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Custody of 3 year old son at Xmas?

(330 Posts)
Smeags84 Thu 21-Dec-17 11:45:30

Hi. I'm a dad to a 3 year old son. I split up with his mum in February this year so this will be our first Xmas separated.

Since we split, we arranged joint custody of our son by ourselves. Its worked out fine. After the initial couple of months which were tough, we're now friends with each other too.

Sorting out Christmasses took longer. We talked about it in October/November, and finally came to an agreement in mid-November. It hasn't been spoken about since we agreed.

My family live in the Wirral, and hers in Manchester. Before we split, we alternated Christmasses. (one year with my family, one year with her family, etc.). Last year was with her family.

Heres where we disagree: Back when we spoke about it, I wanted to alternate Xmas's with our son. And whoever doesnt have him Xmas day gets to spend boxing day and Christmas eve morning with him. And he effectively gets two Christmasses (xmas day and boxing day).
She wants him to spend half the day with each of us. The problem I saw with her way was the distance between us. Its a 60-90min drive. I think thats disruptive to him... I dont think he'd want to spend that time on Xmas day in a car. I also think it would be too busy for him. Last year, he was knackered, with having so many people there, and it being a really busy day. Her way, we'd be doubling the number of people, with him seeing two families, all fussing over him.

We eventually agreed to do my idea, in part because we were able to split his birthday which is only a month before Xmas. It was also agreed I could have him this year because of the fact that last year, we spent it with her family. This was all sorted out mid-November.

Last night, December 20th, she called me, upset, that she wont see him at all on Xmas day and brought up the arguments again.... and we just repeated the stuff we said over and over again, months ago, with her saying she wants to split the day. I'll be speaking to her again tonight.
I'm frustrated because I thought we had agreed, and we've made arrangements now too. Plus, I think this is best for DS. I think her way is just more messing about for him, on an already busy day.

AIBU to just say to her "Look, we've already agreed whats happening on Xmas, and its too late to be trying to change plans" (worded in a nicer way of course).

Appreciate your advice as I'm wondering if I'm being a d**k? I appreciate that its not nice, not seeing your child on Xmas day, but its going to be the same for me next year.

(We did consider other options, such as spending the day together, but this wouldn't work, as we both want to see our families. For me, its pretty much the only time of year I get to see my entire family all together).

Thanks for reading.

Zampa Thu 21-Dec-17 11:57:49

Whilst in court agreeing contact arrangements, CAFCASS suggested alternate Christmases for my 2 DSC (7 and 10 at the time) but DP's ex was insistent on having them every Christmas Day morning. She offered to do half days but we felt that shipping them over to a different house at 2pm would disrupt their day too much.

We therefore see the DSC from 4pm on Christmas Day and have them until NYD. DP and I have a Christmas Day with our 2 girls on the 25th and a second on the 26th, with presents and lunch on both days. It's ace. We can fit family in over the following week.

I think courts are more likely to agree contact over Christmas as per your suggestion. However, I can sympathise with your ex whilst knowing you'll suffer the same in 2018. However as your DS gets older he'll be able to tolerate the journey and family visitors better. Can a short-term compromise be reached?

Keep talking and hopefully you'll find some common ground.

RyanStartedTheFire Thu 21-Dec-17 12:04:18

We therefore see the DSC from 4pm on Christmas Day and have them until NYD
I have a similar arrangement with my ex. This year he has actually offered to change it to bedtime on Christmas and him having Boxing Day as his day. I do pretty much all of the work, I wouldn't be happy to not see my child at all on Christmas Day. Can you not stay local and have your family come to you?

CaptainCorellisBigToe Thu 21-Dec-17 12:12:09

I’ll be lynched but i think it’s cruel to allow a mother wake up without her child on Christmas morning. Believe me I’m usually Mrs equal rights etc and a couple of years ago I’d have been outraged by my own post but I’ve seen in 99.9% of cases the mother usually puts in more work throughout the year.

araiwa Thu 21-Dec-17 12:13:09

Stick to your agreement

Wallywobbles Thu 21-Dec-17 12:19:46

I hate splitting Xmas day. It makes for a shit day for all. Especially the kids

Wide0penSpace Thu 21-Dec-17 12:20:09

I agree with the above posters. I have my son for the majority of the time, (except every other weekend) I do all the school runs and ferrying about to after school clubs, parties, mates houses etc. I want him on Christmas Day too!

He goes to his Dad on Boxing Day morning and stays there until the 27th. They have another Christmas Day effectively on Boxing Day, with presents, meal and grandparents over. It suits us all this way.

WishingOnABar Thu 21-Dec-17 12:20:33

Your way he gets two Christmases so I think from his pov would be better, a long car journey on Christmas day is never enjoyable. Assuming your op means that whoever gets him on his birthday doesn’t get him on Christmas is a fair compromise.

As an aside my parents separated when I was 12 and detested each other, but we continued to have Christmas day together at mums house because of this exact scenario. Is it an option to put differences aside for one day a year or is this just not possible?

jaimelannistersgoldenhand Thu 21-Dec-17 12:20:39

My kids are older and I live about 50 mins from ex. Splitting the day works well for us as the children see both parents. We alternate 23rd/24th and 26th/27th.

