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How best to split time between parents for the kids?

(15 Posts)
Ilovecrumpets Sun 03-Dec-17 20:07:38

My husband has recently decided he wants to separate. We will be doing so mid January. I have two children 3 and 5( nearly 6). At first he will be staying with a friend but then would hopefully get somewhere to stay where the children can.

Although it will be very hard for me, I just want to do what is best for my children and allow them to have a good relationship with both of us.

I was wondering if anyone could share the co parenting approach they take - as in how they split the nights between parents? I was thinking roughly 60/40. I just can’t work out what would be easiest on them though. I’d like to let them know when we speak to them when they will see their dad.

I don’t know if it makes any difference but I will be in the family home until we sort things out. Also my husband has spent most of their childhood being away from home very frequently and for long periods and working weekends( he was a sportsman). Even now I do most of the childcare handovers and he travels a lot.

Initially I had thought every other weekend and Wednesday night but then thinking about it when he didn’t have the weekend they wouldn’t see him much. But equally I’d like them to feel they had one base ( or maybe that doesn’t matter?).

Sorry this is long - any help would be appreciated. I suffer from anxiety and trying to think the practical things through is the only way I can cope atm!

Ilovecrumpets Sun 03-Dec-17 20:08:46

Sorry by sort things out I meant finances etc. We will have to sell the family home.

MrsBertBibby Mon 04-Dec-17 07:36:03

The fashion at present (especially on MN) is to obsess over percentages, and demand fifty fifty, as if children are a pie to be portioned out.

Sometimes, a more or less equal division of time works great, but is sounds as if in your case it won't bear any resemblance to what your children have known, nor will it work given the dad's work.

Concentrate on ensuring they get good time with each of you when they are with each of you.

mrssapphirebright Mon 04-Dec-17 09:26:10

My exh and i have a 60/40 split. But it only works if both of your jobs accommodate that. I work full time (9-5) but term time only and exh works part time (semi retired).

We also live round the corner from each other.

A more even split also requires you to work together with your ex more so an amicable split is necessary for it to work imo.

Ilovecrumpets Mon 04-Dec-17 11:05:54

Thanks both.

I will try my best to be amicable because of my children. He has said ( oh the irony) that he is now looking for a job with more family friendly hours. I agree though that my children anew very used to not seeing him but as we don’t have any family support and couldn’t afford babysitting they have rarely been apart from me.

I was thinking maybe if he had them Wednesday night and then every other weekend ( Saturday morning to Sunday night or maybe Monday morning?) and then the week he doesn’t have them at the weekend he has them another night in the week possibly the Friday and brings them to me Saturday morning ( although that eats into my weekend time with them). Is that enough time with him though?

I’m finding this really hard as he has never put them first and having to have them away from me is the piece I find very difficult ( I have sacrificed a lot to always be there for them whilst he followed his dream). But I want to do what is best for them.

heidiwine Mon 04-Dec-17 13:18:38

You sound like you’re trying doing the right for your children. I agree with Mrs BB.
Most important thing for the children is that the routine (once established) is consistent.
My DPs children were similar ages to yours when he got divorced.
His children would stay with him every Thursday (from 6 till Friday when he dropped them at school). Then from 6 on a Saturday till 6 on the Sunday. That has its pros and cons but needs both parents to accept that they don’t get any weekends ‘off’. The big pro was that the children saw their dad often enough for them to build a strong relationship with him.
When they got older they still did Thursday night but also did every other weekend fri night till Sunday night.

To be honest I reckon my DP was a pretty detached Dad until he got divorced and he really stepped up when he had the children with him. Sadly him and his ex never managed to co-parent effectively which has had a negative impact on the children.

I really do wish you luck. The most important thing you and your ex can do is coparent effectively. This isn’t about what proportion of time the children spend with each parent. It’s about how both parents communicate with each other and about each other for the next 15 years or so. This is not solely your responsibility and if there’s anything you can do to make sure your ex is committed to this then do it now.

Good luck.

Karigan1 Mon 04-Dec-17 13:25:33

We have an informal arrangement where we just agree between ourselves. October my son didn’t see his dad much as we were in Greece but then in November i organised several long weekends where I didn’t see him in return. We try to keep it roughly equally but don’t sweat percentages.

It’s best if you can agree and not have orders etc. Maybe independently write down what you both envisage as a starting point for discussion and try not to be rigid.

Also you have my admiration for immediately wanting to put the kids first. It will be hard. Things will be said but if you keep that approach co parenting will be much easier!

Karigan1 Mon 04-Dec-17 13:27:52

I get what people are saying about consistency and schedules. It doesn’t work for us. Getting along and working it out depending on commitments works for us. My son is happy. We both get holidays. You need to work out what will work for you two.

Karigan1 Mon 04-Dec-17 13:31:54

Pps I mean holidays with the kids not from the kids

misscph1973 Mon 04-Dec-17 13:53:22

I think there are many ways to do this, and you have to work out what works best for you, involving some trial and error. You can have routine without very set in stone arrangements. I would see the first few months as a trial to be evaluated.

We have told DC (10 and 12) 4 weeks ago (they took it very well) and in the new year we will be looking for new rentals. I will be resident parent. I am not sure how much STBXH will see the DC as he travels a lot with work, so I am just going to assume that they live with me and visit him. I think that will be best for DC and it works for me.

We have also agreed to do stuff together, like have dinner a couple of times a month, and we are doing Christmas/birthdays together as well. My parents divorced when I was a teen, and let's just say I know all the many ways that DON'T work ...

Ilovecrumpets Mon 04-Dec-17 17:22:29

Thanks you everyone for your replies - they really are helpful.

I think I will try and agree something initially for when he moves out and then see how that works out.

I am so worried about my DCs but I guess I can only do my best to try and make things as best for them as they can be in this horrible situation. I must admit it isn’t easy.

Karigan1 Mon 04-Dec-17 17:39:37

It might seem hard at first but if you both put the kids first and are always respectful and considerate to each other you’ll find your rythmn. 4 years ago when we got divorced we were barely talking. I smiled and remained polite through lies and quite incredible accusations and eventually he started doing a bit of polite back and now we co-parent well.

Just keep being polite and put the kids first.

Make room for you to grieve for your manage too though yeah? Book a spa day or a drinks evening with a friend and give yourself time to cry, rant and feel not around the kids.

Ilovecrumpets Mon 04-Dec-17 18:33:12

Thanks karigan - I am adopting the polite approach. My oh has had an affair and test is still blaming me for separation!

ChangingStates Mon 04-Dec-17 23:06:35

We decided to separate but haven’t actually done it yet, aiming for January. Our 2 are a bit older than yours, 7 & 10, and we have decided on a 50:50- we are putting in set days but as I work term time only and he sometimes travels for work we have agreed to be flexible. Think it’s important to have some kind of structure In place so you & the kids know where you’re at. We are going to try 2 nights each in the week so mon & tues with one and weds & thurs with the other then alternate fri-sun- means we can plan to do things or take kids away for a whole weekend without messing up arrangement. No idea if it will work but it’s a starting point.

Ilovecrumpets Tue 05-Dec-17 07:10:17

Thanks changing I agree we need to have agreed something before we tell them - I think initially as he is staying with a friend I will suggest he comes and does bath and bed Tuesdays and Thursdays and then comes for breakfast Sunday and has them all day plus is here for bedtime.

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