Just broke up with DP - he wants DS EVERY weekend. How do I stand?

(103 Posts)
sadtallmummy Wed 19-Mar-14 17:21:49

My DP and I have a 14 month old son. DP has dumped me as he says he doesn't want to marry me etc etc.
He lives in London
I live in the country
He used to spend part of the week with me/us.

He announced that he wants DS all weekend, every single weekend. He says that its only fair because I "get him all week". However I do actually work during the week (albeit mostly from home) but it's not really the same as being free at weekends!

1) I think he is too little to spend a night without me every single week (plus I'm still breastfeeding)

2) I want to enjoy him at weekends too! I want to take him to do fun things, see my friends, etc

I said to DP that of course I want him to see DS as much as possible, and have suggested he have him one full day every weekend, and once he's old enough, both days every other weekend.
He can come and see him whenever he wants during the week.

DP doesn't accept this and is insisting on having him both days, every weekend, now.

I am very upset and worried that I might lose access to my son at weekends.

Surely if DP was so keen to see his son he could move out of London to be nearer him and see him in the week? There are jobs for him around here.

Please help - thank you.

Just say no and let him progress it through the courts.

If your child is still breast feeding then he's too young to go away overnight. Even when he's not he will only get every other weekend.

Cut contact if he's harassing you, you don't have to talk to him if he's bullying you or being unreasonable

hoboken Wed 19-Mar-14 17:26:52

I very much doubt that any court would award "every weekend" visits to your exP. I think you need to consult a solicitor asap. You would have no real relaxation time with your DS - on week days it's all about getting to work etc, then the tea, bed, bath routine.

STIDW Wed 19-Mar-14 18:02:18

If someone behaves unreasonably you need to establish some boundaries but cutting contact altogether isn't very realistic apart from when there is serious abuse. GOod contact for children relies on separated parents being able to communicate effectively and work together.

Contact is about the welfare of children and meeting their needs rather than the needs or wants of either parent. YOur son needs to be able to develop the bond he has with both of you whilst at the same time not having his routines disrupted too much. Thats why it's quite common for very young children to have frequent short spells gradually increasing into longer less frequent periods.

IF your son hasn't been away from you very much and/or the father hasn't been involved much with day to day care then perhaps taking your son out for a few hours a couple of times a week is enough for your son to begin with. On the other hand if here has been significant involvement a couple of separate overnights might be more appropriate. When a father has been very involved three overnights or shared care 50:50 would maintain the child's sense of security and established bonds. So it's really about tailoring the arrangements around the requirements of the individual child.

That means contact could be initially one night every weekend and as the child reaches another stage it would change to two nights every other weekend.

balia Wed 19-Mar-14 18:38:22

Would mediation be a possibility? I don't think the 'just let him take it to court' attitude is a great idea; the court process often stirs up a great deal of conflict and anger and that's the very worst thing for DCs. At mediation you could sit down and thrash out the practicalities, perhaps suggest a process of increasing contact?

I also don't think the 'come and see him when you like' route works out very often either. Too much room for difficulties and DCs need a routine and some stability. (And you won't really want to have your ex turning up on the doorstep any time he likes and expecting to be able to come in.)

daisy0chain Thu 20-Mar-14 07:45:21

I would opt for mediation too. I hate it when people advise to jump straight to court. Try and avoid court if possible, IMO it is best to use only once every other option has been exhausted. In saying that it is advisable to get some form of contact agreement legally drawn up.

Anyway. You're ex has no right to demand every weekend all weekend. If it were to go through a court generally this would not be ordered. I think you suggestion of one night a weekend until your DS get's used to the environment and then EOW if your ex agrees is a good one. Would you be open to keeping the 1 day every weekend long term if your ex prefers?

Is a week night stay possible too? Like PP I don't think come see him any time during the week approach is the best idea. I would consult your ex about days that would suit him best and try and pick a day or 2 from their. If he isn't willing to commit to a day then I suggest you give him an option that suits you.

Admiraltea Thu 20-Mar-14 07:48:58

But she's still breastfeeding.

Surely overnights now are not in the best interests of the child?

daisy0chain Thu 20-Mar-14 07:51:50

Also I would just like to point out with regards to the BF. This would not stop your ex from getting overnight stays. My friends went through a court when they couldn't agree on access for their 13 month old. The court ordered EOW contact and one night during the week.

She started off expressing, but didn't continue for long as she wanted to stop anyway. Is expressing something you would consider?

daisy0chain Thu 20-Mar-14 07:52:16

Xpost Admiral

ivykaty44 Thu 20-Mar-14 07:54:02

No is a complete sentence and you are well within your rights to say no to this suggestion as it is not a balance of free time for your DC to spend with you.

It is for you DC benefit to spend time with both parents when they are not working, also seeing other family and taking part in events.

Eventually in a year or so your DC will be going to nursery and then onto school, you are not a live in nanny for your ex during the week to swoop in every weekend and take DC

DC needs to see both his parents at weekends and that means sharing weekends

Stick to your gins and suggest sharing weekends and a week night

daisy0chain Thu 20-Mar-14 07:56:18

Stick to your "gins"?

I would normally agree but it's not even 8am yet! grin

ivykaty44 Thu 20-Mar-14 07:59:06

I would suggest making the suggestion in writing offering every other weekend and the a second letter offering e o w and a weekday night

Then wait for him to get legal advise and take it from there, hopefully once he has had legal advise he may well agree to sharing weekends

ivykaty44 Thu 20-Mar-14 08:00:02

Mothers ruin is gin...

