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To wonder what a normal custody/access arrangement is?

(24 Posts)
ditziness Fri 29-Jul-11 12:40:26

What kind of access is normal for a father in a divorce when there has been no infidelity and the father is a good father who has always loved and supported his three children ( aged between 2 and 10). Father left the mother, has new residence.

CombYourHair Fri 29-Jul-11 12:48:12

I dont know what is normal access but my DP has his son (6) to stay with us Thursday to Saturday every week,and some times extra if ExW needs cover .
I dont think the circumstances around the separation should affect affect access, what matters is that the father is capable of looking after his kids, if you have been a good father and there is no history of violence or whatever you should be granted reasonable access

GypsyMoth Fri 29-Jul-11 12:48:50

50/50 shared residence?

DharmaBumpkin Fri 29-Jul-11 13:08:59

My stepdaughter's Mum has her every second weekend and we try and split holidays equally if she wants. The small amount of contact is mostly because she moved away tho... I'm sure if she was closer she'd hv another day during the week as a minimum

SiamoFottuti Fri 29-Jul-11 13:10:30

Why should a parents infidelity have anything at all to do with how often they see their children? hmm

ditziness Fri 29-Jul-11 13:27:03

I'm not wanting to say too much about circumstances as I don't want to be indentified. But just to say that one party is expecting full access( ie being able to come and go as normal despite divorce) and the order expecting very little if anything ( ie he left he so he's losthis rights to see them)

neither are normal yes?

fuzzywuzzy Fri 29-Jul-11 13:34:00

Infidelity has nothing to do with contact arrangements, the only thing that will affect contact is if there was abuse during the marriage.

What do you mean by coming & going and normal?

Contact can be a fifty fifty arrangement if possible. But children get contact at each parents residence, it's not an invitation to enter eachothers houses and treat the place as if they still live there.

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 29-Jul-11 13:36:47

"( ie he left he so he's lost his rights to see them)"

That's not how it works. He left his marriage, not his children. I presume the wife is feeling very hurt and doesn't want to see him, so doesn't want him around the children and therefore around herself and her home. It is natural that she would want to 'pull up the drawbridge' when she is hurting, but it is not fair on the children. They must not be left feeling that their father left THEM.

As for the father's attitude of "being able to come and go as normal despite divorce" - well, that's unrealistic and downright cruel too. The children (and the mother) should have some order in this new (to then) chaos, and be able to expect him at certain times and not at others. If he 'comes and goes' as he pleases, the children could well end up sitting looking out the window/listening for the door - doesn't sound healthy, does it? There should be an AGREED pattern that the children can depend upon.

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 29-Jul-11 13:37:56

spelling making a nonsense - (to them)

Spero Fri 29-Jul-11 13:40:49

There shouldn't really be a 'normal' arrangement because it should depend on what is in the best interests of the particular child,but the 'norm' is usually every other weekend, possibly time in week, half school Hols and alternate birthdays/Christmas.

A 50/50 split I imagine would rarely work in practice unless parents could live very close to each other and schools etc. Not sure how fair that would be on the child either. Don't think many adults would be happy to have to keep shifting between two homes. Basically a child needs a base where he keeps the majority of his clothes and toys etc but is able to spend good periods of time with e other parent.

pootlebug Fri 29-Jul-11 13:41:45

Neither of the things you suggest is normal.

Access arrangements are normally pretty fixed to allow all parties to know what is going on and when, so 'come and go as he pleases' isn't usually the way it works. That said, it is not uncommon for the father to still get a fair degree of access....it might be 50:50, it might be less. It will also depend on practicalities (how far away from each other both parents live, distance to school, working patterns of each etc)

But unless there has been abuse there is no link between 'blame' and access. It doesn't matter who left who, or why.

hannahZ Fri 29-Jul-11 13:42:35

From what I understand, 'normal' would either be 50-50 shared care IF both parents working and living arrangements facilitated this (ie close to each other and to schools etc) or otherwise (and probably more commonly) alternate weekends, half of school holidays and, if living close enough, some midweek contact as well eg Weds overnight.

Key is, as said above, that there is a pattern that the children can depend on and, therefore, it has to be workable in practical terms and an arrangement that both parents are happy with, to stop the children getting pissed about with gameplaying.

CustardCake Fri 29-Jul-11 13:44:12

Agree with everyone else. Infidelity has nothing to do with it at all. If he is a good Dad then he should be seeing the children regularly for good amounts of time but also he can't expect to waltz in and out when he has half an hour to kill. It has to be proper agreed times and when he has them, he must take them to his house or somewhere else. He retains the right to always see his children but he has no right at all to butt into his ex wife's life and home whenever the mood takes him.

niceguy2 Fri 29-Jul-11 13:55:10

There's no real right or wrong as others have said. Providing both parents agree then it's no business of anyone else's.

