUT I learnt to cope with it because I knew that if I felt like that when I was away from my DS1, then so did his father.

perfectstorm Mon 10-Sep-12 02:53:01

I think there's some research that has found shared care - as in 50/50 or thereabouts - can be massively unsettling for the children. They have to move between two worlds and ways of living on a regular basis. Obviously some will thrive, but others won't do well at all.

In terms of parental rights shared care is absolutely fair. In terms of children's, the picture is murkier.

I do however believe that anyone obstructing contact without due reason should lose residence to the other parent, because it's very, very good evidence that they are not capable of meeting the emotional needs of the child. Genuine fear after SV/EA is one thing. Implacable hostility is another. It's terrible that there is such a double standard in terms of level of behaviour expected by the parents - if the NRP behaved a tenth as badly as the RP is able to in contact disputes, their contact would be greatly restricted on the grounds that it's detrimental to the kids and the NRP cannot place their own needs second to those of the child. If the obstructive (without good reason) RP feared losing that residential status, they might behave somewhat better. Which in an ongoing capacity would work far better for children.

queenrollo Mon 10-Sep-12 11:10:53

perfectstorm it's a valid point about childen moving between two worlds/ways of living. Children are very adaptable but it does have its limits.

We have the same rules across both households as far as disicpline, expected behaviour etc is concerned. DS has consistency in many things, and I think this allows him to cope with the differences very well indeed. He sees all four of his parents communicate regularly, we have coffee together weekly etc.
I've been doing this for 5 years...i'd say the first two were the hardest, while we found a rythmn to it and ironed out the creases.

what couthymow says:
BUT I learnt to cope with it because I knew that if I felt like that when I was away from my DS1, then so did his father.

That is what I say to many people who say they couldn't be away from their child. My ex was at home as much as me when we were together, he spent just as much time parenting, and playing with our DS. Just because I gave birth to him doesn't mean that I have any more right or emotional attachment to him than his father. It hurts my ex just as much to be away from DS.

perfectstorm Mon 10-Sep-12 12:40:33

I think it depends on the child, and depends on the ability of the parents to work together, yep. Though actually it has been used successfully in viciously hostile contact disputes in order to derail one parent seeking to totally exclude the other, too - breaks the power lock. In more "normal" conflicted situations I just don't think it's good for the kids. I used to be a big fan, but there is some heartbreaking anonymised evidence from children on what being a perpetual, suitcase-in-hand visitor did to their confidence and security. That's obviously got to be factored in.

I have no patience with mothers who try to block this because they can't bear to be away from their kids - all the patience in the world for the emotion, none for the acts. I can't understand why they think the other parent doesn't feel similarly.

I should add that I've no personal experience of this as touch wood, my marriage is fine. So it's a theoretical perspective only.

Fortyshadesofgreen Mon 10-Sep-12 12:40:45

CCC - sorry I haven't been online for a couple of days.

I wasn't making a personal comment at all, I am glad you saw that. Everyone's situation is different. Good luck with yours.

I was making the point that if my ex was posting on here (and she probably does), she will call me, controlling, intimidating, intrusive, rude, disrespectful etc. She would be telling all who would listen that I was emotionally abusive etc etc. Every likelihood that she would be getting support to behave as she does, because of the skewed picture she can paint. And it is a beautiful picture, unfortunately only about 10% of it is based in reality.

In my situation and the current environment, being able to get shared parenting is impossible. Thats why I made the comments about early intervention / mediation / counselling etc.

STIDW Thu 27-Sep-12 19:00:43

Shared parenting isn't uncommon in the UK. Many parents agree shared parenting and there are a substantial number of shared residence orders granted. Shared residence doesn't have to be 50:50, it can be in different proportions and orders for 50:50 shared residence are fairly unusual.

The biggest obstacle to shared parenting 50:50 after parents separate is the absence of 50:50 shared parenting before separation. In the UK 90% of men in employment with dependent children work in full time inflexible jobs and fathers work longer hours then any other group of men. Whereas about 70% of women with dependent children work in lower paid part time/flexible jobs to accommodate children. Because it is usually less disruptive to a child's sense of security and established bonds to maintain similar arrangements to those before the relationship broke down fathers are at a disadvantage when parents separate. See;

www.dad.info/work/worklife-balance/can-you-share-work-and-kids-in-the-uk

It would appear to me that if society wants a more equal sharing of work and child care men's working practices need to change.

