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How much access to DC does your ex have?

(168 Posts)
JemimaPuddlefuck Sat 29-Jun-13 19:14:54

Hi,

Sorry, I have just posted this in "Lone Parents" thread as well but realised that there may be more traffic on this one.

I am in the process of setting down how much access my ex should have with our DD. I am thinking either a Saturday or Sunday 10:30am - 4:30pm. I don't in principle have anything against overnight stays, but he does not live somewhere that is appropriate for her to stay the night.

Is this reasonable (I know without a doubt that my ex will not find this reasonable, he will want to come everyday!).

I suppose I would like to know what the norm is (if there is one) and also what I have suggested above is reasonable.

skyeskyeskye Tue 16-Jul-13 22:11:13

My XH left last Easter and lodged with friends who said he couldn't have DD overnight. It took him six months to get his own place.

DD is now five and XH makes no effort to see her in the week, rings her if he remembers and has her once a fortnight from 10am Sat to 6pm Sunday. He refuses to have her in the holidays as he is too busy working.

That is all his own choice. He whines on Facebook how he misses his own dad who died 20 years ago yet makes no time for his own DD.

These men make a lifestyle choice and it is a selfish one that doesn't include their DC. If your X wants more contact he needs to find a suitable place where he can have her.

When XH first left, he had DD every Sunday as I felt that 4yo was too young to only see him EOW.

If your DD is only 2, then EOW might be too long. And yes, he does need to feed her when he has her! I had the same thing with XH bringing DD home at 7pm with no tea....

You really need to discuss with him that it is in DD's best interests. Trouble is they take it personally when it really isn't.

crazykat Tue 16-Jul-13 22:47:24

I completely understand you not wanting your ex to take your DD on a 12hr journey to see his family. Especially as he's never so much as had her overnight on his own and even though he'd have help from his family (hopefully) to take care of her, it's unlikely she'd remember them and would be very unhappy. FWIW I wouldn't want DH to take our DCs away without me and he knows the DCs routine.

DH has been at the other side with DSD when she was the same age. He works away mon-fri so lived with his parents (before we moved in together) and DSD had a hard time with overnight till she was about four and DHs ex lived round the corner from where he was living. Due to his job he could only see her Saturday and Sunday and it was hard for them both when she was young, no way would she have been okay with a trip away for more than one night (even that was too much for her sometimes).

The way your ex has been WRT being a parent instead of a Disney dad, it would be cruel for him to take your daughter away without you. You shouldn't have to go with him so he gets his way, he'll just have to grow up and start being a parent before even suggesting taking her away.

JemimaPuddlefuck Sat 20-Jul-13 16:42:32

I got a text from ex last night saying that he is going camping with his mates with weekend and therefore won't be around to see DD. I find this very selfish and frustrating. He is letting his DD down.

I had plans for tomorrow with a friend and because he is not going to be around I have had to ask my parents to look after DD instead.

RandomMess Sat 20-Jul-13 17:01:38

sad

Unfortunately you can't make him take an interest in your dd.

laeiou Sat 20-Jul-13 17:51:07

When he does this, do you respond? Something along the lines of "she will be disappointed , we must find a schedule that you can commit to" might be useful. Apoint out that it's not much notice and save the texts of course .

JemimaPuddlefuck Fri 26-Jul-13 09:02:25

I just want to have a bit of a vent.

I responded to ex not coming round last weekend by stating that although I cannot tell him what he should do with his life or how he chooses to spend his time, I asked him to think about how this impacts on DD and on me.

He came back stating that because we are not visiting his family this summer I have created a big hole in his holiday plans and therefore wanted to take up an opportunity to go camping with his friends so that he could enjoy the summer.

The whole thing is getting me down. I have agreed with him that he can take DD to a camping trip with some of his friends (who also have children the same sort of age as DD) in a week's time. THis will be the first time that he has had her on his own for the night.

