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Ex making unilateral holiday arrangements - what are my rights?

(8 Posts)
Pangurdubh Sat 18-Jun-11 17:04:02

Hi, just joined so apologies if this has already been discussed. Have been separated from ex-partner 7 years, access arrangements have always been difficult to negotiate. I am PWC, son is 14yo bright boy who won a scholarship to boarding school, comes home every three weeks or so for leave weekends and has very long holidays. Verbal agreements do not work as ex does not honour them and makes unilateral arrangements around holidays, telling me after they have been booked. It drives me insane. I have twice emailed him to say that as there have been so many 'misunderstandings' all negotiations around holidays should be put in writing and agreed in advance before any bookings are made. I always do this before I book my holidays. He has just informed me, over the phone, that he has booked a holiday this summer which involves him having our son for 3 1/2 weeks effectively. I have not agreed to this, he has not discussed it and I would not have agreed to that length of holiday - it's hard enough not seeing my boy for three weeks at a time throughout the school year. I'm so angry, both with him and myself for losing it on the phone with him (which is why I always communicate by email), especially as I think this is exactly what he's hoping for. Can anyone offer advice on how to deal with this? What are my rights exactly? It's hard to think/see clearly when I'm so upset. Thanks in advance

Nuttychic Sat 18-Jun-11 17:06:20

Im sorry Pangu but at 14 years old, your DS has more of a say than you do as to how he spends his holidays. Perhaps you should ask him.

mamas12 Sat 18-Jun-11 17:10:24

Bloody annoying but I don't think you can do anything about that one now.
But in the future you should discuss holidays with ds and book something then inform ex afterwards and then let him deal with it.
Get in first so to speak.

onadifferentplanettoday Sat 18-Jun-11 17:16:23

I think you need to ask your Ds what he wants to do

Bearinthebigwoohouse Sat 18-Jun-11 17:32:15

How long are the school holidays? And how often does he see his Dad?

It is really annoying that he is doing this without discussing it with you first - I agree with you on that, but I'm not sure that having him for over 3 weeks is that unreasonable given that he has really long holidays. I'm pleading with dd's dad to share the school holidays with me!

Ragwort Sat 18-Jun-11 17:35:18

Agree with the others - what does your DS want to do? Sounds perfectly reasonable to be having a 3 1/2 week holiday with his father. Many mothers complain because the fathers do not show any interest in their own children

gillybean2 Sat 18-Jun-11 18:48:17

I know you say that going three weeks without seeing him is hard while he's at school, but how often does his dad see him in term time? It must be hard on your all... Presumably you believe that it is in the best interests of your ds to go to this bording school and to only see you every three weeks as a result? Therefore you have to accept the every third weekend and that time out of school will be shared with his dad.

Yes it is annoying when either parent makes unilateral plans without consulting the other parent first. WIll you get to see your ds before his dad takes him away on holiday? How much time will you get to spend with him other than while he is with his dad? How does your ds feel about it?

Perhaps it's time to state up front which half of the holidays you each have and be firm about arrangements. So this year if he has the first 3.5 weeks with his dad and you have the second then next year make it clear that you have the first half and he has the second. Put it in writing ask him to respond within three weeks if he disagrees or would like to discuss further and send it recirded delivery. If you hear nothing write again saying that as you've not heard back you've assumed he is happy with teh arrangement you've put forward and that is what the arrangement will be next summer.
Then if he ignored it and you have made other arrangements then he won't have a leg to stand on.
Of course you may want to consider some flexibility, especially if your ds wants to go away with his dad and you have no specific plans or holiday booked...

Pangurdubh Sat 18-Jun-11 21:06:26

Aaah, the joys and limitations of board postings, especially as a first-timer! So difficult to give context without rambling on. Thanks for all your comments.

I do always discuss holidays with DS before booking, father never does. DS knew nothing about this holiday until phone call today. I have always shared school holidays; every leave weekend and half term is split equally, an arrangement my son chose so that there wouldn't be long gaps between seeing either parent. Most of the longer holidays are shared that way too, particularly since his dad retired and is more available (and also therefore has more flexibility about when he books holidays away, whereas I have to negotiate with colleagues for time off). I have never limited his access. Yes, I would cope with the longer gap if son wanted it; I have asked him in this instance and he says he feels it is too long, but he's such an easy going guy and I think he takes the line of least resistance.

Still think it is reasonable to discuss and agree arrangements in advance, and yes of course involving DS as I always do. The context to all this is a very long history of similar incidents: DS's dad making plans without any consultation, failing to honour agreements made (and denying there were any such agreements), changing plans at the last minute, fabricating conversations in which I have agreed to his plans (which is why I asked for everything to be in writing in the first place - less room for those kind of misunderstandings) to the point where I think I could be in the remake of 'Gaslight'!

BTW, it was DS's choice absolutely to go to boarding school - our local schools are uniformly awful. He has never regretted his choice and is really happy there. He knows beyond any doubt that if he ever became unhappy, he could return in an instant. Believe me, as the mother of an only child, it is sometimes unbearable spending so little time together and I miss him so much, but seeing him thrive and grow there is worth it.

So much more to all this but I have rambled enough. I suspect there is no answer to this other than me finding a way to manage my frustration at having to deal with someone who just doesn't do co-operation and delights in pushing my buttons - my punishment for leaving in the first place I suspect. Hey ho.

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