The law in Belgium is similar to that in Scotland where both parent have equal Parental Responsibilities and Rights, including having their children live with them, but if the parents cannot agree arrangements between themselves the court has the power to determine living and/or contact arrangements I thought. That means in practice it isn't actually that different from England & Wales.

Belgium law on Parental Responsibility in a nutshell is here;

ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/parental_resp/parental_resp_bel_en.htm

STIDW Thu 27-Sep-12 19:04:17

Shared parenting isn't uncommon in the UK. Many parents agree shared care and there are a substantial number of shared residence orders granted. Shared residence doesn't have to be 50:50, it can be in different proportions and orders for 50:50 shared residence are fairly unusual.

The biggest obstacle to shared parenting 50:50 after parents separate is the absence of 50:50 shared parenting before separation. In the UK 90% of men in employment with dependent children work in full time inflexible jobs and fathers work longer hours then any other group of men. Whereas about 70% of women with dependent children work in lower paid part time/flexible jobs to accommodate children. Because it is usually less disruptive to a child's sense of security and established bonds to maintain similar arrangements to those before the relationship broke down fathers are at a disadvantage when parents separate. See;

www.dad.info/work/worklife-balance/can-you-share-work-and-kids-in-the-uk

It would appear to me that if society wants a more equal sharing of work and child care men's working practices need to change.

The law in Belgium is similar to that in Scotland where both parent have equal Parental Responsibilities and Rights, including having their children live with them, but if the parents cannot agree arrangements between themselves the court has the power to determine living and/or contact arrangements I thought. That means in practice it isn't actually that different from England & Wales.

Belgium law on Parental Responsibility in a nutshell is here;

ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/parental_resp/parental_resp_bel_en.htm

exoticfruits Thu 27-Sep-12 19:12:02

I would say that it is the best thing for the child to have parents living close together and shared parenting. Mothers don't think it is best for them and consequently will probably not want it-especially if the father has a new partner.

STIDW Fri 28-Sep-12 20:15:08

It's not necessarily true mothers don't want shared parenting. I shared parenting with my ex when he lived nearby but he then moved 400 miles away. There are lots of parents with the majority of care who say they would like their ex to have the children more. There are also those cases where shared parenting is tried, but it's not practical and the father reduces contact. Then there are a few cases when one parent doesn't "win" residence and rather than accept shared residence walks away. In some cases judges have even apologised that they couldn't make a parent share care 50:50 against their wishes.

exoticfruits Fri 28-Sep-12 20:18:58

I think the main objection-judging from posts on here-is that the mother doesn't want a step mother playing a major role-which of course they will.

crackcrackcrak Fri 28-Sep-12 20:20:56

Exotic - where? My ex doesn't have a partner (neither do I) but shared parenting is utterly impossible with him. It's only achievable of both parties are capable of responsible parenting in the first place!

exoticfruits Fri 28-Sep-12 22:17:41

where? In general-not the specific.

crackcrackcrak Fri 28-Sep-12 22:23:38

The stepmother references

exoticfruits Sat 29-Sep-12 07:33:32

Stepmothers in general. It is very common for both parents to find new partners. While many are happy to have shared parenting with a single parent they are not happy with the new parent- in general.

colditz Sat 29-Sep-12 08:18:44

Very often, shared care is offered, and more often than not it is refused. It's a lot easier to tell people that you can't abide handing your children over than it is to think about the fact that a lot of men really could take or leave their own children.

Have a look on the lone parents board. How many men are.handing their children over to their own mothers because they cannot cope for a weekend? And on the step parenting board, you will find women on the point of leaving because their partner will NOT man up and stop being adisney dad!

I know 3 fathers will full care of their offspring, one is because of a neglectful mother, the second is because of a drug addicted mother, and the third is because the mother passed away.

I don't know one nrp who wishes he could share the care with a competant mother, but I know plenty of rps who wish the nrp would have the children more. But they don't. They have to go to work, or golf, or on holiday. Practically anything is more interesting than co parenting. And these are normal, non abusive parents, who just don't want to do it, the only thing they all have in common with each other is that they are male.

