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how much contact with father over summer?

(29 Posts)
oystermum Sun 24-Jul-11 20:29:32

I know there is no correct amount of time that a child should spend with their father over the summer, but my daughter's father is banging on about his 'entitlement' to exactly half her summer holiday, plus his usual weekends, which he has calculated at an exact number of days which I have to facilitate, and is determined to mess up any plans I had with her. She's only 6 and I don't think she should be away for all that time. I feel like she and I are not going to get any time together. He is being so difficult in a typical passive aggressive way, objecting to any suggestions I make. Apart from that, I get so cross because I provide everything and he contributes nothing to her upbringing. I work so hard and feel like my own holiday time with my daughter is being taken away from me. It is so stressful I'm almost wishing the summer was over.

GypsyMoth Mon 25-Jul-11 00:15:01

son you have 6 weeks off?

GypsyMoth Mon 25-Jul-11 00:15:13


Riakin Mon 25-Jul-11 08:43:53

Hi Oystermum,

Is half of holidays what was granted in an order? As it seems that you are talking as though he does have an order?

Does he pay maintenance?

If you have plans, why not insist on block bookings i.e. 1 full week for him, 1 for you, that way it shouldn't get in the way too much

gillybean2 Mon 25-Jul-11 09:22:27

His holiday time with his dd is also being taken away from him by you...
And he's thinking, I only get every other weekend, holidays are my chance to really spend some quality time with dd doing all the things we don't usually get to do... In much the same way you are thinking you have lots you want to do with her and you won't get to spend any time together...

Neither of you is automatically entitled to half (or more) of the holidays. Your dd is the one with the rights here, not you and not your ex. She has a right to a relationship with both her parents.

Reasonable people would look at each other's point of view and work out what is best for their dd, not what they want! If you can't agree then a court may order half the holidays, and trust me you want to avoid court if at all possible!

So yes half the holidays seems like a good starting point, especially as she only sees her dad every other weekend in term time. So ask yourself if you're be happy to settle for half the holidays (you already said you're not). And then ask yourself that again thinking about if you only saw her every other weekend, like her dad does... You'd be wanting for as much holiday as you could too and getting angry at your obstructive and non-understanding ex and demanding your "rights" too no doubt!

If you can then show that you have valid welfare reasons why she shouldn't spend half the holidays with him then lets hear them. Because otherwise the reasons are because it's what you want. Well sorry bbut what you want and what your ex want are secondary to what is right for your dd. And spending time with both her parents is right for her. So be fair and split that time fairly and equally.

So your question should then be how do I split the time fairly...

What specific things are you planning on doing with your dd? Have you booked to go away somewhere? Has your ex? If so then you should factor those into how you split the holidays.
How much time can you both get off work? Does he or you have extended family who are hoping to see dd over the holidays. If they are limited as to when they can visit factor that in to the split.

Some people do half and half exactly (ie first 3 weeks with one parent, 2nd 3 weeks with the other).
Some people do 4 lots of 10 days and have two of those each. So you get 2 long chunks of time each.
Some people alternate a week at a time.
And some people do various combinations.

You have to factor is how far apart you live, so how much travelling your dd will need to do between homes.

Try and come to an agreement. Because you will find yourself with a court order otherwise and then there won't be any flexibility.

It is hard I know, but you have to share your dd. I'm sure you would want the same if she was living with her dad rather than with you...

ladydeedy Mon 25-Jul-11 10:18:32

well said gillybean. the majority of posts on here are about non resident parents not wanting to spend any time with their children and the resident parent getting cross about having to provide/arrange child care during the holidays so OP you are really in a very enviable position in having an ex who genuinely wants to spend time with his daughter.

cestlavielife Mon 25-Jul-11 10:29:55

also if he has her for long chunks of time he will HAVE to provide for her then food outings etc. so it's win win

SirGin Mon 25-Jul-11 10:51:22

I had a similar disagreement with my XP over holidays. She felt it wholly unfair that the holidays be split 50:50. It's one issue I would have without doubt gone to court over had she not backed down.

It's bad enough having to accept contact with your child every other w/e ( heartbreaking ) without then having someone tell you 50:50 holiday split is unfair as the RP does the majority of care.

Your daughter is 6 OP, there are people posting here about their two year olds going off on holiday with their NRP. I think you're being unreasonable unless there is more to the situation.

susiesheep2 Mon 25-Jul-11 12:35:34

I think im with oystermum on this one tbh. I am not sure how people manage or even expect to spilt their childrens time 50:50 - especially young children. The reason most time is not spilt 50:50 is because of the disruption it causes the children, childrens right take priority of parents afterall. They did not ask for the situation or to be passed back and forth to accommodate their parents needs and wants.