Yesterday when he came to pick up DD, he asked if he could have her for the night on Saturday (tomorrow) as he is thinking of taking her on another camping trip as a kind of trial run. I said no because I felt it was a bit short notice and also I have made plans for the Saturday. He will pick her up early on Sunday instead. He said that by me not letting him take her away for the night on Saturday means that I am restricting access. This just makes me feel so annoyed as I feel like he wants everything on his terms i.e. if he wants to go camping on his own with his mates last minute, he can and does'nt care to think about me and DD and when he wants to take her, and it is not convenient with me or DD, I am being a bitch who is restricting access.

So far on this issue of rearranging access, I have stopped him coming into my house to pick her up and we have agreed he can see her 2 days during the week and can see her on Saturday/Sunday. I have also offered him the opportunity of sleepovers. I think I have been quite reasonable. He on the other hand, cancels on us at the last minute (like last weekend to go camping) or gets in a massive huff when he can't have her when he wants her. I communicate largely via email and text these days as face-to-face usually becomes quite heated, but he repeatedly denies receiving certain messages despite the fact that I get delivery reports. Or he conveniently "forgets" stuff that I have asked/told him.

I am paranoid that things are going to get uglier. I met my mum for lunch yesterday and she was telling me that I should be careful as she is worried that one day he will kidnap her and not bring her back?! My mum is known for paranoia (she told me not to tell the doctor I was feeling a bit down after DD's birth in case they thought I had pnd as SS would take her away hmm. Very unhelpful though when I am in the midst of all this.

JemimaPuddlefuck Fri 26-Jul-13 09:14:29

I would also add, that with the new system of him taking her off with him instead of being at my home, I think that although he is not seeing her everyday like he had for a long time up until about a month ago, I think because he is solely responsible for her and I am not there, he is seeing MORE of her in those afternoons he has with her during the week and also at the weekend. When he would come round to mine, I would do everything. He would often just sit on my sofa, google stuff on my laptop, whinge about work, state he was too tired to help out with DD etc. I think he is seeing more of her now than before.

Viking1 Fri 26-Jul-13 14:24:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JemimaPuddlefuck Fri 26-Jul-13 21:19:44

Thank you Viking1 smile

I emailed him today basically just reiterating my points about why I have placed these boundaries etc and that it is not my intention to be mean to him but that I think it is better for everyone all round. I said that we are experiencing teething troubles and acknowledged that it is a big change for him but that it is important that things do change.

He came back to me saying that I don't realise how much power and control I have in this situation and that he now empathises with the Fathers for Justice men who dress up in Batman costumes etc. He said that I have the ability to make him really depressed about the situation.

I told him that I am not inflexible about access and that I have offered him quite a lot. I put forward 2 weekday afternoons until bedtime a week together with all day Saturday or Sunday. I have also from the outset offered him the chance for overnights, but has never taken up the offer. He has now come back saying he'd be happy with 3 weekday evenings, and all the weekend most weeks (but dropping her off with me on the Saturday night). He said that because I have her all the time, this is fair. I've decided that I'm not going to respond to him tonight, but am going to sleep on it. What he is asking seems like a lot. Every weekend? Although I have her all the time, I have friends and family myself who can only see us at the weekends so I think this is a bit much.

It annoys me that he is trying to make out all the time that i am being unreasonable about access when he goes on last minute camping trips etc and generally in the last 2 years has been lazy with childcare etc. My gut is just telling me that although she lives with me, him having her every weekend is a bit unfair.

laeiou Fri 26-Jul-13 22:16:11

I think that every weekend is too much. One day each weekend or eow.

My thoughts-
think of the future
She'll be 5 half days at nursery / 5 full days at school, this schedule will have you doing all the work and getting little or no fun time with her
Your 2yo's social life will only expand. She'll be invited to parties, have the chance of events. Will he take her to these things or will she miss out on his weekends?
If he wants to do more parenting, he can do her laundry / cooking / medical and dental appointments and everything else that falls on his days. Let's see how that goes down.
Or does he just want the fun times at the park with you providing a picnic?

laeiou Fri 26-Jul-13 22:18:00

Is he suggesting he has her all weekend but you essentially babysit on Saturday nights so he can go out?