MirandaWest Sat 29-Sep-12 08:32:44

Is shared care 50% each? XH and I share the care of our DC although I probably have them more than he does. Given that I live in the village where they go to school and my work generally allows me to pick them up from school, it makes more sense that I generally do than rather than them go to after school childcare. It also seems more sensible for them to sleep here more days of the week with a 2 minute walk to school than a 20 minute drive to school when they are at XHs house.

We are both pretty flexible in terms of when the children are where - generally XH has them every other weekend and one night in the week but the weekends are three nights long (he has them Friday Saturday Sunday nights) and when things come up on either side we adjust things so that hopefully everyone is content. Children seem generally happy.

On the maintenance side we work out according to CSA how much it is and alter it each month depending on how much XH has had the DC. When I am away working it is more. I also pay for childcare then too (my only real bone of contention) but you can't have everything.

crackcrackcrak Sat 29-Sep-12 08:46:58

Colditz - that is my anecdotal experience too - aside from my own exp. I know of a father who does some Disney dad stuff with his dd but will not under any circs commit to routine care of her - god forbid it cramps his independence. The mother of that child has the patience of a saint and thinks any time he spends with her is a bonus. His mother otoh will drop anything to help with that kid and is everything a nrp should be.
Another father I know is completely spoiled and indulged by his mother - who naturally looks after his ds all the time. In fact his whole family muck in and he swans around like a teenager. Pathetic

My v close friend gave up arguing with his baby mother and moved abroad. Constructive.

I have another make friend ive known about 8 years. I only fund out recently he even has a daughter sad

colditz Sat 29-Sep-12 08:53:06

It is my private opinion that for the majority of fathers, they will only want shared care if the only other option is residency

exoticfruits Sat 29-Sep-12 08:55:50

I think they are quite happy to have it if they have married again.

Balderdashandpiffle Sat 29-Sep-12 18:05:06

I don't think you can use Mumsnet as an example of relationships as its about 99% women.

If you want to hear more stories from Fathers, the Wikivorce forums show a more balanced side.

crackcrackcrak Sat 29-Sep-12 21:13:55

Balder - yes precisely. Forums arnt representative anyway - we only come on here if we need help - there ate probably more successful shared parenting set ups than it looks like

Peterpan101 Fri 02-Nov-12 22:04:36

Just playing catch up on this very interesting thread:
Fortyshades, I brought up the subject of ‘Implacable Hostility’ to my solicitor very early in my dealings with my ex. He told me at the time it was very early to tell. After our last court hearing he told me being nice and cooperative would no longer work with her as in his own words: “she’s f***ing mad”.
She keeps her legal actions from her family and friends (as they know me well). She is as obstructive as possible with regard to legal dealings: withdrawing contact, portraying me as a violent drunk and drug user, etc, etc. I am told the next resort in the IH tool bag is for her to move house and not tell me where, so am braced for that to!
Portofino, my solicitor has said that because of my ex’s IH that when we attend court for our full hearing that ‘week on, week off’ will become more likely. ‘Karma’ me thinks, as having my daughter for that much time will be a boon!
Queenrollo, Nice one.....I have stated to my ex that: ‘me & her’ was over and it was all about the little one. Don’t think she sees through the same eyes as you!
As for care, I used to do the majority of child care and house work (my work allowed it). As soon as we split I was told it would be best not to see our dd until things had ‘calmed down’.....from majority carer to no contact. Some men do like caring for their children, and some women like to use their kids as weapons.
As you can imagine I came out fighting for contact....all my possessions, time and savings are available.
If any know of any helpful tips on how to deal with an IH ex I would appreciate?

Balderdashandpiffle Sat 03-Nov-12 08:12:02

Tips for dealing with an IH ex:

Stick with it, time passes, eventually your child will get older and become more independent and make their own choices.

Don't engage with your ex or try to work out why she does stuff.

This has happened to my brother and cousin, I can only assume its some sort of not quite right maternal instinct. I think it's protective but also very, very negative.

They're both seeing their children again, but have lost years of contact they can't get back.

