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How do/did you agree on contact with your ex?

(10 Posts)
Dee34 Mon 05-Sep-11 22:04:55

Am about to broach this with my ex this Friday and would love to know how this was tackled? Did you have to negotiate with a bullying partner or was it all very plain sailing? If the former, how did you stand your ground, whilst keeping best interests of your DC first and foremost?

Also, what does your access/contact plan look like? Do you have a 1 (or more) night(s) a week agreement and every other weekend? What does this look like for younger children (my DS is 3 y.o - just turned).

As background, my ex has a history of demanding his rights and not being that bothered about rights/benefits/best interests of DS (though he is utterly convinced that he is doing this). He has long dictated contact pattern including excessive, daily phone calls and texts and emails inbetween which have only recently stopped as I finally found a backbone and pointed out the obvious - DS was not enjoying being dragged away from his play/whatever he is doing to speak on the phone. I would have to run around after DS or have DS having a screaming fit as he rejected the phone.......am hoping to be a bit forewarned etc. I accept that we will need to work together to do what is best for DS, but totally unsure how to relay this to ex confused.

Thanks in advance.

Daisy1986 Mon 05-Sep-11 22:24:42

I went to a solicitor to find out what was a normal length of contact for my situation (my ex hadnt bothered with DD at all since I found out I was pregnant, they didnt know each other etc she was 9 months old). She wrote a letter to him outlining the contact suggested. Solicitor said twice a week for two hours in a familiar environment was a good start so we did this. He kicked off, things werent moving as fast as he liked caused criminal damage. We ended up at a contact centre for 3 months. We tried mediation, he wasnt interested in a compromise wanted DD 3 nights a week. Through consent at court we went to 2x a week for 3hrs at a soft play area and sure start group. When he finally disclosed his address it was extended to 1x week 8-5. We are back in Court in November for final hearing and to look at overnight stays.

She is 2 this month from what Ive read this is a pretty standard age to start overnights.

Obviously if youve cohabited/been married your DC will miss their Dad being around so contact should probably be more frequent then mine.

I know most people dont like going through the courts but for me having everything laid out formally and everyone knowing where they stand is very helpful. I dont know if you can access a separated parenting course that the courts send you on but its quite helpful.

Good Luck.

ivykaty44 Mon 05-Sep-11 22:34:45

TBH I would suggest you push for as much contact as possible for your dc with your ex. I would say every weekend and one or two nights in the week.
Then he will probably go for one night and every other weekend which would be a normal amount

MrsMooo Tue 13-Sep-11 10:42:13

I was very VERY lucky that our split was amicable and we mutally agreed access. DS was 2 last month and we sperated at the begining of July

DexH has him for an hour after nursery Monday - Thursday, then picks him up Friday morning, takes him to his mum's (she looks after him during the day) and brings him home Satuday afternoon

He also has him overnight on Thursday evenings whenever I ask.

I agree that you should push for maximum access, for both your DC and you.
Good luck, I hope you and and your ex can come to an amicable agreement

notsorted Tue 13-Sep-11 11:16:06

Have a look at various co-parenting plans - google them or see resolution/ginerbread. It is important to set the tone of the contact as well as the hours/times. If ex wants to phone all the time then suggest a set time each week and explain to him that may be DS is too young to understand need to talk to Daddy. Also, it will change over time as DS grows and goes to school etc. Also think about what works for you and DS and your home life. Come up with lots of ideas and perhaps a minimum/maximum plan and then give him time to consider.

MrGin Tue 13-Sep-11 11:27:01

OP, what kind of access is your XP asking for ?

MissPricklePants Tue 13-Sep-11 11:30:43

contact for dd and ex has been sorted through court due to mediation failure. He has dd once a week when he decides to turn up x

Dee34 Wed 14-Sep-11 10:44:29

Thanks for all the great advice. In the end, I had an initial discussion with ex via email. Will be following this up next week (still to decide if F2F or via email - whichever has least emotional build-up).

I dont think I could do mediation with my ex. He is very forceful, very demanding and a PITA.