JemimaPuddlefuck Fri 26-Jul-13 22:37:15

That was exactly what I was thinking laeiou. I think that as she gets older and I can work longer hours etc, I will be left with all the hard work with no fun time. And yes, I think that he wants to drop her off on Saturday nights so that I can babysit while he has a night to himself. I'm worried that if I agree to his demands that once DD goes to nursery etc that the situation of him having her every weekend will continue because it had been established at that point.

I am still doing everything. Now at least he has to provide her dinner 2 times a week, but that hardly scratches the surface.

I think that one day each weekend or eow is the way to go.

newbiefrugalgal Sat 27-Jul-13 08:37:38

Hello, think you are doing so well by the way!

If he wants more weekend time can you suggest
Alternate weeks:
Week 1
Three week nights.
All day one day weekend.

Week 2
Two week nights
From 4pm sat until 6pm Sunday.

newbiefrugalgal Sat 27-Jul-13 08:38:19

Do not agree to full weekends ever-you need this time with dd too!

RandomMess Sat 27-Jul-13 11:46:52

I would suggest he has her 2 overnights each week on a weekday night say Tues & Thurs and every other weekend. I know that is a big change from where you are now but that would be fair on both parties. As for you having her every Saturday night - he's having a piss take!!!!

laeiou Sat 27-Jul-13 14:31:05

Whatever schedule you agree, I think it's most useful to you and in the best interests of dd that the contact is scheduled. Otherwise you can't plan anything and she doesn't know what to expect. Seeing her dad 3 nights and all weekend one week is a lot if the next week he's "busy" and she sees him once or twice. My 2yo would find that difficult. Ex and I are flexible but it's one day every weekend. Sat or Sun depending on what suits us all, agreed the previous weekend. This business of your ex phoning a day or two in advance then complaining if you don't capitulate is awful.

HeliumHeart Sat 27-Jul-13 15:17:10

Jemima - I think you are being more than reasonable.

I am locking horns with my ex at the moment about contact. My DC are pre-school age and at the moment they live with me. I am a SAHM (although plan to start p/t work shortly around their nursery hours); he works f/t.

He has suggested 3 weekends out of 4 and I have said no. I know he thinks this is unreasonable but soon I will either be working longer or they will be at school and I resent rarely being able to have the chance to either go away for the weekend with them to visit family, or to have fun with them visiting my/their friends. I would be happy for midweek contact as well, but do think weekends are precious.

I can only speak for myself, but I would be nervous about setting a precedent where he has them for most/all weekends, because it's quite hard to move back from that in the future - and once they start school you become the one who does all the drudge with very little in the way of fun time.

I think men find this situation unbearable and experience the fact that they have to negotiate AT ALL on the matter as the resident parent being unbelievably controlling when in fact you are just NOT SAYING YES TO WHAT THEY WANT. My ex is so incensed at the moment that I won't say yes to what he wants that he is refusing to see the children at all, and blaming me for it. Five weeks and counting sad

nickymanchester Sat 27-Jul-13 15:33:36

I think men find this situation unbearable and experience the fact that they have to negotiate AT ALL on the matter as the resident parent being unbelievably controlling

A very one sided statement.

A number of resident parents ARE very controlling and unreasonable. To say that it is just men being in a new situation and that women are always perfectly reasonable is very naive.

HeliumHeart Sat 27-Jul-13 18:04:05

You're right, I should have qualified that with 'some men'. I happen to have been married to a highly controlling man who just cannot cope AT ALL with the fact that I have SOME power in this situation. He sadly interprets the fact that I have the power to say no to mean that I am 'controlling'. I am desperate for him to see the children, he has chosen not to because I don't accept the schedule he suggests. It is ludicrous.

Although I agree that resident parents can also be controlling, as I travel the path through divorce I am yet to meet a woman in a similar situation who is withholding contact or who seeks to alienate her children from the NRP. Although of course it happens, I happen to think it's hugely exaggerated.

Viking1 Sat 27-Jul-13 18:15:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JemimaPuddlefuck Sat 27-Jul-13 19:37:47

Thanks for all your responses and advice! I really do appreciate it!!