They would have both given the world to have had shared-care.

Peterpan101 Sun 04-Nov-12 18:40:03

Completely agree. Very negative.

I keep having to remind myself to be the better person. I do question my own actions a lot as she is telling the world that I am the one unable to co-parent (without even giving me a chance and so forcing me through the courts). I quite often find myself asking: "is it me"?

I have contact now, and the start of a good routine. I guess I should be content for the time being with that.

I do have a little pipe dream that when dd reaches 13 she will ask to live with me.

Cheers for the words.

Fortyshadesofgreen Tue 06-Nov-12 13:20:07

Its alive again !

I know what you mean Peter. There is no point in being reasonable and co-operative. Best just to keep everything neutral and turn the other cheek (most of the time !). I am now over 5 years down the line and her attitude hasn't changed at all. I don't think it ever will. I have changed how I deal with her and my sons are getting older.

Your pipe dream is a nice one but please don't pin your hopes on it Balder ! My eldest is 14, but I know there is no way he will come and ask to live with me and my wife - he may in a couple of years, but who knows. My youngest is a different kettle of fish, he has already said when he is 16 he is coming to live with me and my wife. God knows where he got the age of 16 from... he was saying that when he was 7 years old. The eldest endured too much of the emotional blackmail and the venom for the first couple of years after seperation. He does shows it by coming over at pretty much every opportunity to watch sport with me on the TV or coming over to do his home work, outside of our normal overnight contact (12 nights out of 28). He says he needs help, comes over does a couple of hours (or in some cases the full day at weekends) and then I take him back to his Mum's house. Even comes over for help in the subject his mum took a degree in and I didn't even take an 'O' level in - might have outted my age then ! ;-)

Great advice from Balder. Its hard but I keep my eye on what won't hurt my sons - no point in getting drawn into rows with the ex. She is all about control and 'winning' regardless of the consequences. Its also about knowing which battles to fight, unfortunately that too comes with experience won the hard way.

Peterpan101 Tue 06-Nov-12 15:49:12

'Picking your battles' will probably come to symbolize this year! It is sad that the person hurt the most by my ex's actions has been my ex! My daughter seems pretty much untouched by whats gone on (from the feed back from nursery, etc) and I understood the effects my leaving would have on myself.

I really have no animosity for the ex, and it does bewilder me the lengths she has gone to to try and hold onto a measure of control over me.

The good thing is my daughter is fine, and that is what I need to focus on.

P.S. I am an O leveler as well......probably explains your ability to coach you boy in your ex's degree subject!! he he

Fortyshadesofgreen Tue 13-Nov-12 13:10:32

And everyday you need to make sure you pick the right battles ! Its not bloody easy though is it PP....

I suppose I thought for a while like that, that the only person getting hurt by carrying their big bag of hate around was my ex. I now know however that the kids see it and are affected by it. Thats probably the biggest fear I have now, my ex can talk to me and treat me like she wants to. My sons however know she does it and her friends and family pitch in too for good measure. Seeing my eldest (12 at the time) in tears and telling me that ex / her family have said nasty things about me to him... thats tough.... and thats just a small portion of what has been going on.... oh and that was over 3 years after seperation.

Glad your daughter is good PP ! You can't ask for more than that smile

I do tell my lads that an even an old money 'A' level in General Studies is like a degree now wink

SilkySilky Sun 25-Nov-12 21:34:54

NRP means what? I checked http://www.mumsnet.com/info/acronyms
and even google threw up no answers, bar Norwich Research Park

explains please

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 25-Nov-12 22:22:48

Non Resident Parent

SilkySilky Tue 01-Jan-13 22:09:45

Shared parenting is becoming the norm it seems. I know more folk who have split. Seems the 'odd one outs' are those still married! ;-)

Have a child together, you parent a child together - good line posted further above.

How are the finances worked out with shared parenting though?
I fear thousands wasted on solicitor fees?

Xenia Thu 03-Jan-13 15:38:50

Lots of people share children. I would be happy with 50/50.
As for the finances situation it depends on your position. I earn 10x what their father earns so our court order says I pay school and university fees no matter with whom they l live and stuff like that.

