How do you manage access etc if you move a long way from ex?

(13 Posts)
GingerBeer1234 Mon 03-Sep-12 10:41:26

I was wondering if anyone could give any insight into how things work access wise with DCs if you live a long way away from your ex.

I am trying to prepare myself as best as I can about becoming a LP and how to cope with it all. My son is still young, just 16 months.

Basically, we live in an expensive part of the south east at the moment, and I won't be able to afford to stay living here when I'm on my own. I'd also want a fresh start so I'm keen to move much further west.

My soon to be ex will want regular access/visits to see his son and I am happy with that. But how do you best work this out if you live a long way away? He won't be able to drop by (fine by me), so I suppose it will be mainly holidays and weekends etc. Maybe that means your ex simply gets to do all the fun stuff with none of the day to day responsibilites....

On a practical level, I'm worried it's going to be us meeting half way at a motorway service station, which sounds depressing. I have a friend whose parents divorced when she was young, and she said these 'drop offs' were some of the worst memories of her childhood sad

does anyone have any advice/words of warning?

thank you

RedHelenB Mon 03-Sep-12 18:30:04

Can't you discuss ways if staying where you are with your ex? Or both move somewhere cheaper? How long a drive away are you planning to move?

GingerBeer1234 Mon 03-Sep-12 18:40:41

Thanks for the reply RH. I will be a 3 hour drive away from him which sounds a long way but I don't want to stay where I am - partly for cost reasons, but also I want to make a fresh start (I know this will be hard) My ex runs his business from where we are currently living, so he does not want to move.

chocoraisin Mon 03-Sep-12 18:54:33

I moved a 3 hour drive away for unavoidable reasons (split made me homeless, pregnant with 17mo DS - had to go back to parents). However where I moved to, ex had family too so he has come down every weekend and stayed with his mum, where he sees DS in her home, or he sees DS and baby in my parents home with me. Obviously this is a) a huge commitment from him to drive down and b) a big commitment from me and my parents to make it as simple as possible for him to see the kids when he does. It wasn't a happy split (OW scenario while I was pregnant) and both sides have found it difficult, however I think he was more willing to travel given that his actions had properly shafted me and the kids, and he knows that! I didn't really have a choice about leaving.

In reality I think that unless you can accommodate your ex where you are going to so that your DS isn't sat in a car for 6 hours every or every other weekend doing the shuttle back and forth (he's really young to be doing that much travel, if you wouldn't want to, imagine being under 2 and doing it frequently?) and on top of that, your ex has to be happy to travel, it isn't really practical. In the long term, my ex and his new partner intend to move closer to me and the kids and our family network, and I plan to move back a bit closer to them (knocking an hour off the journey each way in all probability) so we sort of meet halfway by both moving. It's challenging and does leave my ex doing disney dad stuff because all he can do is day trips when he's here so it's all sweeties and pony rides etc. I can't say I'd recommend it longer term sad

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Sep-12 20:07:00

If you move, you will either place your ex in a position of playing 'weekend Dad' by default, leaving you to deal with the hard slog of parenting - which he might be happy with.

Alternatively, he may want to play an active role in his DS life, which is generally accepted as the best scenario for DCs. If so, your ex could seek legal recourse to prevent the move, or he may choose to relocate himself in order to remain a significant part if his sons life.

Is it really your only option?

Sassybeast Mon 03-Sep-12 20:43:05

Presumably you are moving to be closer to family/support network.
I would suggest that your EX stays at your new place on the weekends he sees DS and you stay with friends/family (assuming that your split is amicable)

RedHelenB Tue 04-Sep-12 07:26:43

I think you need to talk about it with your STBX - he may be able to give you more maintenance so you can afford to stay. There will be other single parents in the area & cost alone is not a reason for moving if he takes you to court & gets a prohibitive steps order. Maybe you could delay moving until your child is a bit older and could cope with the travel more?