I am not saying more time with nrp is not a good thing during holidays, but 50:50 should not be a starting point imo, rp's general spend the majority of their time looking after and working hard to look after the children at all times, emotionally, practically, financially, so why is if fair for the nrp to expect half of the holiday time? do they do half their washing, shopping, half the school runs, half the running round picking up from various clubs, pay half the childcare, I know for certain my exP doesnt / wouldnt and in my case anyway, the children wouldnt even want to spend 50:50 time with nrp during the holidays as its 'boring'. Why should nrp get 50% of the quality time when they only put in 10% of the real parenting... ://

ladydeedy Mon 25-Jul-11 12:42:21

if it were the other way round and you were the NRP - would you think it fair that the amount of time you could see your children during holidays would be rationed by the RP, because you are not perceived as having to do as much? of the day-to-day?
Sorry, but your post comes across as very selfish and controlling, aimed at denying/punishing the NRP, as opposed to what may be best for the child.

susiesheep2 Mon 25-Jul-11 12:43:39

Just to add, from the childrens point of view, their holiday time is not just spilt 50:50 mum & dad, its 50:50 home1 & home2 - which often means less time with wider family, less social play with friends & going without usually activities whilst at home2. It does seem a bit harsh to try and force 50:50 on any child, growing up and establishing a secure sense of belonging and social network can be hard enough, without having to create two in tandom.. I dont suppose many adults would like to try it...

SirGin Mon 25-Jul-11 12:55:57

susie, surely spending time in 'home 2' results in seeing more of the child's wider family, or do you not think NRP's have family like cousins, grandparents, uncles etc ? Do you think that NRP's are incapable of facilitating friendships for their children ? I think you're being rather narrow minded.

TastyMuffins Mon 25-Jul-11 13:02:29

I think that sounds a fair deal although if his weekends mean that you don't get a sensible chunk of time to be able to go away and it is affecting your plans then you both need to be flexible. 50/50 split sounds great for everyone in my opinion so long as it doesn't obstruct any events that the child could be going to. I don't think 6 is too young for a child to be away especially if she is away with a parent.

You see he contributes nothing to her upbringing so surely having more time with her gives him the opportunity to contribute. Does he contribue financially or is it just input into her daily life that he does not take part in?

My DS is also 6, doubt he will be spending any time with his father during the holidays as his father has not seen him for nearly 3 months and seems to have lost interest. Half the holidays with his father instead of Holiday Club while I work would be a fantastic thing, they could get to know each other better, DS could meet his father's family, maybe meet his Step Sister. Ex could find out more about how much work is involved in bringing up DS, what he likes, what he doesn't like, what happens if you feed him nothing but junk food and let him stay up late?

Wow, what I could do with 3 weeks off! I could spend hours gardening uninterrupted, go out every other night, deal with all of the junk that needs to be sorted out, decorate DS's room and get his toys in order, work late in order to earn a few extra hours to take back during term time and save on childcare, lie in at the weekends...

Riakin Mon 25-Jul-11 13:08:24

I agree with SirGin relating to Susie, its not a very nice view to have.

The actual fact of the matter is this "NRP" is wanting to have his child. Just because this doesn't fit your situation doesn't mean a blanket should be cast to this "NRP".

From a childs point of view it should be "I'm stopping with my Daddy" and "I'm stopping with my Mummy"... thats the be all and end all. The "NRP" will also have wider family.

I had a recent instance where a Mum said contact days needed to be changed because she had friends coming over and that it was in her sons best interest to be there rather than being with the Father... needless to say she couldn't be convinced otherwise of what she was doing was wrong on two counts because of it fitting in with her life, never mind Father having to re-arrange all plans (at cost i'll add).

Also research is and has shown beyond reasonable doubt that Shared Parenting is actually much much more beneficial for a child across all ranges from education, confidence, sports, emotion, gaining and holding down a job, less likely to use drugs or be in trouble with the Police.

susiesheep2 Mon 25-Jul-11 13:17:34

Sorry, I dont mean to come across that way..
I just know from experience, my daughter hasnt made any friends and doesnt visit any other family whist at 'home2'. (although she keeps in touch with exp wider family because I take her to visit her cousins myself as they live closer to me) - although I know this is not an option in every case, so better stick to what op has brought up...

I just believe it is important to bare in mind that its not just the relationships with mum and dad, but all the social relationships which can be affected, of course some children may be able to make friends and establish themselves at 'home2' but as its likely their school friends and activities will be based near their usually home it will make it harder for them (unless of course both parents live very close).. At the end of the day m&d need to try and take a step back and think about what really is best for the kids from a broader point of view.