We could certainly change the law to make 50/50 the norm particularly where both parents work full time unless the parents agree otherwise or the court orders otherwise.

meitisi Wed 09-Jan-13 19:01:26

Hi
Just joined so not sure if posting this here is right? I have 50/50 shared care of our kids for the last 2 years and generally this works. However, as we do this on a weekly change of care, when it comes to holidays it can be problematic. I would like to treat holidays differently so that the children can share christmas each alternative year, also so summer holidays can be treated differently from usual weekly change, does anyone have similar 50/50 care and what happens with holidays?

AllDirections Wed 09-Jan-13 19:16:43

I have several friends who do 50/50 with their exs. I can only dream.... hmm

nongenderbias9 Tue 15-Jan-13 11:22:36

Did you see the programme on share parenting last night. CH4 Tim Lovejoy talks about a possible change in the law that will make it easier for children to maintain a life with both parents. Oh shit, does this mean I will have to go out and work, can't rely on those payments anymore.

Peterpan101 Tue 15-Jan-13 17:34:40

I did see....a very big subject to be dealt with in only 30 mins. He only skimmed over it.

I don't think the new legislation will change a great deal. I hope it will make solicitors think a bit more before allowing their clients to try and play 'hard ball' and waste the legacy to their children?! Solicitors are always mindful to keep on the good side of the judges (their loyalty is to the court first, then their client after all) so maybe it will speed up the process and allow the children the access they need?!

Balderdashandpiffle Sat 19-Jan-13 17:33:11

I've read reports positive about shared-parenting and reports positive about one house and contact for the other parent. Let's face it usually the father.

I was slightly concerned reading a post by a solicitor glibly stating that evidence said that shared parenting was poor for the children. I'm glad he wasn't my solicitor. I think what evidence shows is that shared-parenting doesn't work well in acrimonious cases that go to court.

What I think is:

Cooperative parents, it doesn't matter about living arrangements, the children will benefit.

Warring parents, it doesn't matter what the living arrangements, the children will not benefit.

So I suppose stating the obvious.

californiababe Mon 21-Jan-13 20:04:29

Talk of 50/50 is misleading in terms of the preposed law, and in terms of what actually happens on a day to day basis out there before couples split. How many men take on the role of primary carer? Of all the parents I know, I don't know of any where things are shared fairly. Yet when they split many men talk of getting a fair % of their children. Children are not possessions to be shared out. Most couples are at war when they split. I remain to be convinced that men can care for children the way women do. Women have historically put their children before themselves, something which I have yet to see any man do.

Balderdashandpiffle Mon 21-Jan-13 20:22:56

'Women have historically put their children before themselves, something which I have yet to see any man do.'

You're mixing with the wrong men.

I agree that men tend to take on the bread winner role and the woman the main carer role, but this is changing.

And I strongly advise any man not to become the major bread winner as it's not recognised as a contribution in court (and most men I know think it would) so don't have children with someone who wants to be a Sahp unless you want to see a lot less of your children after separation.

Balderdashandpiffle Mon 21-Jan-13 20:26:41

And just to add:

''Women have historically put their children before themselves, something which I have yet to see any man do.'

I don't know a father who doesn't put his children before themselves.
What a bizarre comment.

Snorbs Tue 22-Jan-13 08:49:00

californiababe you obviously don't know many decent fathers then.You obviously also have no awareness that around one in ten single parents are fathers. Still, let's not allow facts to get in the way of prejudice, eh? And if you came up to me and told me that you thought that my children would be better cared for by their mother than by me then I'd a) laugh in your face followed by b) telling you to fuck off.

Frankly, I'm unconvinced by the "the fathers didn't do the majority of care prior to the split therefore they should be viewed as disposable parents after" thing. Even in situations where the father WOH and the mother is the SAHP, the children will still be seeing their dad every day albeit after work. For a child to go from seeing their father every day to quite possibly only seeing them every other week does not seem in the child's best interests at all.

GooseyLoosey Tue 22-Jan-13 08:55:05

I have friends who do shared parenting. At the moment it appears to work well. However, I can forsee problems when one moves into a new relationship. Their style of shared parenting means that they see a lot of each other, I think a new partner would find that hard and that they themselves might not want that in the future.

californiababe Tue 22-Jan-13 14:53:35

Empirical research shows me that women are still on the whole taking on the vast majority of the childcare, particularly with younger children.