MrGin - we 'agreed' on access on the day my ex came back from the US - after spending 5 nights there with OW. I was totally unaware that he was with someone else whilst there and that he was even having an affair. He flew back on a Weds morning and that afternoon wanted to discuss putting house on the market and access for DS. I did'nt want to, but he insisted. I plucked 1 night and every other weekend out of the air, he said no, he couldn't live with only seeing DS for such little time, and could we split it so that I had DS for 4 night one week, him 3 nights and then we swap. This is from someone who spent around 10 weeks in total last year on business, who, since splitting in Jan and moving out of tha family home in Jan, has not taken one days a/l to spend with DS (though fair enough he can do as he likes, its his leave). In the end, I backed down to 2 nights and every other weekend. I do feel bullied into this due to emotional circumstances and I was, frankly, scared that he would stop contributing into the house as I was not working and living off my savings as it was (was a SAHM mum, having taken VR, now working full-time, so struggling myself with sudden change in time spent with DS). Emotional surroundings granted and I try to not let it cloud access now, but there was no fair discussion at all. Though the access pattern here would seem fair and most beneficial to DS and his relationship with ex (and also time for me to take off, re-charge etc. So I am totally for access).

I also think that my ex thinks he can take me for a 'mug' a bit as he has had his way (bar overnights since OW, now gf arrived 10 weeks ago - these resume again this week). I am flexible when he goes away on business, but he still seems to think that he should be able to see DS every day (that is when he wants to - as mentioned, he travels a lot with work and is currently taking a lot of personal holidays). This could be possible if I was working p/t, but surely I should get some quality one on one time with DS? I think he is being unreasonable and unrealistic with his demands. He expects me to stay in the local area and if I even moot the idea of moving in the future for work etc, he says that I would be taking DS away from him, which wouldn't be fair etc (needless to say, I keep my future plans to myself now).

notsorted - have managed to reduce the calls to only those days when ex does not see DS and tried to explain that DS is not mad keen at this age to go on the phone, esp as set times as no meaning for him. TBH, the calls were also highly intrusive for me as I would have to stop what I was doing at 7.30am every morning ex wasn't seeing DS (a pain when getting ready for work) and stop whatever we were doing at 7pm for similar evening calls.....My sol had suggested that ex's demands for contact could be down to him proving that he is a good dad, so trying to see it from that perspective as well and less annoyance factor. I dont think he is that concerned with what works for me and DS, just his rights to see his son.

Good idea about googling parenting plans and maybe presenting lots of options. Again, I would need to be forceful in terms of reminding him that there has to be some fluidity here as DS grows, develops, things evolve etc.

ivykaty44 - thanks for the suggestion, but ex would take me at my word and have DS every night (give less maintenance - he is already being strict on this down to the exact number of days he expects to see DS over the course of a year) when it suited him and then hand him back when it didn't.

Again, thanks for all the sterling advice.

MrsMooo Wed 14-Sep-11 13:46:23

I would stick to email if I were you, just because it's less emotional and more formal if it ever needs to go to court.

I think you stop the phone calls completely, expecially if your DS has to be made to particiate and let him call ExP if he wants to rather than be forced to

Could you practially have a 50/50 split? Would this fit around your work? A friend with a similar age DS has and arrangement where she and ExP have their DS alternate nights and it works very well for them as it means neither has long periods of time without seeing the DS

It is such a minefield, good luck with finding something that works

YoFluffy Tue 20-Sep-11 20:52:45

I think it's important that whatever you agree on, there's an established routine - not just him dropping in whenever. It has to work for your little one, it has to work for you too.

We have 50/50 and have done for nearly 6 years. Mon/Tues nights at dad's, Wed/Thurs at mine and we then alternate weekends, Fri/Sat/Sun nights. We rarely swap or change the routine, we all know where we stand and it works well. Whatever you decide, it's important to have clear rules for both sides, especially regarding phone calls etc.

Our contact pattern is one used by a number of families and works for us, all situations are however different. I have found though that by having a set routine, I really don't have to communicate with my ex much if at all, it takes the emotion / abuse / conflict out of the situation.

Hope you find an arrangement that works, it might seem a minefield now, once sorted it will hopefully make life easier.

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