Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Access arrangements and 3hrs drive?

(30 Posts)
Isaintheshop Mon 01-Feb-16 12:21:51

Looking for practical advice as ever. In early stages of separation (EA and some FA, DH in total denial, in fact has accused me of being brainwashed by MN. Oh yes. Brainwashed into believing in mutual respect)

We moved to our current home 3 years ago for my job. DH works 3 days 2 nights away most weeks and then works from home for the rest of the week. When he's working away he stays in his flat which was his "home" when we met. Its about 3 hrs drive or by train from our current house. I sold my flat in a neighbouring city to buy our family house. There's not much in the 3 hours between our city and the central belt. If we're travelling there's a MacDonalds and a pub with a playground to stop at, but the journeys are usually quite stressful as our 2 year old isn't brilliant in the car and we no longer have nice long naps to travel with.
I'm hoping we can work out custody so its not 50/50 as dh has been a very hands off dad as far as general care. I assume DH will go back to his flat in the big city as we get further into the divorce. There's nothing for him where we live, he works in a fairly niche area so unlikely to find a similar job locally. I can't see him buying a flat locally so I'm pretty worried about our poor 2 year old spending 6 hours in the car regularly.
Has anyone managed a reasonable access arrangement with a young child?
I have had 1 night away in the last 2 years and that was 2 weeks ago. DS has always been a poor sleeper due to eczema and allergy rather than me just being a total PFB btw. I don;t think he would be ready for regular nights away but I don't know how good DH will be about thinking about DS not himself.

RandomMess Mon 01-Feb-16 12:25:28

Well if your DH wants contact (he may not be that bothered I'm afraid) it will be his nightmare to sort out. If he chooses to move away then it's his issue to sort it out and not yours.

Isaintheshop Mon 01-Feb-16 12:35:29

That's good to know. I sometimes realise I can't see the wood for the trees here. I've asked for separation + he needs to get a solicitor, hopefully go down mediation approach. He's been asking me how it will all work - a fairly common thing in our relationship and then he'll tell me I've got it all wrong, won't work etc etc.
Tough times. The bloody dementors (PIL) are coming to stay this weekend too. Don't think DH has told them what's happening either

Atenco Mon 01-Feb-16 14:46:56

Oh yes being brainwashed... been there, bought the T-shirt. The only person who has ever suggested that I wasn't capable of having my own opinions was my abusive ex. Anything I said that he didn't like must obviously have come from someone else.

Good luck with the separation, OP. There will be wiser people along to give you advice.

NorfolkEnchantsToday Mon 01-Feb-16 15:01:32

This is what happened when me and my exp went to court. Although he doesn't see DD ages three anymore

I would drop DD off (3 hour drive) at 2pm on Saturday and literally walk in drop off and leave.

He would drive DD the three hours home on Sunday arriving home at 3pm.

It was ridiculous

Isaintheshop Mon 01-Feb-16 15:22:04

That's really sad Norfolk
Yup. Brainwashed into believing that there are men out there than might do their share of childcare and house work without thinking a)they need a medal b) that it is helping "me" as it is my job. You evil evil brainwashers.
(Though I may have started looking for a Mooncup. That is evidence.)

NorfolkEnchantsToday Mon 01-Feb-16 15:23:50

It is and it's too much for DD but he won't discuss it so hasn't seen her for six months

Just be prepared is all I would say

Fourormore Mon 01-Feb-16 15:24:53

What sort of arrangement would you like, OP?

Isaintheshop Mon 01-Feb-16 15:33:38

Good point. Its probably completely unreasonable to hope he would rent a flat nearby to allow them to spend time together and build their relationship before doing overnights at his flat in the city when he's a wee bit bigger. It would mean he could see him every Sat afternoon say for a bit, before building up to staying over once every 3 or 4 weekends.
(Complicated by me being oncall every 1 in 5 where I need to be within 30mins of work so I couldn't do the drop off/pick up.)
I'm sure he'll say its money wasted on rent, and DS will just have to lump the travelling.
As I work very close to full-time I want to be sure that I don't end up doing all the grind, and never doing the fun weekend stuff with our boy so every weekend staying over wouldn't work. DH isn't good at fun stuff full stop.

