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50/50 not working(14 Posts)
Hi guys, after some advice/opinions. I'll try to be brief.
Myself and DH split up when DS was 2 and have been 50/50 split time parenting. I didn't like it but had no grounds to say no.
DS starts school this year and the 50/50 won't work. I've taken a Monday-Fri day time hrs flexible job to look after DS around school hours. His dad works a random shift pattern of days and nights (I used to too) which means there's no stability. DS is with me for 3 days, him for 2, me for 1, him for 4, not the same days week by week - chaos.
I've sought legal advice who said it would be hard (and £££) to fight at court. I've broached the subject with my ex about wanting DS to have a more stable routine and I'm in a position to offer that, he can still see him as often as he likes in waking hours but DS should have a life where he knows roughly the plan I.e stay at exes one weekday and alternate weekends. I'm not trying to reduce my exes time with DS in fact I've lived my life since the split enabling that 50/50 by changing work hours, 'babysitting' soy ex can still go out the nights ex has DS, it's alway me taking time off to look after DS when poorly (which I don't mind at all), and lately when my ex has DS he books him in for extra nursery, takes him to friends/neighbours so he doesn't have to look after him? My ex has said he won't relinquish anything less than 50/50 and I feel so frustrated as I just want the best for DS and that our current arrangement isn't offering that, in fact the only person this whole situation suits is ex? Anyone else had this? Or solved this?
how much notice do you get about the schedule?
Thank you. It's a 5 week shift schedule so although it's random/all over the place it repeats every 5 weeks.
Ok well if it is a repeating known schedule it isn't "random" is it? You know and have a reliable timetable.
Good luck, sounds rubbish, your son needs more stability that never knowing where he'll be from one night to the next
Sounds confusing for a 4 year old. Do what you think is best.
Have you sat down with the repeating 5 week cycle and worked out how to best manage it together to try to keep 50/50 and at the same time minimise the need for ds to stay elsewhere when you are free? That would be the first step before solicitors etc.
Thanks for the replies. Yes it does repeat every 5 weeks but each one of those weeks is entirely different working days/nights etc, which is what I meant by random. Since we split we've always sat down and worked it out together in order to keep the balance but this means to make it work for us, DS is here there and everywhere with no routine which up until now has not been a problem but with school coming up I personally don't think it's fair and wouldn't want to live that way if it were me.
Kids are pretty flexible. My DD understands rotas better than her dad ever could.
If the rota repeats every 5 weeks propose a schedule that works with that. Let him discuss but only swap not wriggle out. Do a plan that says week 1 Week 2 and so on. Colour it and use it to teach DS about days of the week and counting.
Ex needs to see that what you say he is doing isn't really 50/50. No doubt he feels it is a good way of avoiding maintenance and may be less concerned past that..
Do you never wish you still did shifts? Did you ever think that by changing your hours you would automatically get better access to ds? Maybe some of that may be affecting your judgement. 50/50 is hard for a mum. Everyone assumes mum should have got main custody cos it used to be that way 20 years ago. I get it all the time. My daughter 14 is 50/50. Son 18 chose to stay with dad.
They are older I know but facilitating knowing and loving all the extended family is your responsibility. Fighting to have sole custody may restrict those choices later...
Get tough though. If you are always willing to cover, it is making it far harder for him to really see that he isn't really doing 50/50. Until he does you are fighting a losing battle. He needs to see it is hard.
When he wants to go out on his days say actually yes I want to go out with Sue or whoever on (day that is yours ). Can you swap? Don't just cover.
DS is sick when he has him? Hey, he has to ring work and say he can't come today or find cover because you have to work. He will no doubt argue. He isn't used to it. But he needs to get used to it or accept that he isn't doing 50/50 as it stands. If needs be set the scene that your job are upset about the amount of carers leave you are using and questioning whether you are really only 50/50. Say that now... I know you are OK doing it but you are shooting yourself in the foot
What does DS think to going to friends and relations when with dad? We all have to use babysitters sometimes when kids are small. It maintains your sanity. If DS is a friendly chap it is socialising him and getting him ready for school. Only an issue if he hates it...
If your dh can pick up from school, keep overnight and drop at school next morning then it should be workable. Agree rules that are best for your ds - e.g. Whoever is dropping at school that day takes the hit if he is unwell and can't go to school. If your dh can't pickup from school then ds does dinner, homework, bath, bed at yours, agree a handover on a school night isn't the best thing for ds. If that impacts the 50/50 balance that week he can stay with dad that weekend.
Your dc can be shown in advance where he is staying for the next two weeks. Until your dc actually voices problems with the set up it makes sense to continue.
Thanks for your replies, I'm really keen to know what other people think on the subject as I don't know any other mums in this situation.
I took the job to allow me to be there if DS needs someone, not expecting to automatically have him more. I'm all for dads having 50/50 contact when it suits, like if my ex had a more routine rota and as I've said I've previously made it work because I support that, even though of course I'd love to have DS all the time I know that's not fair. There's other factors like DS has special needs I'm taking into account when considering the future child care arrangements. I just want him to have as stable a life as possible.
The 5 week rota isn’t something I’d consider cutting down contact for. I’d write the rota down and pin it up so your dc can see when and where they’ll be staying. They shouldn’t find it a problem. I would however get annoyed at your ex constantly dumping the child on relatives or booking extra childcare when the child could be with you. I know it’s mainly down to the parent at the time to decide who the child gets left with, but if it’s happening regularly on their contact days then I’d definitely make a diary of every time the child gets offloaded to prove to the courts that they’re trying to avoid spending time with the child that they’ve nagged to have. From the sounds of things your ex is trying to have the child more to upset you rather than actually wanting to spend time with the child
Surely you can request that you are first choice for childcare on dad’s time though - if you are off and have changed your work routine to ensure your son has stability, why is dad booking extra childcare?
I think if you think about the best interests of the child angle, it should be possible to suggest to your son’s dad that it is better for his son to be with you when dad has other plans, rather than childcare.
Don’t make it a discussion about percentages, just that you should be first choice if he needs additional childcare when DS is with him.
Not sure I have understood correctly, but I am sure I have heard of parenting arrangements where the other parent has to be the first choice if childcare is needed.