Contact arrangements

(21 Posts)
Fourormore Mon 04-Jan-16 23:06:41

What are the arrangements you have with your DSC?
DH is currently having family therapy ordered by the courts and she's said there needs to be a radical change as the EOW dynamic isn't working. Several reports have confirmed mother is emotionally harming the children. Therapist says the children need to spend more time with DH to counteract the damage mother is doing.

Therapist suggests 50:50, but we live an hour away so I can't see how this is practical. I have two children of my own and my ex wouldn't agree to me uprooting them to live closed to DH's ex to accommodate a 50:50 for them (understandably!).

I'm interested to hear what arrangements others have as I'm thinking we need to "think outside the box" somehow. Change of residence has been mentioned in court but if we can somehow avoid this trauma, we would prefer to.

Bluelilies Tue 05-Jan-16 13:36:29

We have every weekend. I'm not sure it's ideal, but might be an option for you if you're wanting to keep the DSC at the same school, etc, but do more of the parenting.

Is the mother in agreement about the need for a change?

Fourormore Tue 05-Jan-16 14:04:22

Yes but she would prefer to significantly reduce DH's involvement (I think she'd rather he had no involvement at all if I'm honest) but the counsellor, CAFCASS and judge will not go for that.

lunar1 Tue 05-Jan-16 14:30:38

Could you live half way between you ex's? You'd be more likely to get 50/50 then as you could still get them to school.

Fourormore Tue 05-Jan-16 14:48:48

That would mean uprooting my two children and moving away from our family and social support networks, which I'm not particularly keen to do. It is a possibility though, yes.

lunar1 Tue 05-Jan-16 15:02:54

If their mum is so bad that intervention is required your dh may need to uproot even if you can't, how far is it between your ex and his?

Petal02 Tue 05-Jan-16 15:44:25

I have two children of my own, and my ex (understandably) wouldn't agree to me uprooting them to live closer to DH's ex

I see your point here, OP. How does it work with the family therapists/courts, when you have 'extra' children to consider? Do they look at the bigger picture? I could see it causing real problems (for lots of families) if not.

Fourormore Tue 05-Jan-16 15:51:47

They have no obligation to. As I understand it, consideration is only given to the children the case is about. The judge does have discretion and I think our judge is sensible enough to not order something that would compromise our marriage and he knows our marriage has been a source of support to the DSC but you never know really. 50/50 would solve some problems but uprooting my children or DH living away from me and the children we have together would be awful. I have a feeling we're in a bit of a no win situation as his children simply cannot be left with the current dynamic.

Fourormore Tue 05-Jan-16 15:53:37

The family therapist has said it wouldn't be appropriate for us to move but I don't know what other options that leaves other than change of residence or school runs of 1hr plus and I don't know how we'd manage that with DH's job which isn't flexible. I would be willing to do the school runs but that would defeat the point of the extra contact to a significant degree IMO.

VimFuego101 Tue 05-Jan-16 16:06:54

What a tough decision. What do the children actually want? How old are they, what impact would a school move have on them?

As a first step, could you extend the weekend so that you drop the children off to school on a Monday morning? Are there any other small changes you could make to extend the time they have with you? (come straight from school on a Friday, for eg).

Fourormore Tue 05-Jan-16 16:13:17

They're too young to have an informed opinion really. If asked I imagine they'd say they wanted to stay with mother, partly because it's all they've ever known and partly because she's made it their role to make her happy.

Yes there are small changes. The Monday morning would be manageable. The Friday is already in place. I think the therapists concern is that wouldn't be sufficient. The therapists words were that there needs to be "a drastic change".

Petal02 Tue 05-Jan-16 16:20:30

I think the therapist needs to be clear that a 'drastic change' is also a 'workable change.' There's no point in her writing cheques that you can't cash, so to speak.

lunar1 Tue 05-Jan-16 16:51:43

I agree with petal. The therapist needs to be much clearer. Because your dh needs to know if it's a case of 'things could be better' or 'I'm going to call SS and start proceedings to remove children from mum.'

Your dp needs to get her to say exactly what she means so that he can figure out his priorities.

Fourormore Tue 05-Jan-16 17:39:57

That's what I thought. The therapist seems to want to get mother to consider the principle of 50/50 even though it won't work practically, which seems like a waste of time but there must be some method behind it.

VimFuego101 Tue 05-Jan-16 17:55:55

I think there needs to be a genuinely good relationship between parents to do 50/50. They need to be in regular communication to manage the practicalities of it all - school uniforms, equipment, homework being at the right houses, appointments.

lunar1 Tue 05-Jan-16 17:59:39

She needs to be honest about reasons. She may end up causing you to uproot only for you to later find out that she's thinking of it in terms of you dp becoming the rp, in which case a temporary move closer wouldn't be so unthinkable.

Has she said what her reasons and evidence are?

lunar1 Tue 05-Jan-16 18:00:47

I meant temp move closer just for your dp, rather that all of you!

Fourormore Tue 05-Jan-16 18:06:13

I imagine the therapist will go into it in more detail next time DH sees her. At the moment I'm interested to hear whether others might have a contact pattern that we might not have considered.

Fourormore Tue 05-Jan-16 18:09:11

The therapists's reasons are that the children are being emotionally harmed by mother's inability to support the DSC's relationship with DH and that mother is extremely unlikely to be capable of making the necessary changes.

Bluelilies Tue 05-Jan-16 18:09:27

Would every weekend, or 3 weekends in 4 be practical? Or long chunks of the holidays, possibly with some local to you holiday playscheme?

Fourormore Tue 05-Jan-16 18:25:55

Ah yes, actually, 3 out of 4 weekends Fri-Mon and a greater share of the school holidays would be almost 50/50. Thank you, that's another suggestion we can put forwards.

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