RandomMess Mon 01-Feb-16 16:53:15

If he moves away then I would fight all the way to have any responsibility for sharing the driving.

"that doesn't work for me" he could rent a cheap hotel or B&B room overnight or so on. His problem not yours.

Worst case scenario you are made to share it by the court but I'd make him take you to court and self represent to avoid it tbh.

Fourormore Mon 01-Feb-16 17:39:06

I wouldn't. I'd avoid court if at all possible. It's a horrible place and just increases conflict which is the worst thing for the child.

PoundingTheStreets Mon 01-Feb-16 17:55:09

I'd avoid court if at all possible.

I would too, but sometimes it's necessary if the alternative is a child suffering purely to make life easier for one parent.

All that said, you're still in very early stages. I would try to be as accommodating to SBTXH (while keeping some sensible boundaries in place) as possible, as if he's as minded as you say he is, I think you'll find he'll make an effort to start off but will soon drift into having him less often, so DS won't end up having to travel that much after all.

Fourormore Mon 01-Feb-16 18:01:57

Seek legal advice, OP, but I would be surprised if a court thought 3 hours there and then back again the next day was too much travelling when the alternative is significantly restricting the relationship between father and son.
It isn't ideal. Hopefully father will sell the flat further away to be around for his son. Divorce can change people - I know my ex certainly upped his game where the children were concerned.
Seeing his dad only for a few hours on a Saturday and then only every third or fourth week isn't going to be in the child's best interests though I understand that means dad stepping up too.

ivykaty44 Mon 01-Feb-16 18:03:03

If your stbex asks you how's its going to work, you then tell him and he then tells you that you have got it all wrong..
Stop then

Tell him you don't know how it will work
Tell him he needs to let you know his thoughts on access and keep stum

Wait and hear what he says and then wait and see - more importantly - what he does

VoyageOfDad Mon 01-Feb-16 18:19:44

I don't think you can expect him to rent a flat near by you, and keep his flat in his home town unless he's rolling in money. It's a bit unreasonable.

So unlikely he'll move given his job / home.

He'd likely get every other weekend / half the holidays as a starting point if he's committed to his DC.

A child of 2 will be fine staying with their father.

I'm afraid your DC will have to endure years of travelling.

SSargassoSea Tue 02-Feb-16 07:05:24

Could the driving be done at night so DS sleeps.

Isaintheshop Tue 02-Feb-16 09:28:36

Sadly he is very well off indeed, but tight as a duck's arse. Spent hours online looking for the cheapest washing line (Ie <£3)when we moved (which snapped first storm)
He's always been very hands off as a parent. I don't think has ever taken DS out voluntarily on his own at the weekend if I'm at home. Hasn't done pyjamas ever. I do all the bedtimes and night wakings and always have done. Its one of the many reasons I've had enough. Its easy to say - he'll be fine staying with his dad and he probably will be but I think every other weekend is a massive shift from where we are now where dad might do a bit of playing after tea but then disappears off to the garage or sits on his laptop.
Ivy I think that sounds like very good advice, just to let him talk. Even counselling was refused earlier in the end of the relationship as I had to give all the answers as to how it would help, how I would change, what would I do. I think he's going to try and shoot down the separation as I don't have all the answers.

petalsandstars Tue 02-Feb-16 09:36:58

Urgh- I can see why he kept his flat now and not yours. flowers

enderwoman Tue 02-Feb-16 11:03:25

Ideally he'd move midpoint between the flat and your home so it was 1.5 hours commute for your son each way and a longer commute to work for him.

If he's a hands off father he might lose interest quickly. I'd let him suggest how access works and for you to disagree with him if necessary.

RomiiRoo Tue 02-Feb-16 11:45:41

Massive flowers to you.

Your marriage sounds very much like mine; and we separated three years ago when our DC was two. I am not going to go into detail, but I feel your pain.

Here is what happened.

