Is 50/50 contact feasible?

(29 Posts)
CaptainRodgers Mon 16-May-16 18:50:43

My DS1(3) currently splits his time equally between me and ex. At the moment he is happy with this arrangement, as are me and ex. During a conversation with a friend today, she basically said that this won't work when he is older and at school etc as will become too much hard work and too confusing for him.

What do I do then? What do other people do? I don't really want to cut ex's time (and he would not be happy with this), but I don't want to see DS any less either!

Fourormore Mon 16-May-16 18:52:47

It works fine for us. I have my DC Sun, Mon, Tue and Wed morning. Ex has them Wed afternoon til either Sat morning or Sun afternoon.

Watto1 Mon 16-May-16 18:55:04

It works well for a friend of mine. They do alternate weeks but their DC are 9.

Fourormore Mon 16-May-16 18:57:44

Secondary school required a bit more organisation but only because he had PE on Tuesday (when he's with me) and Friday (when he's with his Dad). That's as bad as it's got...

Unicow Mon 16-May-16 18:59:21

A relative does 50/50 and it works well for them. Much better than past routines.

They have a set routine that they stick to (unless there is an emergency or big event) so their DC knows where they will be and when. The parents live close to each other and DC school.

peppatax Mon 16-May-16 18:59:57

DD is 50:50 and now 5. We plan out a couple of months in advance to make sure she gets the best of both worlds when it comes to spending time with me and EXH and doing her activities too. We changeover at school in the week and try to changeover with a coffee/social activity on the weekend rather than a drop and run. Her stuff flows freely between both homes. Any disagreements over contact or parenting are done away from her. It works well, she's happy, settled and we both now have lives that include her while she's there and make the most of when she's not. It's hard work but it's doable and I see no immediate reason to change that.

Bogburglar99 Mon 16-May-16 19:06:31

Ive seen it work very successfully for a friend of mine whose DC are now approaching adulthood. The key things from observing it were that their parents had a mutual commitment to the kids and to co-parenting, and were well enough disposed to each other to be able to sort out any issues that arose. Being prepared to live geographically close to each other for X years is also important.

caledonianclown Mon 16-May-16 19:22:05

We have 50/50 and my son is now 8. We split when he was 3. It has helped that relations are generally good and we've worked hard at keeping it that way for his sake. We also live within a 10 min walk of each other and the school. I have Sun, Mon and Tues overnight, XH has Weds and Thurs and we do EOW Fri and Sat nights. DS copes really well with it because he is always in the same place on the same day so the things he needs for those days (Beavers uniform etc) are in the right places. He has a full stock of clothes/school uniform in both houses and anything he forgets is easily collected or dropped off because we live near. We scan and email any letters or info from school to each other and are both on the school email and text distribution lists so keep in the loop. You need to be organised but it works well for us, and most importantly works well for DS.

swingofthings Mon 16-May-16 19:41:36

Of course it can work very well and as a matter of fact, when it does work well, it makes for the happiest children of separated parents.

Don't listen to what other tell you, if you, your ex and your DS are happy with the arrangement, then it works for you all.

CaptainRodgers Mon 16-May-16 20:23:46

Phew thanks all! I was getting really worried about it... ex is totally committed, as am I, and I can't see either of us wanting to move away. He lives a 15 minuet walk away from me and while he will move at some point, I can't see it being far as family etc are all here.

I will probably have to work on the organisation side, but we both communicate well and get on with each others partners so it is so nice to hear it can work.

Wdigin2this Mon 16-May-16 21:15:32

DH and I got together when all our DC were grown, we never had the split living arrangements, so obviously Im speaking from a different perspective. But I've wondered at the 50/50 thing, don't the kids get tired of going from one house to the other? I know that they have to do this on weekend visits, but literally living in two homes seems more difficult for the child......I'm quite happy to be corrected on this, as I'm only wondering!

peppatax Mon 16-May-16 21:26:39

From DD's perspective at the tender age of 5, she loves the variety and says so herself. At Daddy's she has him to herself and is closer to school but at Mummy's she gets to play with new DP's daughter and Mummy has a garden and its nearer the park. If she or we forget something important (e.g. Book bag), then we meet halfway at a cafe or one of us drops it around, it's never an issue. She might tire of it one day but for now, she sees the positives and I hope it stays that way. We're open to the idea of letting her have a say when she's older as to what she'd like.