Sorry guns !!!

anotetofollowso Thu 20-Mar-14 08:02:08

Sorry, don't know how helpful this is. But 14 months seems way too early to me to be away from you overnight, especially if you are still breastfeeding. I would say you have to wait until at least 2, with some language skills. You ex has to visit the child, and take him out for an hour or two, gradually building up to a night till the child is used to spending long hours with him and away from you. But I have no legal expertise or experience whatsoever. This is simply what seems to me to be in the best interests of your DC.

My heart goes out you - this must be very hard. Good luck!

Fortini Thu 20-Mar-14 08:03:25

Suggest mediation, you have to do this before court anyway, so best try to keep things amicable. Get legal advice.

The request is not reasonable, you both need quality time with your child, and that means weekend and hols must be shared. Make your suggestions in writing, suggest mediation and then see what he does. Do not be bullied and do not make open ended you can visit anytime, that will not work. Set out now a plan that is in your child's best interests and is fair to all

daisy0chain Thu 20-Mar-14 08:14:07

anotetofollowso

It's not really all that helpful to the OP because legally she has zero right to insist on no overnight contact till 2, if she were to try and do this I would bargain she'd end up in a court pretty quickly. TBH I think that's a very unfair approach on NRP. There is nothing to suggest this man is a risk to his child or even that he hasn't been involved much this far. In fact the OP is to the contrary.

Why would the child need language skills to stay with his Dad confused and why would it start at an hour or two? This isn't a stranger to the little boy.

Sorry if I sound harsh but it's opinions like that, that make all lone parents look bad. Especially the one's who's ex's don't have contact for good reason.

Blu Thu 20-Mar-14 08:25:55

The father has never lived with the child though - only staying part of each week.

daisy0chain Thu 20-Mar-14 08:38:39

Yes. So he knows the Dad well. Presumably spent plenty of time one in one. The proposal from the OP is fair to all parties. He is the child's father and providing there are no underlying reasons for the welfare of the dc there is no reason why he shouldn't have fair access. It is becoming more common for 50/50 access. Whilst what he is asking for is unreasonable EOW is not.

sadtallmummy Thu 20-Mar-14 09:12:57

I don't want to block him or be unreasonable in any way - from my perspective either one day per weekend or both days every other weekend, plus agreed time in the week, seems fair to all parties, including DS....

daisy0chain Thu 20-Mar-14 09:20:32

sadtallmummy Absolutely. I think you sound like a great Mum for wanting to find something that suits everyone.

I will say again, what your ex is asking for is unreasonably. Your suggestion is fantastic.

STIDW Thu 20-Mar-14 09:23:08

Actually 50:50 equal shared parenting may be more common by agreement but it isnt common for the courts to make an order for 50:50 shared residence. Usually maintaining a child a child's sense of security and established bonds by keeping many routines is deemed to meet the needs of children best.

According to recent court statistics the reality is in private cases 22% of applications result in a Residence Order. A significant number of Residence Order are made in favour of one parent and in a minority of cases the order is shared residence, usually in different proportions from 50:50. So shared residence orders for equal time are relatively rare and contact orders are the most common order.

In any event the Child Arrangement Programme starts in April and orders for residence, shared residence and contact will be replaced with Child Arrangement Orders.

Meglet Thu 20-Mar-14 09:26:32

Get a solicitor and watch your XP change his mind when he realises every weekend means he won't have a social life. I'd bet my bottom dollar he'd realise it wasn't such a great idea after all.

XP wanted custody of the dc's. He stopped seeing them 5yrs ago, too much hassle apparently.

cestlavielife Thu 20-Mar-14 12:25:16

how far away from london? how much time to travel?

sitting down with a formal third party or informal third party would be good idea to start - you gmith want to go for one day each each weekend to start with a view to reviewing after three monts. you could altternate saturday/sunday so its fair.

14 monhts old he is old enough to spend overnight away from you without a breastfeed. that is the reality.

there is no indivation of the dad being abusive or neglectful or any reason why he should not have the child for overnights

ivykaty44 Thu 20-Mar-14 19:13:14

My dd2 went to her father's one day every weekend to start with and her older sister stayed overnight, it was a pita for about two months but built up so both DC were happy, dd2 wasn't born when we split and started overnights at around five - six months.

Just because ex hadn't lived with DC wasn't mentioned tbh as he was her father and I hadn't lived with her either before she was born

Breast feeding doesn't hold much weight as far as I am aware as mothers can express and at fourteen months it would be seen as being difficult regardless of other opinions rightly or wrongly

Op let your ex do the running about, offer contact offer mediation and don't get in a stew as he is very unlikely to be able to take this to court and get every weekend and as another poster says why would he want to say goodbye to any social life?

Agree with another poster who says your ex will soon tire of every weekend. I was once almost in a relationship with a dad who did this. The mother worked part time and saw the child a lot in the week, and was quite happy to have every Friday and Saturday night free....
This man was quite keen for us to start going out but when it came to weekends I could only see him during the week, or at weekends after his son had gone to sleep... and absolutely no staying over at his place (because it was a one bedroom flat and they co-slept). Staying at mine was looked on as out of the question for him as 'well I have my son'.

By the time he realised how much it would cramp his social life, I was long gone.

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