Alternate weekends is commonplace because it gives each parent a weekend to spend quality time together. Otherwise what sometimes happens is one parent gets the drudgery of the daytime/school routine and the other gets the weekend fun times.

50-50 is great if parents live close except it does make certain logistics like school harder (eg. ensuring homework is continued over, school clothes etc). Communication is key and it's even more important to ensure both parents support each other's role. eg. discipline.

What I usually advise people to do though is initially make sure any routine is set in stone. Often couples naively try a flexible arrangement. Such flexibility usually favours one parent only. The other feels powerless and dictated to which causes resentment. It causes arguments when one parent has plans and the other won't agree to have the kids.

It also confuses the hell out of the kids who don't have a clue where they should be and when.

Snorbs Fri 29-Jul-11 14:02:59

I'm another fan of a more-or-less fixed schedule if at all possible, certainly for children younger than secondary school age. Sure, sometimes that schedule will need to be adjusted to fit in around events and a bit of give and take will go a long way in aiding this, but I do think it's important that children know when they will next be seeing either parent.

For what it's worth my DCs are currently seeing their mum every other weekend plus two afternoons a week during term time. The summer holidays have been negotiated based on work commitments etc. It's taken a very long time to reach this level of co-operation as my ex has been spectacularly unreliable at times. But, for now, it's working.

ditziness Fri 29-Jul-11 14:05:11

thank you, this is all very useful.

in terms of telling children why a divorce has happened should they know which parent "left" and who's "fault" it is?

niceguy2 Fri 29-Jul-11 14:22:31

Good god no! Not unless they are teenagers and old enough to cope with the truth.

Give them an explanation appropriate to their age and close enough to the truth you don't have to lie.

Snorbs Fri 29-Jul-11 14:26:33

The "why" should be limited to something non-specific such as mum and dad have been arguing too much, or aren't happy together or something similar. What is important is that the children are repeatedly reminded that it's nothing to do with them, it's not their fault and it's not something that they can fix. This isn't something to tell them once and hope they remember - they need to hear it often.

Who's fault it is the relationship broke down is no business of the children, not least because both parents will have their own view on that.

wordfactory Fri 29-Jul-11 14:42:52

When there are no issues regarding safety etc and the absent parent has played a full part in a child's life to date, the bare minimum a court would give is every other weekend plus half holidays and alternate bdays and xmases.

However, wherever possible more contact should be agreed.

However, in my experience it is better to have some sort of routine. As and when arrangements siut almost no-one. Better to have an agreement that you can add to and renegotiate when necessary.

Spero Fri 29-Jul-11 14:44:47

Agree with snorbs and nice guy. Utterly wrong and unhelpful to try to identify 'fault' . It will just upset and confuse and anyway how on earth do you identify who is to blame and in what proportion? Can't imagine many relationships end due to 100% fault of one or other party. It ended,it isn't their fault, they are love. That's it. If they want to know the gory ins and outs they can ask when they are a lot older.

ditziness Fri 29-Jul-11 18:55:20

what if the person being left feels that the children will blame them if they aren't told that it wasn't them that wanted the marriage to end?

bubblesincoffee Fri 29-Jul-11 19:03:35

The person left will probably be blamed anyway, because they are there and it's easier for an upset child to lash out at the parent they depend on rather than the one they are scared won't come back.

But that's children, they get upset, confused and hurt and they can't verbalise it, they are not capable of of explaining their adult emotions. When they're older, they will understand.

jester68 Fri 29-Jul-11 20:29:52

My brother has his 2 children every weekend apart from the last weekend in the month. He also has them for tea once a week, and usually has them for an extra couple of days in holidays etc.

This has been an ongoing arrangement since his children were aged 2 and 3 years old

whackamole Fri 29-Jul-11 20:59:28

ditziness when my parents split (I was 18 so not a child) they told us it was a mutual thing. My dad then let slip that my mum asked for the split. I was devastated. When my mum found out, she then had to tell me the reason she asked for the split was because my dad had told her he didn't love her anymore!

I would advocate honesty, but I think the age the children are it is more than enough to say that mummy and daddy were making each other unhappy together, but apart they can be so much better. Bubbles is right though, they will grow to understand as they get older.

Our situation WAS we had DSS every weekend, then every other weekend - today have been told she is moving over 200 miles away in less than a month so I expect it will be as and when she needs us to have him sad

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