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Contact for ex with DD?

(15 Posts)
Longo Fri 09-Sep-11 19:53:52

DD is 3, her Dad and I have been split up for two months now but have remained in the same house, I move out in two weeks time and now comes the battle for how much time ex gets DD. He proposes one week each rotating. I really dont want this and dont see how he would do as he works 8 til 5 monday to Friday, he hasnt thought about this!!
I propose either every weekend or alternate weekends with a day in the week?
Should I see a solicitor for advice? He's already said hes not going to make it easy for me!!

MrsVidic Fri 09-Sep-11 19:56:34

I'm not a Lp but I think she needs routine and don't see alternate weeks would give her that- I'd say a day in the week with alternate weekends sounds good- perhaps an over night stay for the night in the week

Longo Fri 09-Sep-11 20:04:05

Thanks MrsVidic, Thats what I think. She is a really settled happy girl, I really don't want to change that [sad face]

Longo Fri 09-Sep-11 20:04:23

oops sad

rubin Fri 09-Sep-11 21:05:13

Alternate weekends with a night during the week does seem fair. I don't agree alternate weeks would be fair on your DD - a lot of disruption.
If I were you though I would definitely get a solicitor on board..

Best of luck with it all.

Latemates Fri 09-Sep-11 22:15:34

If he takes it to court and has a reasonable plan of how 50:50 can work then he has a good chance of getting shared care and alternative weeks. IMO this is most beneficial to the child as the child deserves a significant and full relationship with both parents. Without knowing the full situation it's hard to give a full response but he may already been making changes at work to allow shared care to work and if you can come to agreement that you are both happy with and that is in childs best interest without going to court you will save yourselves and ultimately your child the expense and upset of what could be a long and painful court battle.
A word of advice if you insist that you child can not manage alternative weeks and prevent a reasonable split the court may decide that father gets residency and you get a weekly over night and alternative weekends. How would you feel about this?

letitlie Fri 09-Sep-11 22:46:47

Whilst I have similar arrangements in place to your proposal, I think you should consider Latemates advice carefully. XH was happy with these arrangements but if a father wants an equal role, depending upon reasons for your separation, why should he be denied that?

I have a friend with this arrangement in place for children of a similar age, and it works fine for them and the children are happy.

whiteandnerdy Sat 10-Sep-11 00:58:30

I'm sorry why is alternate week with dad, and then a week with mum not a routine? As opposed to a weekend with dad and a weekend with mum, and some days in the week with mum and less days in the week with dad.

More of an issue would be, is a week with one parent too long for the child to go without contact with the other parent. The other issues would be more practical issues such as child care arrangements school runs and alike having to be sorted that would either suite both parents or would be flexible enough to change to suit each parent each week.

Ask yourself could you be an effective parent if you were being told that in the best interests of the child you should see them every other weekend and maybe a day in the week? Would you swallow that?

As for your Ex having them every weekend .... every weekend. I've done that for the last 9 or ten years, wow you'll have a good social life but when school kicks in you'll both spend about the same amount of time with your DD but you won't get the chance to do much between her getting back from school and putting her to bed. Whereas your Ex will have the oppertunity to take her on weekends away, and other weekend activities.

My advice would be start from a point of wanting your DD to have the same oppertunity to foster as strong a relationship with each of their parents, and then, work from there. When you say "I really don't want this", are you talking about real issues, or are you talking emotionally about what your feeling are. It's all about doing what's in the childs interest and their feelings but both you and your Ex have emotions and feelings which are also in the mix.

It's by no means easy for either or you or your DD, good luck!

Maybe try mediation first ... before you start giving each of your solicitors money that should be bringing up your DD. It still costs mind you, I think your looking at circa 100 pounds each, for professional mediation service.

gillybean2 Sat 10-Sep-11 07:50:26

OP you are being given some scary advice here. Please don't panic.
Your ex is trying it on, pushing for as much as he can knowing you will both negotiate down and is aiming high he is aiming for a better 'compromise' position.

Is your ex wanting shared residency and confusing this with equal contact time? Find out what the differences are here and also get advice on different parenting plans and what the arguments for an against shared residency.

