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AIBU regarding Ex and contact

(56 Posts)

OK..... was going to put this in lone parents but there is not much traffic and I really need some honest opinion about whether I am BU or not.

Ex and I splt nearly 3 months ago. Since then I have been trying to talk to him about setting up a proper and regular access pattern for DS, who is only 10 months old. He has literally ignored all my requests. I even resorted to writing to him to try and make my point.

The reason he is so reluctant is he works shifts. These can change around a lot, and he works every other weekend. However, he does work for a public sector organisation that does family friendly shifts, and previously he has worked set shifts where he was in the same every week. However, he doesn't seem to want to ask this time round.

So far I have been trying to juggle everything so that he can see DS when he has time off work, but he won't commit to anything - not even having DS for some time every other weekend. The days of the week change every week, so do the times. Sometimes he doesn't confirm anything till just a few hours in advance.

I am back at work now and finding this totally unworkable. Between my work arrangements and childcare for DS I can't seem to juggle it all for changing contact patterns every week.

So I asked Ex to speak about it again and he refused. So I spoke to the Childrens Legal Centre, and they said that I would be within my rights to set out a pattern of when Ex can see DS, and its up to him whether to make arrangements so he can do this. Again he refused to talk to me.

So I have set out 2 afternoons in the week and every other weekend (sat morning till Sunday afternoon) where Ex can have DS. And told him it is up to him if he wants to take DS then. WIth my work these really are the only times I can be flexible on.

He says I am stopping him from seeing DS. So am I? AM i really being unreasonable? Or should I be juggling things every week so that it fits in with Ex's plans?

CheeseandGherkins Sat 22-Oct-11 18:12:42

I don't think you're being unreasonable at all.

BeaHededd Sat 22-Oct-11 18:17:25

I don't think you are being unreasonable. You have tried to set an arrangement which is mutually agreeable to no avail.
If your ex is unwilling to let you know when he wants to see DS then your proposal sounds reasonable to me.
If he is working shifts though would it not be possible for him to have DS all day on his days off rather than rely on childcare?

Tyr Sat 22-Oct-11 18:18:14

I don't think you are being unreasonable, based on what you have posted. You do need some degree of flexibility but part of that has to come from him negotiating with his employers as well as you.

BeaHededd - yes that would be ideal. But at the moment his days off change every week, and my childcare arrangements aren't as flexible as that. ALso - there are some days off that he does not want to see DS. This weekend for example. He told me he wouldn't be seeing DS as (and I quote) 'I've got to have a life too'. Am having difficulty dealing with this sort of attitude to be honest.

Are there any fathers out there? What do they think?

tallwivghoulies Sat 22-Oct-11 18:48:45

I knew it. I knew at the end of your post you'd say he's saying you're stopping him from seeing DS.

He's enjoying pissing you around (and probably doesn't want to see DS that much anyway) while keeping the moral high ground. I suggest you get a family member or mutual friend onside and if that fails, mediation.

Keep records.

GypsyMoth Sat 22-Oct-11 18:51:26

So when is he actually seeing him ATM? How is it arranged?

He's not just turning up is he?

MJlovesscareypants Sat 22-Oct-11 18:59:44

Message withdrawn

BeaHededd Sat 22-Oct-11 19:15:57

I understand and should have read your first post more carefully with regard to childcare sorry.
I had very similar issues with DD1's father who in the end only managed to see her three times a year due to living 50 miles away and shift work when I asked why when he had six weeks holidays to take and four day weekends every month he was only willing to have her for three weeks in total I was told it was my fault and he had to have holidays with his new partner for the other weeks.
Nothing I tried altered this, even offering to travel by train to meet up despite him paying nothing towards DD1.
Final upshot is that DD now chooses to have nothing to do with him and him not putting up any sort of fight sad she is now12 and has just become a big sister which she found out about on facebook.
Some fathers are just not willing to disrupt their lives many many are but not all.

At the moment it is all over the place.

When I push him hard I can get a couple/ three weeks in advance with some idea of the days he would like to see DS. But he never confirms times until very close to the day.

Often when we have mad arrangements he calls the night before wanting to amend the times.

Sometimes he textx me at 6am on the day wanting to see DS that afternoon/ evening.

As well as giving him two afternoons a week and any time every other weekend, I have also said he is welcome to come to my house after work at the end of the day to help with tea and bedtime etc. So far he has refused.

I don't want to stop him seeing DS... but when I'm at work myself I need to put DS in with a childminder. She can only have DS certain days as she has another child on the two days DS isn't with her. I can't change my work days to suit, and Ex won't be reliable or pick DS up and drop him off at times when I can then work around.

Of course whenever he requests I try to meet it. But any suggestion that there are arrangements in place so DS can't or the timings need ot be dofferent to what he has suggested is met with me being told I am making it difficult for him to see DS.

hairylights Sat 22-Oct-11 19:21:44

Sorry but I think you are being a bit unreasonable. You have no right to tell him when he can see his own child. Of course he should do his best to have regular time but heat well genuinely have difficulty because of his shifts and it is also up to you to be flexible if that's the case.

hairylights Sat 22-Oct-11 19:23:38

Ps you aren't giving him time with his child. His child has a right to time with his father.