Bikelock Thu 04-Oct-12 15:02:27

something of a latecomer to this, but my advise, as a NRP, is to be very careful.

my ex wife moved a looong way from me (for legitimate reasons - cost, family, new start, promotion etc..), and i'm sad to say that all the previously arranged contact just hasn't happened - very roughly it was supposed to be me travelling up there one weekend every six weeks, and my ex and daughter travelling down to my parents one weekend every six weeks, with me going to my parents to see our daughter there. (so i see her for one weekend every three weeks).

what has got in the way is cost: the cost of getting there, whether by car, train or plane, then finding somewhere to stay (i've no friends or family there), and then doing stuff and eating touches £300 per weekend, with another £150 for the times i see her at my parents. (so £450 per 6 weeks)

i simply don't have that £450, and it turns out - shockingly - that my ex isn't exactly trying that hard to do the return trips (which, to be fair, are also pretty expensive for her), so what should have been a journey done every every 6 weeks, is now a journey done every 12 weeks.

i'm losing touch with my daughter, i'm just not part of her life in the way i was a year ago. she's nine now, and tbh, i rather doubt that i'll play any part in her life in 3 or four years.

belleshell Thu 04-Oct-12 15:22:50

i drop my kids off at a service station sad and your right its not nice but its the only way sometimes.

getmorenappies Thu 04-Oct-12 16:24:54

I think it's worth highlighting that it's your ds is going to be the looser in this scenario.

Assuming you end up with the 'standard' alternate w/e agreement your young son will be doing 6 hours travel every other weekend ( along with you and XP ) . Keeping a toddler happy in the back of a car for three hours whilst you're driving can be a nightmare. Putting him through that twice a month for years on end a reoccurring nightmare.

But such is life. If you feel you must move that far away then you must I guess.

I'm an NRP living 90 minutes away from my XP and dd. Which isn't too bad as dd usually sleeps for most of the journey and I have pre-planned stop offs if needed for a run around.

In my view it will help your ds if your XP can take time off either side of the weekend so that he can pick up on a Friday or drop off on a Monday. Given the journeys it's going to be better if ds has more time settled at dad's as opposed to getting there Sat lunch time and having to leave Sun lunch time.

Planning for the journey is obviously essential. Food, clothes, fave toy, books etc. Alternate train and car if possible.

I'd think it'd be easier on your ds if you both did the whole journey with him, one drops off the other drops back. So you'd be looking at at a single 6 hour car trip for each of you.

You may want to put the idea forward that sometimes your XP travels to see ds at your new home but it depends on your relationship. I do this sometimes and I'm grateful that my XP is ok with me being in her home rather than me traipsing the streets with a toddler.

As for the 'fun dad' thing, well it's kind of a default accusation if you're an NRP who does alt w/e. But one still has to feed, clothe, comfort, night time parent etc etc it's not all going to the zoo and eating ice cream.

alfiethetortoise Fri 05-Oct-12 21:59:39

Ex moved three hours when DD was a baby. HE travels back to us for contact, one weekend in eight. He pays for this himself though it used to be taken off child maintenance but he was taking the mick so that all changed a couple of years back. Works ok for us as he can stay with his parents, though often chooses to drive up/down in a day.

I don't see why I should pay to drive DD anywhere when he chose to move for nonsensical reasons. He collects/drops off DD from my house. Sometimes taking her to his parents, often taking her out elsewhere. I have occasionally dropped her off at his parents, and told him if i was 'in his area' (he is now where i went to uni so i do go there from time to time) and he will see her then as a 'bonus'.

Ninjacat Fri 05-Oct-12 22:26:17

DS's dad moved three hours away.
It makes it hard for week end visits. DS now 15 tends just to go for holidays these days.
Legally it doesn't matter who moves you are 50/50 responsible for travel.

allthefun Fri 05-Oct-12 23:47:23

I think it works for the better TBH. My ex has DS for a few weeks at a time in the holiday's. It's arranges months in advance so nothing gets in the way save freak weather, motorway pile ups etc. Expenses are 50/50 and he pays for set things like gym classes, uniform etc.
Clean and simple.
More seems to go wrong with the every week/every other weekend type arrangement's.

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