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To switch contact to weekdays in school holidays?

(31 Posts)
Miniminimus Sat 08-Apr-17 09:09:10

AIBU to expect ex to move his contact to weekdays in the school holidays and take annual leave from work to cover this?

A lot of history, but here is some background if anyone has time to read? Ex has two DC just one Sat afternoon/early evening a fortnight. This has evolved over a number of years. Originally had a full weekend a fortnight but has since moved in with someone without children and DC do not like staying in (what has been made very clear to them is) her house. This house is 50 miles away. He now just collects them the one Saturday afternoon a fortnight, has them locally and drops back. Refuses to do the same on the Sunday. No overnights (DC's choice). DC fully resident with me. No court arrangements for custody or contact.

Ex has always refused to do any afterschool pickups or tea in the week as says he has to work. He has a company car, often travels through our area for work, but refuses to arrange his appointments or take the odd afternoon annual leave to see them after school in the week. I also work full time but do all the school drop off, pickups (some with after school club), scool assemblies and dentist and doctor appointments and so on. I pay for all the after school activities and transport to and from. Also the actual after school childcare club and holiday club. I buy back extra annual leave from work which reduces my income. I earn just over half of what he does as without child care commitments, he has been able to have several job changes and promotions since he left the family. He pays maintenance at the minimum level he can through CSA, no extras.

For a couple of years, I arranged that the weekend contact (just during school holidays), would move to weekdays instead . One day a week approximately. This seemed fairer. Since moving in with the new woman (no children), he has refused to do this and says he can do no weekday holiday cover whatsoever. He blames this on his job. He did no cover at October Half-Term Christmas, Feb Half-Term and now Easter. I suspect new woman wants him to save all leave for holidays with her. They have a very child-free lifestyle together.

We have the situation today where I offered him the choice of one day from three possible last week and three possible next week and has refused. He says he is attending for contact today as usual....with sub-text that he calls the shots over contact time.

He has texted DC (teen and tween) to be ready at certain time and they are now refusing to go on the day out we had planned and want to sit in and for him instead. Youngest is crying.

So two AIBU's really. Am IBU for switching days in holidays, and if not, is there anything I can do about it in the future? And AIBU to continue with day out given distress of youngest (11), or should I cancel so she can see him. If I do that, I do really feel at his beck and call and as if I am employed by him almost; to bring up his children with aa little cost and effort to himself as possible and have them ready for his convenience. But have a distressed DD.

Sorry if this is not a real AIBU, I wanted a range of views if poss. Thanks.

neonrainbow Sat 08-Apr-17 09:13:08

How are you going to enforce that? Do the kids want to see him? If so, and the only time he will accomodate them is the weekend i think you'll struggle to change it to midweek. Its shit but you can't force him to want to spend time with his children. If they don't want to see him then don't make them. Its not like he's making any real effort here.

GotToGetMyFingerOut Sat 08-Apr-17 09:17:14

What is the actual reason for changing the contact day?

I think yabu sorry. You have now upset your youngest who obviously wants to see her dad. It's not his fault they don't want to stay because he is in a new relationship. Which was bound to happen. You sound like you really don't like his new partner. Has this been obvious to the kids and rubbed off on them?

GotToGetMyFingerOut Sat 08-Apr-17 09:19:52

neon that's a bit unfair, he does want to see them as he's coming today for his normal contact.. It's the kids that wanted to stop staying the weekend with him. But the youngest is crying at possibly not seeing him as op is going to take them out instead of allowing contact so obviously she wants to see him too.

kittybiscuits Sat 08-Apr-17 09:20:41

Your ex is a complete dick. I hope he pays his way. You are being unreasonable on this issue though. You cannot force him and it's unfair to upset your children and put them in the middle like this.

pleasecomesoonspring Sat 08-Apr-17 09:22:12

You must have known he wouldn't do a weekday from your op so why did you try and organise a day out?
He is a pillock but if the kids wanna see him then I'd let them?

Dds other parent normal has her Sunday's but dropped her off a few weeks ago and said couldn't do that day anymore, not heard from them since.
At least he sticks to his day

RandomMess Sat 08-Apr-17 09:24:16

Your ex isn't interested and has told you he won't do weekday contact so why bother asking him to swap?

He's a shit father. In a year or so holiday cover won't be an issue and I suspect the DC will bother with him less.

