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managing kids after divorce - advice needed for a dad(6 Posts)
First off, hello! I don't know if any or many guys use this site but I've registered as I wanted to ask for some advice from a female perspective, so go easy!
I've been divorced now for around 5-6 years, having originally been married (living together) for a short period of 3-4 years, with a. period of separation thereafter and have 2 kids, no aged 12 and 9 (soon to be 10), one of each.
At the time of the divorce, which was down to me due to falling out of love and neither of us finding a way to fix that, we agreed on all the usual financials, assets and most importantly kids and access of the kids.
I'm since re-married almost 3 years now.
Since the beginning, even while married, my kids were my priority and I've always made sure they have remained so throughout, having always attended all their plays, nativities etc., and have never once missed or cancelled our time together unless I was ill, which is very rare.
At the time of the divorce my living situation wasn't great for kids as I was in a 1 bed flat and I wanted to ensure that they had the stability they needed such that it wouldn't affect them more than it should. At separation my kids were 2 and the other not even 1 so it was vital to me that they had that routine and home always for them.
The arrangement initially was that I would see my kids twice per week mid week and every other weekend they would stay with my overnight Fri until early evening Sat (dinner time). In the beginning they didn't stay over on the Fri but that changed when I got back into a house a year or so later.
I've found it hard over the years, and yes I know it was my fault, but its hard to not see your kids every day, even if only for a few minutes. As the years have passed and you have more involved chats my kids have started asking to see me more or at the very least the nights they see me midweek they'd like to stay over and also have full weekends when they come round. Essentially they just want a 50/50 and I would love that.
The problem I have is that my ex won't allow it. She insists on sticking 100% to the original divorce agreement and also won't allow me to see the kids on a Sunday as she's a born again Christian and insists the kids are at church with her once or twice a day. That's not my thing but each to their own.
I don't claim to be faultless and have been wrong on many occasions when I've lost my cool on a text when she ignores me or worse lies to the kids about the situation but I'm just seeking a little more ( an equal-ish) share of time. We both live in the same small town and at weekends I allow my kids to pop in and see their mum if that's what they want as why not? but she refuses to reciprocate and insists that's "her time". She also won't speak to me about the kids face to face, on the phone or by text anymore and thankfully my daughter has an iPhone now so I can at least call them some of the time I'm not with them.
So that's the lay of the land.
My question I have is...am I unreasonable to want to change the arrangement now, after several years. Is it selfish of me to want to do so? How would you view it as a mum, particularly if your kids were also asking for it?
Lost at the moment for how to proceed with this. I don't want to go to court and make things a hassle as I want my kids lives to be as easy as possible and if that means I lose out then fair enough.
Just would love to hear some thoughts on it.
It's not at all unreasonable or selfish for you to want to spend more time with your children, especially if that's what they want too. If anything, you should be commended for wanting to be a more active part of your children's lives. I wish there were more fathers like you out there.
If you want my .02 your ex-wife is being vindictive and controlling. If the kids want to spend more time with you and you want more time with them there is no reason you shouldn't be allowed that time UNLESS there was some reason they weren't safe in your care (which it doesn't sound like) unfortunately, unless she's willing to come to an agreement with you, legal action is your only option at this point.
Personally, I think you should do it. You and your kids will never get this time back if you don't fight for it now. It isn't just you who misses out, it's them missing out on more time with you too.
For what it's worth I agree completely with Mivery.
I agree. Would you be able to go to mediation and see if you can make a new agreement as I would imagine that would be cheaper than going to court. I get that she might be bitter (I think I might be if I had two tiny children and my husband said he didn't love me any more) but its important that you do the best by your kids and if they want to see you more then you should try and make that happen.
I agree. Your ex is being unreasonable and very selfish tbh. Things change, and although they are still young, IMO they are old enough to decide that they want to see more of you themselves. I understand the old arrangement because they were little and routine at that age is important and it makes sense for them to have structure, however that’s much less of an issue now they are older. Obviously we all want to spend as much time with our children as possible but when couples split there has to be compromise. You are both their parents equally. As parents our job is to put our children’s needs and happiness above ours and do what’s right for them, and it doesn’t sound as though she is doing that at all.
If she won’t engage with you reasonably then legal action is your only route, so I’d consider that and (without being negative about mum) what’s happened and why. Good luck, you sound like an absolutely loving dad.
if your kids are asking to see you more go back to court
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