Vibrant Mon 25-Jul-11 13:26:26

My dd isn't remotely disrupted by going between two homes. It's generally an every other weekend with her Dad (his choice, I'd rather he did 50:50) but there are times when he's doing something so I have her on his weekend, or I'm doing something so he has her on mine. I can arrange to go out one evening and she's suddenly told "you're sleeping at Daddy's tonight" and he's even turned up unexpectedly to pick her up from after school club, or to take her out for the evening. She just takes it all in her stride.

Vibrant Mon 25-Jul-11 13:30:40

My dsd didn't live near us and had no problem making friends with the local children. And I think I'd rather encourage dd's relationship with her Dad and put more importance on that, than her social friendships. I believe there is enough time for that when she is with me

theredhen Mon 25-Jul-11 13:46:08

I think it depends so much on the child, the parents and their attitude. Sometimes 50/50 works and sometimes it doesn't.

If OP ex isn't contributing financially to this child at all, how can he afford to suddenly have her half the time? If he is having her 50% of the time, he will be providing her food but will he also be providing her clothes and taking her out and about? If so, why isn't he contributing before now?

We don't know all the details to really decide if a blanket "50/50 is good for the child" applies in this case.

There are plenty of lone parents who do all the difficult day to day stuff and then have to watch NRP just doing the fun stuff. That's not 50/50 care. That's 50% normality and 50% unrealisitic living which won't do the child any favours in the long run.

And then there are kids who simply don't want to do the 50/50 thing. They want one source of constant security rather than being passed backwards and forwards for such large periods of time.

If the OP's ex is going to step up to the plate and really parent the child properly in his 50% of time, then that is a positive thing to be encouraged. There will need to be lots of discussion and communication on consistency of parenting and care between the two parties.

SirGin Mon 25-Jul-11 14:08:18


The OP is talking about her XP wanting half the holidays not 50:50 residency.

theredhen Mon 25-Jul-11 16:24:16

If the OP works to provide for her daughter and probably doesn't see her much in term time, is it so wrong that she wants to spend time with her in the holidays? She won't be seeing much more of her than he does in term time, assuming he has her every other weekend and one day in the week.

Of course he should have contact but how can he afford to pay for a child for over 3 weeks full time when he can't pay anything during the year?

Riakin Mon 25-Jul-11 16:41:48


If Oystermum doesn't see her child much in term time... by your standards how is she providing emotional and physical time... she isn't there to do it, by your logic.

When it comes to children if you don't have time you need to make time. I've been surprised mostly at Dads saying they don't have time to do general "chores" with their child (these being giving them a bath etc) or often put their own activities first.

The point is basically he clearly wants to be involved in his Daughters life so it should be worth championing that.

Susiesheep, from experience... from your experience... that isn't to say its everybodies.

Good on the guy for wanting to spend time with his child and hopefully being allowed to.

gillybean2 Mon 25-Jul-11 16:42:37

children aren't pay per view

theredhen Mon 25-Jul-11 16:54:55

Isn't that the double standard that always seem to apply to single parents? Damned if you go out to work to provide for your child even if the NRP won't pay (or possibly can't) and damned if you stay at home with your kids and be a "scrounger".

Both parents are responsible for providing emotional, financial and practical support to their children.

Children aren't pay per view but they hard work sometimes and both parents should take the responsibility of that.

Yes, I am possibly summising a lot from the limited information here and this guy might genuinely want to do everything for his daughter for 50% of the available time in the holidays but the fact that he doesn't provide financially for the rest of the year is ringing alarm bells that perhaps he only wants the "fun" bits leaving the OP with the mundane stuff.

gillybean2 Mon 25-Jul-11 17:30:40

"I provide everything and he contributes nothing to her upbringing"
He sees her every other weekend. That's contributing to he upbringing. We have no way of knowing from the OP if he wants to have his dd more than that or if he has agreed that it is more settling for her to be with OP during the school week.

The OP does not say he makes no financial contribution either. The assumption from what she says is that he doesn't. The question should be if that is the case then why not. Because the CSA can be asked to help if that really is the case... Whether he pays or not, and why he doesn't if he doesn't, is a separate issue to contact.

SirGin Mon 25-Jul-11 17:47:45

Reading oystermum's other posts on the subject I think he doesn't pay anything, perhaps a minimal amount. But again, that is a separate issue.

The child loves her dad and asking to split the holidays 50:50 is not unreasonable.

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