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Separation and custody.

(15 Posts)
Chatty100 Wed 03-Aug-16 00:18:49

I have separated from my husband and am currently on good terms. I am just so confused about how to share custody of our three children. It's so hard to maintain a good relationship with my ex whilst making sure I do the best thing for the kids! My ex would ideally like a 50/50 arrangement but I just don't see how that can work for kids! How do I make him see that he needs to have their best interests in mind and not his! I hate being away from my kids but I know there need to be with their dad too. He currently has them every other weekend (Fri, sat and sun night) and then one night in the week. He wants a little more as the second week of that arrangement he feels he only has them for one night all week! but I just feel there is already no continuity for the kids - he lets them stay up late, feeds them rubbish and I just feel we're constantly trying to catch ourselves up! Is there anyone who has a good, equal custody agreement and how does it work?? Thanks in advance.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Wed 03-Aug-16 00:29:36

My friends do and it works. The to-ing and fro-ing doesn't need to be a problem. Eventually you won't need to see too much of each other just at drop offs and my friend always makes sure to maintain a cordial relationship.

You need to compartmentalise and try not to think about what he is doing with them. You just need to trust that he cares about them as much as you do

Good luck flowers

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Wed 03-Aug-16 00:31:37

As an aside, the kids have grown to be incredibly independent and resourceful which are great skills to have for the future.

bluecashmere Wed 03-Aug-16 07:27:45

I think what he currently has is fair. Sounds like he has over 40% already. How old are the children?

TheRealAdaLovelace Wed 03-Aug-16 07:34:33

Please stop describing your children as being in 'custody' they are not criminals. The term is 'residence'. Sorry if anyone thinks that that is pedantic, but I think it is important.

intheBondiBubble Wed 03-Aug-16 07:34:51

I'm doing this, my husband has DC Wednesday Thursday Friday nights dropping back on Saturday afternoons.
We are on good terms and sometimes swap days if needed and it's much more settled.

Chatty100 Wed 03-Aug-16 07:58:34

Thanks everyone. The kids are 9,8 and 4. I think I'm just preparing for a fight about the arrangements. I think what we have in place now is ok, he just wants that extra one night but I feel it may tip us over the edge and make the kids more unsettled. I think I am being reasonable and really am thinking about what's best for the kids. I just hope I can sort it without a huge argument - I really do want to stay friends. Perhaps I will just have to accept that there will be a period of arguing before we can be friends again! Good to see that it can work. Fingers crossed it will for us.

Marilynsbigsister Wed 03-Aug-16 08:25:11

It all really depends on some basic practicalities. Most well adjusted and happy children I have ever met (of divorced parents) were close friends dcs who had a 50/50 set up. They changed week by week. The arrangement meant that the children never felt they had to choose one parent above the other. Equally, there was little chance of one parent exerting more influence over the kids dcs than the other.

This only works because both parents live close enough to get the children to/from same school and that no children were pre schoolers. Both parents work so both had exactly the same issues with childcare week to week (when they were young enough to need it) which was up to each parent to sort out on 'their' week. It is important to acknowledge that one parent is as important as the other and to leave them to parent as they see fit whilst in 'their' week.

The biggest clue to the success of this system was the parents focus on their children's best interests. Whilst the divorce had moments of being far from amicable, and both parents have wildly different parenting styles, they did manage to prevent the 'children as pawns' scenario.

All three kids now at very good Uni's . They were 7 9&10 when shared care began, so it was successfully sustained for over a decade and with stood both parents new relationships and fathers further dcs.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Wed 03-Aug-16 10:13:24

To have them one week on and one week off would be simpler than swapping around midweek.

How would your finances be affected?

3xcookedchips Wed 03-Aug-16 16:59:52

but I feel it may tip us over the edge and make the kids more unsettled

It always amazes me(although it shouldnt), that (some)mothers believe spending extra time with dad is unsettling for the kids.

Is it not case that starting a new nursery, new child minder, new school, new school year, etc may be unsettling for kids in the beginning but they soon settle in to it.

Spending more time with dad can hardly be classed as unsettling - what happens at holiday time?

3xcookedchips Wed 03-Aug-16 17:04:46

I think what he currently has is fair. Sounds like he has over 40%

ooh, 40% and should he feel grateful for the time he has? Or maybe the kids should feel grateful for the time they have? Which is it.

Kids do not belong to the parents!

Chatty100 Wed 03-Aug-16 19:37:13

poster 3xcookedchips it sounds like you are talking from your own experience. But not all cases are the same. I obviously have no problem with them spending time with their dad, in fact I think it's essential! But yes I do think it unsettles them as their dad doesn't get home from work until 6/6.30 so I have the kids until that point. They then go to his and have some quality time but end up going to bed very late and being exhausted and grumpy for a few days. I then end up trying to get them back into our usual routeen (as the worst mum ever coz I won't let them stay up late) and my worry is that adding one more night during the week like this may be just too much for them.
As I'm writing this I'm actually thinking that my problem is probably the consistency that is the problem. Perhaps if he was to stick to the routers (that after all we both developed and liked when we were together) then perhaps the kids wouldn't be so exhausted!!
And holidays are not a problem. They can see their dad when ever they like. In fact we are all going on holiday for a week together!!!!

lookluv Wed 03-Aug-16 22:32:38

3X - it depends on so many things. MY 2DCs have had 4 yrs of emotional abuse, screaming and shouting, and pisspoor contact. They would come back very unsettled, very clingy and just wanting to quote them - "peaces, we are home".

EX has now left his beloved witch and he is making a much better effort at contact, but they are wary, very wary. After 2 nights with their Dad they wanted to come home- the bause had gone but they just got scared.

Do I trust him - not sure. He bloody well walked out and pretty well for got them for 4 yrs - sorry forgot 64 days on ONs in 4 yrs! Different rules unsettle children, different places unsettle them - not right or wrong it just does.

Mine cling like crazy when they come home to me - yes it is unsettling.

willfuckformichilenstarfood Wed 03-Aug-16 22:39:05

We do Thursday evening - Monday morning and then the following Thursday x

TimeforaNNChange Thu 04-Aug-16 16:38:26

50/50 means exactly that - he's responsible 50% of the time, and if that means he organises and pays for childcare after school until he gets home from work, then that's what should happen.

I'm not surprised your DCs are unsettled. One of the biggest emotional challenges for DCs with separated parents is 'transition' - the period during which they switch from one parents care to another. It is recommended by many professionals that direct transition is avoided (transition through school or childcare is an alternative) and that longer blocks of time are spent with each parent rather than frequent swaps.
In your DCs case, they are transitioning daily and that is far more difficult to adapt to. Far better that their dad organises childcare or does as my Ex did which was to secure flexible working so he works longer hours the weeks DD is with me, and shorter days the weeks she's with him. My DD has been 50:50 (1 week at each) for 7 years now, since she was 8 years old, and its suited her very well.

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