You should seriously consider agreeing to shared residency. It is far more common for a court to order this now then it used to be. Shared residency does NOT mean autimatic shared contact time though. So read up about it and educate your ex re the differences too as I doubt he knows either.

You say your dd is 3. Does she got to nursery yet? How long until she starts school?

Do you work as well as your ex? If so what childcare arrangements are in place and what hours do you work (ie a few hours each day, a long day, evenings or weekends...)?

If this goes to court they will look at two things. What the status quo is (ie how things have been up till now) and what is in the best interests of your dd.
Courts do generally dish out every other weekend and half the holidays, especially to NRP who maybe haven't been very full on or who full time work commitments.
This doesn't mean they always award that. It really can vary enormously from judge to judge so please bear that in mind. Also bear in mind that court will order contact that you may not agree with so if at all possible try and come to an agreement between you using mediation if necessary. Court should be a last resort really, but you may feel at some point that you want to use a solicitor for the letter writing and negotiation advice.

If it gets that far, a court will want to see that you have been reasonable and contact has been offered and mediation tried. SO rememeber at all times to be reasonable.
Ask yourself some questions and ask your ex to think about the same things- is this level of contact fair to dd, is it a reasonable proposal, would I be happy with the same level of contact...

EG the question is it fair to dd to:
1) be away from her primary carer for so long
2) To see her dad that infrequently
3) Will her routine be hugely disrupted
4) Has her dad been very hands on, and will he step up if given the opportunity - will dd be safe, cared for, will her basic human needs be met
5) Will dad change his work hours to suit dd and care for her himself or is he intending to use childcare.
6) Do both homes have suitable accomodation, access to outdoor areas, toys and equipment etc

The fact that he hasn't thought about dd/work is his alternative week proposal just goes to show that dd and her welfare isn't at the centre of his proposal or what is driving his decisions here. Ask his to consider dd's welfare and put her needs first and come back with a sensible proposal that he has though about and could actually do...

Also think about if/when you use childcare and see if dad could have her then instead. And if you do use childcare it would be hard to argue that he shouldn't when you do for your work etc. On the other hand if either/both of you can swap your hours to be abloe to care for dd while the other is at work rather than use childcare (regularly not just here or there) then do look at incorportaing that into your agreement.

I(f you think it is then ,tell him that you believe that alternative weekends and a day in the week is fair (and explain why you believe this).
Ask him to look into re-negotiating his hours so that he can have a day in the week for this. Because if he can't negotiate that then he can't really be serious about having her for alternate weeks. And if he is serious about that then please could he explain what his proposals are re child care as putting dd into child care (for 10 hours a day, 5 days every other week) when there is a parent willing and able to have her (assuming you are) seems entirely at odds with what is best for your dd... Plus he would still have to pay for the week she wasn't at childcare in order to retain the space.

Has he looked for appropriate child care and it's cost in your area. I would suggest that once he does he may well find that it's cheaper to 'pay' you to have her by way of child maintenance.

Also mention holidays at this point. Point out it is only x months till she starts school and it is normal to split the holiday. So he will get prolonged contact then and will have to negotiate time off work for that as is because school holidays are 13 weeks (half that is 7.5) plus there are non pupil days, school events like sports day etc that you assume he will want to attend as well so he needs to really look at how he can manage all these things with his current job (assuming he is intending to stay in his current job)

Basically don't panic at this point.

Think about what is best for dd and ask your ex to do the same.

Try and come to an agreement and use mediation rather than a lawyer first off.

Look at this website I gave above for ideas on shared parenting plans and remember that shared residency doesn't automatically mean equal contact time.

Put your proposals in writing, keep them factual and try not to be emotional or let other issues come into it (write separate letters on other issues if necessary). Remind yourself that each of your letters could end up before a court/judge and you should come accross as resonable and putting dd first at all times in your letters (if not rewrite them before sending).

Keep a copy of all correspondance and write down notes of verbal agreements.