Utterly unfair situation.

As for today I'd carry on with your day out, then start afresh and accept he won't do weekday.

limon Sat 08-Apr-17 09:25:18

He is a dick, but yabu. You can't call the shots unilaterally (neither should he, but he is a dick). Given he's a.dick I'd facilitate what contact you can for your children's sakes.

itsmine Sat 08-Apr-17 09:28:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

toomuchtvandsocialmedia Sat 08-Apr-17 09:32:12

My ex was like this - it really used to piss me off. Unfortunately, you are in a no win situation and I think you have to go with what your children want. FWIW my dc (19 & 20) recognise that their DF had very little input into their upbringing and don't like him that much (but still love him sad).

Carolinesbeanies Sat 08-Apr-17 09:32:52

So just to be clear, ignoring the desire to shuffle everything round, todays his normal contact day, and youve arranged something else?
No wonder DD is in tears.

DoNotBlameMeIVotedRemain Sat 08-Apr-17 09:35:06

YANBU to suggest it but you'd be unreasonable to put any pressure on your ex.

llangennith Sat 08-Apr-17 09:35:09

As others say, he's being a dick but YABU. Accept the way it is and work on your relationship with your DC.
I had a very similar situation years ago when my DC were younger. Ex-h never had them overnight, ever, and I had to sort out all childcare arrangements and life generally. It infuriated me when DS wanted to stay in and wait for his dad rather than come out to the beach with DDs but we'd wait and wait and eventually he'd turn up several hours late having ruined everybody's day but his.
Years later they see him for the selfish man he is and have no contact with him at all. But my relationship with all my DC is great as they realise how I put their needs above my own.

OldandJaded Sat 08-Apr-17 10:25:33

Yanbu to be pissed off at his inflexible attitude towards his contact, but yabu to have planned something on a contact day knowing he will refuse to change.
I say that with 20/20 hindsight vision having been in a similar situation with my ex when dd was young. He behaved more like an uncle rather than a dad, telling me he would 'take dd off my hands on x day for x amount of hours' and refusing to take some of the childcare responsibility - I hated that he'd say he 'couldn't have dd' - he is the other half of the parental unit and I didn't have the option to say 'I couldn't have dd' I'm her mother and it's my responsibility to ensure she was well cared for at all times, if that meant missing work, social time or anything then that's what was going to happen because that's what a parent does. I would never have said it anyway because she was and still is my top priority but this notion escaped the ex.
You can't force him to change days, and I realised that I had to put my feelings aside and let my daughter have whatever contact he offered because she has a right to have a relationship with her dad. The only thing I was unbending on was that if I had asked someone else to look after dd for any reason and at the last minute he wanted contact I would refuse him because others had put themselves out to care for our child (he was always given first refusal so to speak and I'd say I'd need to know on x day to make other arrangements) if he didn't respond, or responded at the last minute I politely explained why I was saying no.
It was really hard, and I understand where you are coming from but I do think that your best course of action regarding your dc's is to keep the days he commits to free to ensure they can have a relationship with him and try and resign yourself to the fact this is the way it is. My dd is older now and can see things clearly and I'm glad I came to the conclusion I was just going to accept it and work around it, my relationship with my dd is good IMO and I'm not sure it would have been if I had taken a different path.
I sympathise with you - but hopefully you'll find a way to make it work. flowerscake

allowlsthinkalot Sat 08-Apr-17 10:34:22

He is a pillock and it's unfair but there's nothing you can do about it. You're going to have to be the one who puts the children first yet again.

You could go to court over contact if you want an arrangement that isn't all on his terms?

Miniminimus Sat 08-Apr-17 10:38:52

Thanks so much for all views so far. The changing of contact days from weekend to weekdays during school hols has been there for about 3 to four years. The reasoning was that as he didn't normally see them in the week and I had all childcare responsibilty, this was his chance to do some cover.

He got together with new woman about 2 years ago and moved in about a year ago. I have never met her but relatives who have say she is not child-orientated. For example when my DD had normal grumpy 5 min tween type argument with Ex in the car, she told DD she was lucky that her father came all this way to see her and that he didn't have to visit her. This makes my DD feel thst her relationship with her father is conditional on never grumbling and so on. So I don't take to the new girlfriend from what I hear, but the children have formed their own opinions when they have met her. Since he moved in, ex has also stopped any discussion of children by email, any working together on Christmas and birthday presents for DC etc. I am expected to parent with a total void on one side. If he cannot make a particular Saturday I am just told he is 'not available' with no alternatives offered or replied to.