Helmetbymidnight Mon 16-May-16 21:42:29

We did 50-50 for about 8 years- and then went to 80-20 ish at 11yrs (high school) and has been since...
I dunno if it worked, we did our best. Lived close and amicable.
With hindsight Tho, i think it must have been quite tough.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Tue 17-May-16 00:45:17

Personally I'm not a great fan, it always seems more for the parents benefit than the child's, but you are his parents and you will know your child, and your kid is happy. I'd imagine if communication is good and parenting strong and similar, it would be easier than not.

My step children did lose a lot of parenting from this arrangement, there was a subtle but important difference between them and 'main residence' kids. They were teenagers and a lot of school, boyfriends, growing up stuff was not 'managed' if that is the right term, by either parent very well. There tended to be manipulation between households, and also a lot of forgetfulness with clothes etc. Some of the teens found it quite disruptive but felt bad voicing their feelings so they didn't. It was like neither parent felt the responsibility as much as if they were the main one, if that makes sense? For example, one teenager was having huge confidence and homework problems, and my DP and his Ex shared their concerns, but no one person followed it up, was on top of it, a vital book would be 'at her mums' or 'I'll do it at Dad's' and things got left for so long it reached a real crisis.

This may well not happen to you and it shouldn't spoil your enjoyment of what you have now, worrying about the future! All sorts of things could change anyway between now and then.

But if I were you and your Ex, it would be sad to feel that neither could be flexible in the future if you needed it.

VimFuego101 Tue 17-May-16 00:54:53

If you get on with your ex and are willing t put similar rules in place at both houses, and live close by, then I think it will work out. I think it would be really difficult if both parents don't get on though.

The only difficulty I can see is hauling stuff like sports gear/ instruments back and forth when he's older, but I'm sure there are ways around that.

Helmetbymidnight Tue 17-May-16 09:13:03

There are more difficulties than that..
Its very choppy and as bananas suggested it can be hard to deal with serious things properly because then it's move - all change - even fun things that you might be in the middle of - all change.
I think some DC can find it really discombobulating - the whole - not having one base. Some personalities will like it better than others I imagine.

I don't know what the alternative is though.

AltogetherAndrews Tue 17-May-16 09:27:02

I was raised in a 50/50 split.

It was absolutely fine. I moved every Friday, and was perfectly happy as a teenager. If anything, it meant that I didn't fall out with my parents in the same way that friends did, as we all got space from each other as well as time together. It really wasn't confusing, I knew the pattern, and kids tend to accept their own situation as normal. I think some adults find the idea awful because as an adult they would hate it, but honestly, as a kid it is fine, so long as you know where you are going to be and everyone is consistent.

The only thing I would say is in the later years, I found moving a pain as it interfered with my social life, but my parents were great and basically let me reorganise to suit myself once I was 16, I chose fortnight about for a while, and then a month about.

Helmetbymidnight Tue 17-May-16 09:47:24

Yeah, I think 50-50 may work better if it's one week on, one week off.

(Due to work commitments we didn't do it like that: It was more like Mon-tues change weds-Fri, etc, etc. At the time, DC said it was fine, its only now coming to light that DC found it a massive PITA. Oh well.)

swingofthings Tue 17-May-16 15:11:33

Your son will have been used to it since he was 3, it will be normality for him, he won't know any different so if anything, it would be going towards a 80/20 split that will be more likely to be confusing for him. You can't predict the future, who you meet, the jobs you might lose/take, but there is no reason to worry about it being wrong as it stands.