I didn't say fathers are disposable, but they should not expect to take over a role they have not previously fulfilled prior to the split - children need continuity of care in their lives, particularly during such a stressful time for them when their parents are separating. I think the fact that you feel the need to get agressive and resort to abusive language during a civilized discussiion speaks volumes and helps make my case for me !

californiababe Tue 22-Jan-13 15:00:35

Snorbs If you are right and only 1 in 10 single parents are fathers, then the 'fact' is the vast majority of single parents are women, which added to the number of women in 2 parent families who are doing the majority of childcare and nurturing, then the status quo seems clear, and does not support any change in the law.

Balderdashandpiffle Tue 22-Jan-13 17:55:18

And 9% of separated couples do shared care, so we're up to about 19%.

Also:

'There are now 10 times as many stay-at-home dads in the UK than a decade ago, with one in seven fathers (14%) now the main childcare provider, according to research from Aviva. It says about 1.4 million men are now the primary carer in their households [see footnote].'

Times are a changing.

Also can you link to any empirical evidence for men not putting themselves before their children.

Thanks.

Snorbs Tue 22-Jan-13 20:15:33

I reserve the right to be insulting when faced with someone who denigrates my parenting abilities purely because of my sex.

If you don't like that then frankly I couldn't care less. Feel free to take your sexism somewhere else.

Peterpan101 Tue 22-Jan-13 20:49:11

California. I have to agree that your statements were a little....hmm?!

Times are changing, and roles are changing with it. Both me and my brother have had a far higher input into our children's daily lives than our father did with us, and he was very hands on for his generation.

When I was still with my ex I was always by default the main carer when I was home from work. There was no arguments about that (arguments about everything else!) and the only difference in our parenting abilities lay our breasts!!

Peterpan101 Tue 22-Jan-13 20:49:55

'lay in our breasts.'

californiababe Wed 23-Jan-13 17:48:12

Update, Head count at school gates today - 3 men out of roughly 50-60 parents? (2 of these actually grandads).

What is mystifying to me is why the same men suddenly want to parent 50 % after divorce yet are so reluctant to beforehand when they have every opportunity. (You only have to read previous comments, feeds blogs, speak to people etc to hear all the women bemoaning the lack of input from their men. One or two right on chaps does not a consensus make.)

The main point is that you can't have a one size fits all. Some children cannot adapt well to shared care, and domestic situations vary a lot, as do parents. Domestic violence is also a very real and present threat to many women and children and needs to be taken into account when looking at legislation.(Yes a few men suffer dv too, though frankly in tiny numbers by comparison).
Research from other countries who have tried shared care (such as Australia) have experienced huge problems and have been back tracking as a result. If you are going to quote research then don't cherry pick, read it all.

Balderdashandpiffle Wed 23-Jan-13 19:14:00

We must mix in very different circles.

It's about half and half at my children's school.

But remember anecdotal evidence isn't fact.

I should imagine the men are contributing to the family by being at work.

I'm a big fan of Erin Pizzey, she believed that domestic violence against men is massively under reported and I tend to agree.

You come across as pretty anti-father and that mums are brilliant, and that's your opinion and it's valid.

I just think it's wrong. I believe fathers are more involved with their children than they have ever been, and I think this is a result of women wanting equality, so do women want equality or not?

As for the evidence in Australia, I think the patriarchal society is so opposed to men becoming equal that it rails against it.

Shared care isn't the problem it's hostile parents, but I suppose that's the dads fault?

Spero Wed 23-Jan-13 19:23:56

'I don't know a father who doesn't put his children before themselves'

well that is lovely for you op. However, I know plenty of fathers who put their work, their girlfriends. their sport, their drinking, their friends etc, etc, before the children.

I would bloody love 50/50 care. I would love a weekend where I got to have a lie in, could go to the cinema without spending all my spare cash on a babysitting. But unfortunately my daughter has a father who thinks he deserves a medal because he sees her four times a year.

The blame is not always on the woman's shoulders.

