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Exh wants to change our contact agreement...(8 Posts)
DD's 13 and 11.
We have an arrangement in place that sees him have them 3 nights a week. It's unusual in that we spilt weekends, so they get a weekend day with each of us every weekend. This was put in place for them really as they didn't want to go too long without spending more quality weekend time with either of us and at the time that was also important to both of us-still is for me. It has worked well for two years and with no issues. When one of us (more usually exh but sometimes me) has wanted to swap a day at a weekend so they can go away or take the girls away this has always been accommodated.I frequently cover his nights when he is away for work or wants to go out or away and I'm happy to do so as it just means I get the girls more.
Exh now wants to change our agreement to us each having full alternative weekends.
His reasons are that it will make it easier for him to go away/take them away. (it's never been an issue). After some pressing he Also admitted that he would like his time with them to overlap less with the time he gets to spend with his girlfriend. There are complications on both sides that mean neither her children or ours spend time with them as a couple-her custody is week on week off, so his custody sometimes overlaps with the time they would otherwise be able to see each other.
He has been badgering me since Christmas to alter the agreement. We have discussed it with the girls separately, presenting it as a potential new agreement neutrally (rather than 'this is what dad wants to do' so They didn't feel put in the middle) and both said they would rather keep the agreement as is, (though dd1 said to her Dad and to me later that she would possibly be willing to try an new agreement but just for one full weekend with each of us over the four week period, the other one spilt as was).
He has continued to message frequently about this, so last night I agreed that we would speak to them together and said I would be amenable to Dd1's compromise agreement of one full weekend a month but only if that's what they wanted.
They gave the same answers as above, dd2 very vehemently against changing at all, dd1 staring she would sooner not change but might consider it, but only after a long diatribe from exh. He talked at them for about 20 minutes about what the new agreement would look like and when they asked why we needed it, gave the reason around weekends away (didn't mention his social commitments). Dd2 pointed out that this had never been an issue. He was quite intense and got very red in the face to the point where the girls began to find it a bit much.
I then reassured them that we could all continue to think about it and we didn't have to decide then and there-to diffuse the situation more than anything.Exh was clearly not happy but left it.
I am happy with our agreement as is-it works really well for me for various reasons. The DD's also seem to be of that opinion. We don't have a custody agreement legally in force and I've been advised not to do this, as in future it ties the girls to going to their Dads when they may not want to, (and vice versa I suppose) and legal agreements are not very flexible-if you are amicable as we have been around this for the most part it seems best to continue to work it out between you if you can).
I don't feel exh will let this go. But I also don't want the DD's put through anymore conversations like last nights. I'm quite concerned that that's the pressure he brings to bear on them when I am not there, which is sad.
Anyone any advice on how to handle this going forwards? Thanks
Tbh I don’t think your exh request is that unreasonable really and I say that as the resident parent. While I get you are trying to Lee the status quo for your dd’s whatbhe is asking doesn’t mean he will have them any less he will have them the same amount of time. He is also entitled to have a life of his own and Perdue his own relationships. In my situation I never have a weekend child free to do anything and it can be frustrating. It is a pain in the arse trying to change days to be able to plan weekends away and stuff however amicable things are. With firm weekends in place it is easier to do that. I get you want to give your dd’s a day in this but ultimately it is the adults around them that have the final say. You and your ex need to make the final decision between you even if you agree a trial period for x number of months and then review but like I said I don’t see his request as entirely unreasonable.
I can see from his point of view that it's not unreasonable, absolutely.
However what we have in place now works better for me both for social life and work/study purposes.
And the girls don't seem to want to go to him for whole weekends for whatever reason.
I think there will always be requests to change from him as well tbh-he goes away a lot and to gigs and festivals-things he can't dictate the dates of in advance and will still want to attend-so I'm not sure how much of that would be eliminated really.
It it works for your social life he’s telling you it doesn’t work for his there needs to be a compromise and I’m afraid I would be presenting that compromise to the children as fact once you have agreed it between him and you. There is no concerns regarding the fir safety or anything so no real reason for them not to spend the weekend there apart from they don’t want to which for me personally wouldn’t be reason enough. Trust me I’m coming at this as someone that has a useless ex who would not be open to compromise at all and does the bare minimum he has to, to keep everyone onside. I think if he would even agree to one full weekend a month each for the time being might be reasonable. The fact is if he says fuck it and tries to get a legal agreement put in place if you can’t agree it’s likely he will get the every second weekend he is looking for anyway so it would be better all round if you can sort this out together.
One whole weekend a month is hardly unreasonable. Try it as a trial period?
Alternating weekends is very common and works well for children, especially as they become teenagers. Its unfair for you to demand to have contact work the way you want it all the time and seems naive to think it should stay the same for decades, life changes. Its also unreasonable for him to have to ask you for permission every time he wants to do something at a weekend. Seeing as your still amicable I would give it a go for a few months or he will end up getting it via court. It makes planning so much easier to have a whole weekend contact regularly.
I dont know why you are discussing it so much with the children, the adults have to agree on what to do. I can see the children being against it because they can feel your against it and dont want to take sides. They will be fine and more than able to cope with a whole weekend.
I think what he is saying makes more sense.
He is still seeing them for the same amount of time.
Whilst alternating weekends is pretty much universal, (and what I see in every case I deal with) my own son has had part of the weekend every week since we split when he was 1 1/2. He's 14 now and he doesn't stay over because of his dad's drinking, but even if he was staying over he wouldn't want to switch to every other weekend. He wants to spend time with us both every weekend. It is doable for us as we're only 5 minutes drive apart. I would hate an eow arrangement.
The decider for me, OP, would be your kids' wishes. Your own and your ex's preferences are opposed, and therefore balanced out, but they seem pretty clear. And since you're not silly about accommodating weekends away, it seems silly to change for that reason. He's silly to risk changing against the girl's wishes, or badgering them, they are reaching that age when they can vote with their feet, and girls can be so bloody black and white about these things. But of course, you can't tell him that.
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