I have just sent him another email in response to his previous one. I reiterated that I am standing by my original proposal of 2 weekday afternoon/evenings a week (where he drops DD off at mine before bedtime) and then the choice of either a full day on Saturday or Sunday, to be agreed in advance. I stated the reasons being that we need to establish long term access which will survive when I increase my workload/DD goes to school etc and that it is important that we set up a routine for DD. If we change the routine again in the future when I work more or she is at school, this will be be unsettling.

I also pointed out to him that he is not seeing her less during the week - for example before I started changing the access he would come round to my house most nights just after 6pm and leave at 7pm and would often have Friday's off so that he could go down the pub with his mates etc. So that is 4 hours which is actually under the amount of time he will be seeing her now where he sees her for 2 nights during the week.

I have also asked him to give me specific confirmation as to whether he is willing to do overnights, from when, how often and whether he truthfully thinks this is something he can commit too. So far he has not given me any information as to any of this so it is difficult to offer him or plan overnight stays when he won't tell me when he is available.

I ended my email stating that there has been a massive inequality in that I have been solely responsible for the entire workload of raising DD - laundry, food shopping, cooking, cleaning, entertaining her, classes, money etc. I told him that knowing the amount of work that I do I know the reality of what it takes to look after a small child and that when I look at him, what he does scarcely scratches the surface.I told him I was sorry if that hurt his feelings but that is the truth of what I think. I slightly regret adding that last bit but I was so pissed off with all. What do others think?

laeiou Sat 27-Jul-13 20:17:16

I think your email is good. I understand why you added the last but, but I'd try to be factual about dd and not mention myself if possible. If he continues in this vein I would write back suggesting mediation or some other professional assistance in agreeing a contact schedule. Otherwise I think he's trying to wear you down. No point in having the same conversation again and again.

Do you have regular financial support from him? If not, have you had advice from a solicitor or an organisation that can help with contact and financial support?

laeiou Sat 27-Jul-13 20:19:29

Also, did you know that you can setup a filter on most email accounts so mail from a certain person or with a certain subject is automatically put in a specific folder? That way you can set aside a set time to check and deal with email from him, rather than facing it every time you look at your inbox.

JemimaPuddlefuck Sat 27-Jul-13 20:30:00

Yeah I sort of regret the last bit as I have been trying to be as adult and non-provoking as possible. I think it is all getting to me though. His emails are full of shouty sentences with caps on "DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING TO ME" sort of stuff and accusing me of being a cow so I think I just snapped and told him a bit of stuff back that I've had on my mind. But I will keep my eye on it in the future.

He does provide me with financial support, basically what the CSA advise based on his income. He only started this just over a year ago.

perfectstorm Sat 27-Jul-13 22:14:33

I think you had every right to point out that he wants equality in the fun time with her, but has done sod all of the hard work, actually. That's not rude. That's the reality, and he's making out he's this put-upon Papa when he's anything but. Given I know damn good fathers who are blocked from contact with kids they love very much and actively co-parented before the split, I think he's taking the piss in whining because you want a routine that would suit and support your dd's developmental needs and to have your own space instead of his looming over your shoulder every time he wants contact.

I would be very wary of agreeing to his having her every weekend. Every other weekend is fair on both parents because week nights, once the kids are at school, are the stressful and grunt-work ones. Offering him one overnight in the week and every other weekend, plus more on an informal arrangement as suits you both, seems fair, but he has to build up to that by spending more time with her and being responsible for her overnight. It's just not fair on her to do a 0 to 60 that way in one go. I don't think a camping trip is the ideal test for a baby who isn't yet 2 when he's not had her in a house yet, either. I think a suitable place for her to stay overnight and then her getting really familiar with that place before she does stay overnight seems a lot more child-focused. He's a dad. He needs a home his daughter can stay in. That's part of the deal of being a parent, if at all financially possible, which from what you've said it is for him.

He sounds very much more focused on his rights and emotional needs than her welfare, though I do give him credit for voluntarily paying more than the CSA would ask. He does love her, then. Money speaks loudly on that front, in my sad experience. But that's what he SHOULD be doing. And so is selecting somewhere to live that would allow him to have his own daughter to stay with him.

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