Peterpan101 Fri 25-Jan-13 07:07:49

California, forget about this 50% issue. 'Shared parenting' doesnt necessarily mean 50/50. Shared parenting means having both parents in the children's live: 20/80, 10/90, what ever. The new legislation will hopefully mean that NRPs that want a role in their children's live will not be prevented by the hostile actions of a RP (for too long anyhow).

Unfortunately people are still conditioned for men to take on less of a role in children's lives and that is probably reflected in your play ground?? But it has changed and will change more as time passes.

The gender divide with work however makes it far harder for men to do the school run. A higher percentage of females (especially with kids) work part time, normally so that they can do child care as well!!

I work away so a proper 50/50 split was never going to be possible with my children after the split. I was the main carer while at home though when still with their mum. But as time goes by I hope to be doing more and more of the 'routine' care with them like the school runs, etc, even though I've not been allowed 50/50 contact while at home.

But there are many RPs out there that do not allow the NRPs enough time with the kids other than at the weekends, how can those ever be anything other than 'Disney Dads'??

There are many men out there that sherk the responsibility of being a father even with being granted a good contact routine. But there are also many women in the past who did not allow decent contact let alone an equal say in the children's lives. I hope that this new legislation will go some way to making things equal.

I know there is also the counter argument that NRPs who sherk their responsibility should be forced to take some of the care arrangements off of the RP. Well if someone doesn't want to be a parent is it in the interests of the children for them to be forced???

Peterpan101 Fri 25-Jan-13 07:17:08

Oh forgot to say: Balder is spot on, shared care is not the problem, hostile parents who put their own hostility before their children is the problem.

From my experience with friends/family it's looking like equality in that subject for you girls!!

Spero Fri 25-Jan-13 08:20:26

Peterpan I would agree with you that hostility from resident parents is part of the problem. But you do need to add to that list the very real problem of men who don't care and won't get involved. This is a problem that is not restricted to hostile women only. And I agree that we can't 'force' men into having a relationship with their children - but we can damn well do more to improve the system of collecting money from them to maintain their children.

and fwiw I don't think the new law will make a shred of difference. I am a family lawyer and it has always been the case that the law recognises and enforces the right of the child to have a relationship with both parents.

The problem is the 10% of intractably hostile cases. These are not legal problems but emotional/psychological problems. And both parties in a relationship have to understand why a relationship has broken down to such an extent that a mother will not even contemplate allowing a father contact. I find it hard to believe that every case of implacable hostility is explained by the mother being 100% bitch. We all need to examine our behaviour in relationships to understand how such an awful situation has arisen.

Fortyshadesofgreen Fri 25-Jan-13 13:06:39

Hi Spero - great that we have a family lawyer who can give some perspective re intractably hostile cases. You talk about this being 10% - what is that 10% of ? Divorce cases in total, cases which are referred to Court re child contact and who measured the 10% - is it an 'official' figure ?

Spero Fri 25-Jan-13 14:10:21

Its a percentage often touted in my field but I am afraid I don't know where it comes from - better find out. I assume it must be of all applications made to court as I don't think anyone is keeping any records of parents who just split up but arrange it amicably.

What we are told is that the majority of separating parents do sort it out themselves but a small percentage have to litigate and an even smaller percentage of that number (this is I assume the 10%) are deemed 'implacably hostile' i.e. the resident parent (and I accept almost always the mother) refuses to act reasonably with regard to contact, in the worst cases refusing it altogether.

I have been doing this stuff for over a decade now and I would say it is rare to have such cases. It is extremely rare to have a parent who is maliciously and deliberately frustrating contact - I would say I have had a handful in that time. What you usually get is a relationship that has gone very toxic and the bitterness both parents feel for each other spills over into the issues of contact/residence. Very often I think there are psychological problems exhibited by one or both parents which have been exacerbated by the hurt and misery of a relationship split.

And I am afraid that the non resident parents are not very good at looking hard at their own behaviour - mostly both parents are behaving badly when you get to implacable hostility cases. I do think it usually takes two to make such a toxic mess in a broken down relationship.

I don't know what the answer is. All I know it is hellish for the children involved and I struggle to see why any intelligent adult could bear to put their children thru that.

Peterpan101 Fri 25-Jan-13 15:49:25

Spero. Very well put. 'Two to tango' has always summed it up so well?!