I do agree though that 1 week on/1 week off seems more settling.

crusoe16 Tue 17-May-16 18:43:58

My DSD has been doing 50:50 since she was 5. She's almost 13 now. It definitely worked better when she was younger.

Her parents are not amicable though and recently the routine hasn't been consistent. I think these are two 'musts' for it to work.

Week on week works when you have two parents committed to co-parenting. It didn't for us.

crusoe16 Tue 17-May-16 19:10:06

Sent too soon... I meant to finish with DSD needed to have set days with each parent so she could consistently be involved with after-school activities. So mostly she did 5:2:2:5 or 3:3:4:4

navylily Wed 18-May-16 20:41:28

I think you're fine for a few years yet. But as a parent and step parent to teens I think there are a few issues that become more difficult as they get older. Me and my ex never quite did 50-50 but he used to have them 2 nights a week, whilst DSC have always spent every weekend with us, but now two of them spend half the weeks as well as this. This hasn't been entirely smooth.

Once they start secondary school they have a lot more stuff to carry around and going to and from school from different houses becomes tricky. (This can happen sooner if they play instruments or sports that require equipment carried.)My DD got quite stressed about this and flat out refused to stay at her dad's on a school night a few weeks into Y7. Fortunately my ex was flexible about this and she now comes back around 8pm on a Sunday evening and just goes for tea the alternate Mondays instead of staying overnight as she used to.

They also get more fussy about clothes around that age, so having clothes in each house that just kind of cycle around doesn't work so well and both my DC have started taking clothes with them to their dad's and bringing them home again.

But the biggest issue is I think the least tangible and that is that parenting becomes less "transferable" as they get older. It's more built upon the relationship you have with them and there are more long term things to sort out, rather than day to day needs to meet. There's much less supervising of them they way you do with a 3 year old. But instead, there's chats you need to have about school subjects, things they're worried about, their health, their social lives, revision, applying for college/driving licence/passports/etc. And this sort of parenting is much harder to do if there isn't one parent clearly in charge. With my own DC it has always been me that is clearly in charge of these sorts of things, and this works. But my DSC who have previously spent around 50% of their non-school time with us, and now spend more, I think things are quite often falling between the cracks with neither parent really having an real sense of what's going on in their lives.

But that said, your DS is only 3 so sticking with 50-50 for the next 8 years or so will mean he should have a really strong relationship with both parents, and that won't go away even if you do find you need to flex it some way in the future. A system where one of you always has Monday and Tuesday nights, and the other does Wed-Thu nights, and then alternate the weekends works well to allow each parent some autonomy over clubs etc that the DC does (ie if Monday is your night, you can decide whether to let DC do cubs that night or not, and you'll be the one who gets involved in it, and your ex can do likewise with things on his nights). That system also works well to let you both work some days with no stress about childcare at the end of the day. I've a few friends have done this and it's worked well with primary school aged kids.

loveyoumummy Thu 19-May-16 13:35:32

I have 50/50 with my ex and it works well. We communicate daily and are both flexible. It also benefits our dd as she knows we communicate and know what's going on.

My oh and his ex don't communicate - in fact can't speak - and, as such, his boys don't know whether they are coming or going most of the time

LazySusan11 Mon 23-May-16 16:55:28

Sorry to hijack, dh and I currently live 5 mins away from dsd due to dh work we have her 3-4 nights a week always the same shift pattern for dh but different days of the week if that makes sense.

We are looking to move which will be around 15 mins away as dh has a new job, however it also means he will be able to have dsd on set days of the week rather than between shifts or days off.

How do we sort the 50/50 now? 3 days 1 week 4 the next? Dsd has said she'd rather not do 1 full week with either parent as she would miss the other too much.

crusoe16 Tue 24-May-16 16:06:00

LazySusan11

You could do what we do; Sun, Mon and Tues with Mum, Wed, Thurs, Fri with Dad and alternate Saturdays.

Or Mon and Tues with Mum, Wed and Thurs with Dad and alternate the weekends.

You have a couple of days that remain the same with each parent that way for hobbies etc.

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