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Child Access Arrangements for Long Distance Fathers

(11 Posts)
duffybeatmetoit Thu 22-Nov-12 21:49:38

My ex (he left me with DD and no support locally) travels here and stays at the house on a sporadic basis, sometimes fortnightly, sometimes it could be 4 or 5 weeks between visits. I don't like having him here but it is worth it for the peace of mind. He doesn't interact much with her when he is here, mainly watches tv (his choice of viewing not hers) and buggers off to catch up with friends. If he was coming up and staying in a travelodge with her it wouldn't be a good experience for her as his behaviour wouldn't change much. At least at home she has all her stuff to play with whilst he chills out in front of the tv.

She goes down to stay at his parents a few times a year for longer stays. Going down there for a weekend would be too tiring and she is terribly carsick.

MakeItALarge Fri 16-Nov-12 22:25:57

I think a lot of it depends on your circumstances and situation. The kids shouldnt have to lose contact with their dad just because the mum left, but travelling every week would probably be too much for them. Staying with their father for a long (fri - mon) weekend every other week would be reasonable.

HoolioHallio Fri 16-Nov-12 20:25:37

Given the ages of the children, I think that the onus is on the dad to do most of the travelling to them - perhaps a routine where he travels to and stays close by the children for one weekend a month with both parents contributing to his travel/accomodation costs. For the second weekend a month, perhaps try and arrange that the kids can go to be with dad from Thursday night or first thing Friday morning ? Obviously things get a bit more difficult when kids are at nursery and school in terms of extended weekends.
There really is no 'right' answer. In the early days for me, Ex used to come and stay over in the house and I would go and stay with friends or family or at a hotel. It worked for a while until the relationship really deteriorated and OW started throwing her toys out of her pram but might be worth suggesting?
I think with longer distances, it's really easy to get caught up in the 'fairness' and unfairness of who does all the travelling/pays the costs etc but at the end of the day, kids are the most important thing and sacrifices often need to be made to make sure that they are happy and secure and are able to have a relationship with a NRP.

Letsmakecookies Fri 16-Nov-12 11:32:59

Depending on the ability of the father to look after young children, I think reasonable would be:

Regularly come to the children and spend the day with them, say every 3-4 weekends. Because of the age probably keep with mum overnight, unless dad has family nearby.

Every say 6-8 weeks (half term) have the children for a slightly longer period, say 3-5 days. The 1 year old might be too young now, but as s/he gets older...

I think it is too far for the children to commute for a weekend, and I think with the distance it is important for dad to fit in round the children. They need stability and routine. It is also important for dad to have a relationship with them.

With a marriage breakup, it is entirely reasonable for the woman to need to be near her family and support. And it is good for the children to be near extended family. There are no winners in a relationship breakdown. Sadly.

Mabon1 Fri 16-Nov-12 11:08:16

My ex lives 28 miles away and expects our 6 year old son to see him every other week end, which is ok, however, he is expected to commute to school every Monday morning, evening and Tuesday morning. Is this reasonable for a young boy to travel about fifty miles there and back to school when he already has spent every other week end with him. He is very bullish abut the access but I want to suggest that our son spends the school week at home and he can see him from Friday to Sunday evening every other week end. I can not negotiate changes and wonder what can I do to represent the best interests of my son.

viewfromawindow Tue 23-Aug-11 16:52:32

My exH lives a 3 hour journey away. I moved up from London when he walked out as I had to also cope with being made redundant and to be frank I needed my Mum. His work was an hour from where we lived anyway.
DD was only 2 when he went and he wanted alternate weekends but I was not prepared to put her through a 6 hours of travelling each time. We eventually agreed to him having her every 3 weeks but one night a week as well. His company has offices 30 mins from where I now live so he was visiting the area frequently...and they pay ALL his petrol! It has worked although my DD HATES the journey (she is 10 now) and her dad has finally decided to move nearer to the office near to us. It's not like he is leaving family as they all live in Scotland anyway. I think the crunch point was when he realised I was not going to MAKE her do the journey. She is old enough now to make her own decisions on this and he simply was enough of a draw for her to want to do the journey.

MeMySonAndI Mon 22-Aug-11 14:32:30

If he was a hands-on dad, and had family support nearby, I would say the children should spend the full weekend with him in an alternate weekend basis. Otherwise, a full weekend once a month and extra time with Dad during the holidays.

fridascruffs Sat 20-Aug-11 19:38:48

exDP decided to leave the country (long story) when DCs were 3 and 2, but he changed his mind and stayed locally till they were older. during that 2.5 years we had a shared residence arrangement. He finally left when they were 6 and 4, so they remember him from one holiday to another. They have just spent a few weeks with im, though prior to that they hadn't seen him since February half term. It's much better for the kids to see the parents regularly but it's better than not seeing him at all.

piellabakewell Sat 20-Aug-11 14:21:18

My DP's 2yo DD lives over 200 miles away. He sees her every other weekend. On a Friday evening he flies up to a nearby airport, collects his second car from the long stay car park and stays in a hotel on the Friday night. He cannot go on the Saturday morning because her mum insists he must be there at 10am and the first flight doesn't arrive in time. He spend all day Saturday with his DD, hands her back at 5pm, stays in a hotel again Saturday night, picks her up 10am Sunday morning and hands her back 5pm. Then he drives to the airport car park, leaves his car and flies back home, arriving home at about 11pm Sunday night. As you can imagine, all this costs him a lot of money.

He wants his DD overnight but mum says she's not old enough (odd, because she was six months ago). DD spends Saturday nights at her gran's while her mum is out on the town, so really she might as well be with her dad. In the long term, we hope his DD will be able to come and stay with us in school holidays.

it is possible for long distance access arrangements to work, when the NRP is determined to see the child, no matter what the cost or inconvenience. The situation my DP is in is far from ideal and the cost would be prohibitive for many.

niceguy2 Fri 19-Aug-11 23:51:53

There's not really much realistically you can organise without the kids spending an insane amount of time travelling.

My suggestions would be could dad stay with a friend/relative near mum? Or perhaps book a Travellodge? If booked in advance it can be pretty cheap.

I don't know what the background to this is but whilst I understand the need to be closer to parents in times of crisis, it does seem pretty unfair to the kids to practically have their dad pushed out of their lives at such a tender age. Especially if dad is a good dad otherwise but perhaps just a crappy partner.

Perhaps when they are older they can stay for a week or two and eventually some of the school holidays?

Hard to say without knowing more really.

Domino74 Fri 19-Aug-11 22:58:16


I wonder if anybody could help. Or know anybody who has been in this very difficult situation.

I know that the majority of child access arrangements if agreed by both parents are every other weekend. However if a mum has left the martial home and moved back with parents 250 miles away every other weekend is not realistic i.e due to travel time, not fair on LO's in car journey's 5 hours there and back in 2 days. Taking into consideration that the children are 2 and 1 what sort of access arrangements could you arrange if the father still wanted overnight contact.

Look forward to any advice.

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