H did not accept that I wanted to separate (it was a cheek on my part, apparently). The difference was that the house I lived in with DC was mine, as he had not ever parted with the money or the time to help sort out a joint family home (and was not happy with what I had); and he was there physically less than your DH is, and minimal 'help' with anything. All complaints on my part were met with, it will be fine when we have a bigger house; but I could not see how this solution was ever going to be met if I was working FT with the DC and no support and he was not doing anything on the house front.

I asked him to stay away, and only come to the house for contact at weekends with DS. I let him use the house initially for this, but after about six weeks, it was clear that the time was also spent harrassing me. So, at that point solicitors got involved and it got messy and expensive; and I think it cost over £1k just to get him to engage a solicitor and accept that the marriage was over. Actually, it was ten months of harrassment hell and trying to arrange contact with DS in a neutral location.

However, at the same time as all this was going on, H did manage to get himself a flat sorted out double quick (despite not being able to shift in five years on a joint matrimonial home with me). He has bought it as a second home and investment, after having taken legal advice that I would not be entitled to any of it as I had started proceedings against him, and we were separated - so it was as much a clever way of hiding assets as anything else - after all, it was a flat where he could see DC, so what could I say??. Nothing, because in the end of the day, it did benefit DC.

I then argued for daytime contact until DC was able to do overnights. he really does now spend time with DC and they have their little routine worked out that H manages to cope with. Their relationship has blossomed, but honestly, there has been a LOT of work on my part to make it manageable as DC has various needs (in the process of seeking a diagnosis), so the transition to overnights was not smooth (and still has not happened).

We are communicating better, which is good for DC, and we have approached reconciling, but the more I have gone down that route, the more I realise why I left the marriage. It makes me very sad, and I am not sure what will happen. i think the best outcome would be that we co-parent amicably, we are still friends, and that he and DC have a good and solid relationship. I am not sure that ressurecting our marriage is possible, although he would like it.

That is a long post, but I hope it helps. It is hard work getting out of a marriage to someone who does not believe that you have the right to end it, because you stop believing your own instincts.

Isaintheshop Tue 02-Feb-16 13:26:20

Thank you Romii its really helpful. He has paid for his half of the family house, but now I;ve found out he could have bought it outright with cash left over the pennypinching how dare you spend joint cash has worn thin.
I really hope our split does mean DS and DH actually develop a working relationship - its sad just now to see DH either sulk or ignore him if the laptop is more exciting. My laptop that is.

RomiiRoo Tue 02-Feb-16 13:36:54

Good luck, anywayflowers. It was helpful for me to set out. It has been difficult, but we are in a better place than we were three years ago.

Twistedheartache Tue 02-Feb-16 13:54:30

Slightly different circumstances because he cheated and left to be with her 120 miles away.
At the moment (no court/lawyers/divorce) he comes to see the children 1 x fortnight for the day on Sundays & my oldest goes to his for the weekend/long weekend/half of half term every couple of months. We also facetime 3 x per week.
Baby (15 mths) doesn't go to his yet. Family lawyer friend suggested court wouldn't enforce til 3 & Internet research suggested the same.
I'm hoping that as they get older they can do 1 weekend per month with him & he does 1 day trip because of the distances involved & the impact on friendships/social lived/extra curricular opportunities etc.
Am yet to suggest this - need to keep him sweetish because I will be screwed financially if he goes after 50% (which he didn't contribute to) when we eventually divorce.
I agree with the advice to let him suggest what he wants but don't be bull-dozed and feel like you have to say yes to his demands. 6hrs travelling per weekend particularly once at school is horrible for anybody let alone little ones.
Good luck!

VoyageOfDad Tue 02-Feb-16 14:07:29

Surely if he owns half the house outright you'll end up selling it once you divorce ?

He could if he wanted then buy another flat near to his son and continue with the same sort of routine he has now.

Isaintheshop Tue 02-Feb-16 14:30:31

So do I though Voyage - as I'd sold my flat and used all my savings to pay my share. I'm hoping to get a mortgage to pay him off/out. I love this house, and would love to minimise DS's disruptions....

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now