Good luck with your up coming house move

hairylights Sat 10-Sep-11 08:21:08

In your head, flip what you are proposing and see if you think it would be ok for you to get what you're offering him. 50/50 should be the starting point. The mother doesn't get to automatically have the lions share of time with their child.

gillybean2 Sat 10-Sep-11 09:05:01

The things is that every other weekend (fri to monday), one over night in the week and half the school holidays does come to a reasonable/sizeable amount of contact.

My rough calculations make that 132 overnights a year. If they upped it to one more overnight a week on average dad would have slightly more contact than mum...

In reality the NRP is usually teh one who has been working full time and who hasn't been the primary care giver. They aren't suddenly going to jack in their job or swap to part time just so they can care for their dc. OP's ex hasn't even considered how he would care for their dd everyy other week....
So where else is time to be taken from to give the NRP more here? He will already have to make arrangements to have a day of work once a week (dd isn't of school age yet) OR put dd in childcare). How can being put in childcare rather than being with a parent be prefereable?

If the OP's other half comes back to her and says 'I've negotiated only working every other week at work' then fair enough and alternative weeks is an option. But he hasn't and hasn't even thought about how he'd actually manage it and if he is prepared to take the reduced income this decision would involve, loss of prospects and promtion etc.

The most important thing here is the welfare of the child. At 3 years old being slung back and forth between child care is not preferable to spending more of the time with mum if dad is working full time.

Sometimes people worry too much about what is fair to the parents and forget there is a child involved here who should actually be the priority!

The ex here needs to really look at his proposal and show that he is prepared to change his job/life around to accomodate shared care of his dd. If he's not then saying he's entitled to half the care/time is really a mute point...

hairylights Sat 10-Sep-11 09:44:32

We don't actually know what the OP's ex has in mind or has planned for - she has speculated that he hasn't thought it through, but we don't actually know the details, so it's a bit dangerous to be speculating and posting advice on that basis, surely?

I'm thinking about what's right for the child - the child needs to have a strong and steady relationship with both parents equally imho, so the quality of time together is important - and for the quality of time, there needs to be quantity with each parent.

I don't think I can read anywhere that he's saying he's 'entitled' to half the care/time.

The OP also assumes that 'shared residence' will be unsettling - there's nothing to say that will be the case if it's handled well. However, if the OP projects on to her DD that it will be unsettling that will unsettle the DD in itself.

her parents are splitting - that will be unsettling - and it's up to them as parents to keep her as settled as possible - I'd have thought that meant lots of time with both parents.

OP: why should he 'make it easy' for you to have the lions share of time with your DD at the expense of his relationship with his DD?

Vibrant Sat 10-Sep-11 10:17:25

Try not to panic too much. This is a highly emotive time while you are sorting things out, and my experience was that xh said all sorts of things just to be argumentative and make me look like the bad guy. When xh told me I was preventing him from seeing dd by moving out, I simply asked him if he was going to do the school runs and school pick-ups/activities. He told me he couldn't - more like wouldn't so I just said to him well let me know when you can and we'll talk. He hadn't wanted any of the responsibility when I was with him - so I knew that wasn't going to change when I left!

I did offer 50:50 but he didn't bother to sort his hours out, so I offered 3 weekends out of 4 but he refused to "be my babysitter". So we've ended up with every other weekend and he will do the occasional overnight in the week if I make arrangements with someone to take dd to school.

Listen to gillybean, she gives great advice. And just let the "I won't make it easy for you" comment go over your head. He's just angry. Just concentrate on doing what is best for your dd, and fair to him and don't listen to his angry comments. You can always check here to see if what you're proposing is reasonable or not.

Truckrelented Sat 10-Sep-11 10:49:06

Things change when people split up.

I think some men reassess their lives after a split, perhaps he simply wants to spend more time with his daughter?

I would have been devastated to see my children every other weekend.

notsorted Sat 10-Sep-11 11:18:10

All these are good points. If you can take yourself back to time when you first discussed parenting plans when you were together. In a way it's the same thing ie you both want the best for DD, but you have work/time constraints and only so many childcare options and money to finance them. Ignore the posturing, think practicalities for DD, for you and then ask ex what his constraints are. If it is strained, go to mediation and be aware that things will change when she goes to school If you have thought through lots of options then you will be stronger/better at making things work for you.

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