SkinnyGirlBethany Sat 22-Oct-11 19:27:59

I just asked Dp who would be in the same position if we split. He says you sound reasonable especially offering the after work bedtime thing

Tyr Sat 22-Oct-11 19:28:53

I'm a father and my "right to have a life too" went out the window when my daughter was born. Not that it was any competition.
If I was him, I'd be grabbing every moment with glee. Sure, there may be times when it is just not possible for him to get time off and if that's the genuine reason, try and accomodate it but when I hear that line, I switch off.
It sounds like you're doing your bit. If he won't make the effort, it's his loss.

JosephineB Sat 22-Oct-11 19:32:02

@hairylegs: yes she is 'giving' the father time with his child, As you yourself point out - this is about the child's rights - NOT those of the father. A bit more responsibility on his part in meeting the needs of his child wouldn't go amiss.

BrEEEKOutTheKaraoke Sat 22-Oct-11 19:32:14

I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. Why are his shifts at work more important than yours? You have to work too, and you have been reasonable. Set up the days that are most convenient, and get it in writing from a solicitor that that is when contact is being offered.

I've got a feeling that if/when you do do that, he'll try not turning up or cancelling last minute. If that happens, don't let him change plans to suit him, let him wait til the next time. You might need to keep some childcare on standby for the first few times, while he knows you mean business. Do NOT let him know that you are relying on him- in my experience they try and bend you to their will by trying to hit you where it hurts.

One good thing for you is that DS is so young while you're trying to get sorted with this, so won't be so upset that Dad has let him down (if he does- I could be completely wrong about all this of course).

BrEEEKOutTheKaraoke Sat 22-Oct-11 19:33:59

Oh, and if I was you I would have a serious think if you actually want him in your home during the week. It's a hard habit to break, and a bit further down the line it may cause you some issues.

Takeresponsibility Sat 22-Oct-11 19:38:00

I agree with MJ - the public sector used to be very family friendly, in my dept the part timers were allowed to pick all of their own shifts and everyone else had about 50% choice, and you could swap if you got something you didn't like. Now the shifts are built around "business need" and you can be instructed to change your shifts at 24 hours notice.

However most public sector employees know their shifts at least three weeks in advance and he should be able to let you know when he is not at work so you can both agree a timetable for the week.

You both need non work/non child time for the sake of your sanity.

fuzzynavel Sat 22-Oct-11 19:44:46

Its a tough one. My DP works in the public sector. He get's issued with a shift rota and hands it to his ex. They work it out from there.

Mixed opinion. I can see why Ex and I are of different minds.

Hairylegs - I realise I'm not 'giving' hime time. I have wanted him to see DS regularly since this happened. But he won't agree anything with me, and expects me to make DS available whenever it is convenient. Something I am having trouble doing. He won't talk to me to agree anything so I am left trying to do it myself. I don't know if he has asked for family friendly hours and been refused because he just won't talk to me about it.

Takeresponsibility - I know what you mean. It would be nice to get some non work/child time for my sanity too! What I cannpt understand though is having a whole weekend off - Friday, Sat and Sunday, and not wanting to see DS even for a couplpe of hours as he has something else to do.

hairylights Sat 22-Oct-11 20:31:24

Josephine no. She doesn't own the child so he is not hers to "give"

Argh! I'm not trying to disagree with those who don't agree with me! Sorry blush

I'm just not sure where to go from here.

I can be a bit flexible. But literally can't continue with completely different days and times every week and be able to make DS available for Ex. He won't meet me halfway or talk about it.

What do I do? I've given him the option of two different days in the week and the two days at the weekend for him to choose from, along with coming to the house in the evening where it is possible.

Am I really being that unreasonable to think he should be able to work hiws shifts to be able to see DS under these circumstances?

hairylights Sat 22-Oct-11 20:36:32

I do appreciate the difficulty here. Of course he should be being more reasonable. But he isn't. When people have children, and one of them turns out to be a knob, the other does have to go the extra mile (which is hard to swallow, I know) because the child's interests in a relationship with both parents are paramount.

Op this is the trouble - you don't know that he hasnt asked for flexible working and been denied it. And unfortunately that info isn't in your gift to know. Laying down when you decide he can see his son could meanhis son doesn't get to have a relationship with his dad.

hairylights Sat 22-Oct-11 20:40:14

You do sound like youre doing your best to be flexible.

"Am I really being that unreasonable to think he should be able to work hiws shifts to be able to see DS under these circumstances?"

But this part may or may not be reasonable depending on his employer. We don't know if his employer is being rigid or not. That's why it's difficult to answer.

ChocHobNob Sat 22-Oct-11 20:43:39

I think you are being unreasonable and reasonable at the same time.

It not unreasonable to expect dates to be set in advance. He should be informing you of his shifts in advance as possible. When he gets his shifts, that should be his priority, sorting out his time with his child.

But I think you are being unreasonable giving him set days whether he can do them or not. If it went to court (and they could see your ex was being reasonable, if he was doing the above) then they may very well expect you to work around his shifts, with days changing weekly, as long as he is being as helpful as possible to you ... ie. giving you LOTS of notice. I've seen courts order this, so The Children's Legal Centre were not entirely correct in what they told you.

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