I'd imagine there are only a tiny number of cases where it is one sided (both leading to split and after).

I know for sure that there are two sides to my split story and both of us should admit fault (we just weren't suited). Things have changed and I would certainly not call my ex 'implacably hostile' any more.

This site does have a huge majority who think that the other half was totally to blame though?!

Spero Fri 25-Jan-13 16:11:27

I think 'huge majority' is wrong and unfair. I have encountered a few people with a very black and white view of the world but my experiences are that the 'huge majority' are quite balanced and give sound advice. That is one of the major benefits of this site.

But I am glad to hear you have got through the worst. It is always good to hear that things can turn around. Sadly I only see people at their worst and have had some cases drag on in excess of five years now...

Peterpan101 Fri 25-Jan-13 16:34:03

Your are right it was unfair. It does seem like the 'bitter few' drown out the rest though. Maybe it is because they have/or think they have more to say??

I guess Feeling Bitter is a nasty town to live in no matter what the situation?!

I have received some very wise words from this site as well.

Spero Fri 25-Jan-13 17:30:41

I think the problem is that the 'bitter few' seem more numerous than they really are as they post very frequently and in quite forceful language. But I really think they are few.

as the wise old saying has it, feeling bitter is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It is almost always a clear symptom of quite massive difficulties for that individual. And sadly the legal system can't do much about it.

Fortyshadesofgreen Fri 25-Jan-13 18:09:45

Thanks Spero - so its probably 10% of the cases which end up referred to Court, but that the number of cases, where there is implaccable hostility are probably higher as there will be percentage were the NRP 'gives up' or doesn't have the funds, to take the issue to Court. The figure could well be higher then ?

Keeping a balanced view I agree completely that we should do more to the system for those NRPs who do not contribute or support their children. I appreciate that you see this as mainly a male issue and stats would support that.

However for the predominatly mother based issued of implaccable hostility there doesn't seem to be a solution, except for both parties to look at their behaviour including the NRP who could well be fighting for contact with their child ? With your experience and no doubt your colleagues who you talk to, do you have any proposals or suggestions for ways of dealing with such cases, based on it probably be a lot higher than 10% of all cases referred to Courts ?

Thanks Spero

Spero Fri 25-Jan-13 18:20:40

yes, good point, I agree that in reality the numbers must be higher. I am not aware of any kind of 'tracking' of parents who split up, don't go to court but then have problems with contact. The only way the statistics can have been compiled is by looking at court applications and outcomes. unless anyone knows any different?

I don't have any solutions because I don't think the problem is a legal one. If you are overwhelmed by bitter, negative emotions, you are not going to give much of a stuff about what the 'law' says. The punishments for failing to stick to orders are not effective. Courts will send people to prison but what if you are dealing with the mother of a young child who has yet to meet his father? Can't really send child to live with father while mother is in prison - so child suffers.

The only thing I can think of which might help is to encourage the development of greater emotional intelligence, encourage people to think more about what they are doing, not rush into relationships and parenthood to fill some gap in their lives. Not to be so keen to be in a relationship that they ignore the clear signs that the relationship isn't going to work.

Could this be done in school? Trouble is, I think parents have more impact and they can't help if they are in a mess themselves.

i had one 19 year old client who said that every time he had sex he became a father. He was so lost, with no aspiration for any kind of future or job, all he could do was make babies and the tragedy was there was no shortage of teenage girls in same position to agree to have unprotected sex with him. He had five children when I met him and I don't think he was seeing any of them.

So there is that kind of utter tragedy and loss of a whole section of a generation. Moving up the social scale there are a lot of 'middle class' parents whose relationships go bad for a variety of reasons, this exposes inherent vulnerabilities in their personalities and they cope very badly.

Its a savage mess and it is left to the legal system to try and sort it out!

achillea Fri 25-Jan-13 18:25:25

It makes me uncomfortable because there's no ONE person that will be there to be the rock. Having two rocks is different, I wish I could explain why.

Peterpan101 Sat 26-Jan-13 03:27:46

Fantastic quote about drinking poison.....how apt

BrunoDitri Sat 16-Mar-13 22:54:00

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