I have been wondering about a court order to try to get ex to do weekday tea and after school activities once a week and one holiday weekday per week as well as the fortnightly Sat pm . It is not all about holiday cover but about more regular and normal contact for the children. It is after school for example that all the interesting conversations happen. They get none of this input
and support from ex. But I suspect it would be expensive and stressful for DC to go to court.

I am sure DC will realise the situation when grown up. But right now I feel he is manipulating all of us and it is very hard to live with.

DoNotBlame. .just wondering why would it be unreasonable to put any pressure on ex to share parenting more equally? Guessing due to stress on DC but would genuinely be interested to know.

theduchessstill Sat 08-Apr-17 10:44:19

I echo what most others have said. I don't know how men like this live with themselves and call themselves fathers, but the dc have to come first and have a right to a relationship with him for as long as they want it.

I hope you can do something nice for you today when they are with him. I know that sort of thing can sound trite, but I think it's important that you are kind to yourself and have the best day you can when they are with him.

lazyarse123 Sat 08-Apr-17 10:45:56

I don't think yabu but saying that i would go with what your children want. He is a twat and eventually they will realise how selfish he is and how much you have done for them. (I know that's not what parenting is about) but you get my meaning. Well done on being a constant in you kids lives.

kittybiscuits Sat 08-Apr-17 10:47:36

A court order cannot force him to have contact he doesn't want. It's for parents who are seeking different or more contact.

Your ex and his partner sound charming.

If you apply pressure, do you think it will bring about change? It doesn't sound like it to me. I wouldn't want my children to spend more time with someone who didn't want to or was unkind. Of course it is pressure on your children. It is bad enough to know how little they are wanted, without them being in the middle of a situation where dad doesn't want them and mum is trying to force them to go more. I have every sympathy with you. But I think you are onto a loser with your ex and will upset your children. Does he pay his way?

Willyoujustbequiet Sat 08-Apr-17 10:51:12

What a complete twat. He is no father.

Go to court. Get CAFCASS involved. Get a fairer arrangement in place. Do not let the arsehole off lightly.

DoNotBlameMeIVotedRemain Sat 08-Apr-17 11:22:52

I said not to put pressure on him because you can't force him to comply so no point wasting much time and energy on him. I would avoid going to court to force as that too is wasted energy (unless he owes you money). Also, as you say to avoid upsetting kids). He's not a great parent and you can't force him to be. How much effort you put into worrying about it is the only thing in your control.

MatildaTheCat Sat 08-Apr-17 11:42:30

Do the dc want more contact? If so would he respond to a letter from them? Using work as a permanent excuse is so shit given that you also work full time.

He should be paying half of childcare costs. Sadly he sounds a total twat and I doubt you will get anywhere but good luck. I don't think it's worth the expense of courts, he's simply not worth it.

lalalalyra Sat 08-Apr-17 12:14:15

There's absolutely no point in you going to court to insist on a Saturday and (for example) Tuesday tea because no court can make him turn up on a Tuesday.

I totally understand why you are doing it, and your ex is a twat, but you are being unreasonable in upsetting your DD over this. Your ex has a Saturday contact and (despite him ring a dick) you can't just change that when he's said no to the change. By trying to insist on a day out today when he's planning/insisting on his normal contact then you are, no doubt accidentally, putting your DC right in the middle and left with the choice of choosing between the two of you and that's not fair.

Your DD can probably see their relationship with their dad crumbling because of his new life already, until they are ready to accept how much of a dick he is they'll want to cling to that.

Don't put yourself in a position that risks you getting the blame for the final breakdown of the relationship!

RandomMess Sat 08-Apr-17 12:33:32

I would put in writing to him how much the DC miss him due to such little contact, has he any ideas to spend more time with them?

He's such an arse!!!!!

KindleBueno Sat 08-Apr-17 12:52:07

I seem to be reading a different post. I think you're being utterly unreasonable! You wanted him to swap days and he wouldn't so you have put your children purposefully into a guilt trip where they cannot win. Any wonder the youngster was crying! Awful behaviour.

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