However I think your arguments are valid. It's very last minute and your child won't be as excited at 2pm Xmas Day as he was at 9am.
But then again that's an adult concern- there is lots that he will enjoy during the second half of Xmas Day smile

It is unfair that she wants all Xmas mornings but at the end of the day it all depends on whether or not you're willing to risk ruining your good co-parenting relationship with your ex. (You know her best )

mummmy2017 Thu 21-Dec-17 12:21:29

Your the dad, but think of it like this,
She can't cope without seeing her son on Christmas morning...
It won't always be like this, but for now it hurts her.
In helping her this year next year, say when you want to take him away for a week, your more lightly to get her to be willing to agree.
Also 60 mins in a car after the child being up early in the morning will mean he naps, and arrives fresh to enjoy it all again.
Don't be too ridged in it all.
We do have friends who just booked into somewhere and had rooms nearby every xmas, so the child can swap at will and no one misses out....

JacquesHammer Thu 21-Dec-17 12:23:06

I think your arrangement is perfectly fair OP and you're putting thought into what would be best for your son.

As hard as it is, she will have to manage this year and next year she will have all the joy of Christmas with your son. She just needs to recalibrate her thinking into having a different sort of Christmas

AngelsSins Thu 21-Dec-17 12:28:11

I think your suggestion does sound best. Growing up my parents had split so I got 2 christmasses too and loved it. BUT, I think you need to keep in mind how extremely hard this is going to be for her not having him there on Christmas Day. If you get on well enough, could you invite her to join you for some of the day? Or maybe pick him up early Christmas morning? As time goes on I'm sure it will get easier, but this is the first year and it's going to be painful.

DianaPrincessOfThemyscira Thu 21-Dec-17 12:28:42

I think your way makes more sense, but her way is better. A 90 minute journey is long for sure, but loads of people do it on Christmas Day and not just for their kids. We did it every year to see grandparents.

I’d be so upset to not see my kids on Christmas Day regardless of any other arrangements either side. And I absolutely disagree about kids getting less excited - arriving at granny’s for more presents?! Come on now!

JenniferL90 Thu 21-Dec-17 12:29:09

Could you not cope with it together for his sake?

I couldn't bear the thought of Christmas morning without my DC.

I'd put up with anyone as long a she was there....

SeaToSki Thu 21-Dec-17 12:36:06

I think its a bit unfair to try and renegotiate so last minute, but I can also understand agreeing to something because you thought it would be OK and then realising that it wasnt. Its a tough spot.
The only helpful nugget I could throw out would be that actually, a 90 min car nap in the middle of Xmas day might be very helpful for an over excited 3 yr old. Could DS start the day with her, she then drives him to your house (she gets the drive as the penalty for the last minute change of plans) while he naps and then you have a lovely afternoon and evening?

CaptainCorellisBigToe Thu 21-Dec-17 12:38:51

I think seatoskis way sounds best.
You know she’s upset, she’s the mother of your very young child and this isn’t the first Christmas not as a family so give her a break.

ilovekitkats Thu 21-Dec-17 12:38:57

I think you need to start afresh from this year? Ignore what happened last year, doesn't matter where you where then, the situation has changed since then.

This is the first Christmas that your child has separated parents. Maybe let your XW have your DS this year, but on the firm understanding that you have him from teatime so he can wake up with you on Boxing Day, and then next year reverse it?

I think that every other Christmas is a fair arrangement in a situation where the NRP has the child EOW. In a situation where the RP has the child 95% of the time, it would be very unfair to not have the child at Christmas.

ilovekitkats Thu 21-Dec-17 12:39:41

*teatime should say near bedtime

GreenTulips Thu 21-Dec-17 12:41:00

3 year plus 90 car journey = nap time

Sounds a good option to me

WishingOnABar Thu 21-Dec-17 12:41:38

Out of curiosity who has majority of custody and responsibility ordinarily? As other posters have said this may influence what the best process is.

feetlikeahobbit Thu 21-Dec-17 12:41:44

DD is with me Christmas eve till 3pm Christmas day and then with her DF till Boxing Day 7pm it works for us because the one time he had her Christmas eve he couldn't cope with her over excitement.

She's 15 now so no over excitement now but it stuck and seems to suit everyone.

Christmas morning was strange without her (she was only 6) but at the end of the day he is her DF and we gave it a go in the name of fairness.

Paleninteresting Thu 21-Dec-17 12:43:28

This is so hard for everyone involved. There is no easy answer. I cannot fathom how she must be feeling when realising she won't see her boy on Christmas Day. In the cold light of day when you made the arrangements it probably felt OK but now I can understand why she is upset.

Try a resolution as opposed to sticking to what you have agreed, it will benefit you next year.

Jaxhog Thu 21-Dec-17 12:46:22

It seems to me that you're thinking of your son, while she's thinking of herself. It also seems unfair of her to want to keep trying to change the agreement to suit herself.

Having got that out of the way, I wonder if you could alternate with christmas eve/christmas morning and christmas afternoon/boxing day? With the afternoon parent doing the collecting (less chance of morning parent hanging onto son). Not ideal, but would give your son a chance to nap between you.

mummmy2017 Thu 21-Dec-17 12:46:59

Another Plus, YOU get the same next year and get to see your son at Christmas, and he will wake at your house next year and 4 year olds are much much more excited by it all the night before than they are on as 3 year olds...
You drive him home next year and then you can be back in time for late lunch...
Personally this would be my preferred thing, and who ever has him for xmas morning gets to have Xmas dinner the next year.

CaptainCorellisBigToe Thu 21-Dec-17 12:47:45

Out of curiosity who has majority of custody and responsibility ordinarily? As other posters have said this may influence what the best process is

I find that parents who have a smidgen over EOWeekend call it “shared” or 50/50 but the other parent would usually disagree! Generally.

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