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Managing ex dp's contact with kids - advice please

(9 Posts)
hurricane Thu 27-Sep-07 09:22:51

Dp has recently left me and is living in a rented house locally. We both want him to continue to see kids as much as possible but at the moment there are practical limitations to this. He has beenliving in a B & B and has just moved into rented house with no furniture so has not been in a position to take kids to his house yet. He has therefore had to take them to Brewsters type restaurants bringing them back high as kites or knackered and leaving me to do the homework, lunchboxes, swimming kit and get them to bed etc.

When he is more settled in his house we envisage that he may be able to pick up from school and take them back to his for tea one day a week and spend a morning inially then whole day at wkend.

My question is how do other people manage contact? At the moment we want to avoid solicitors etc and see if we can come up with an arrangemnt which works best for all of us on our own first. I'm interested to know how often your ex dp sees your kids and when and what kinds of things he does with them. Also want to know how you manage the handover physically. E.g. does dp come into your house ever? Do you go to his? Do you let dp come in and put them to bed?

So far dp has stayed out of the house and they've just come in but last time they tried to cling on to him and it was upsetting for all of us.

He also thinks I should let him come in and put the dds to bed etc sometimes but I've explained to him that this will be confusing and upsetting for all of us. I don't want the dds to see dp and I together since there are still very raw feelings which they'll pick up on and I think it totally unreasonable of him to expect me to absent myself from my own house so he can come in after a full days work etc etc.

Advice and experiences please

harman Thu 27-Sep-07 11:40:28

Message withdrawn

hurricane Thu 27-Sep-07 12:21:15

Thanks Harman. Useful to hear other people's experiences. Just trying to work out what is 'normal' as far as its possible to be and what's reasonable and fair on all of us.

What do you mean by the scenes at the doorstep. Were dcs upset or you and ex?

IdreamofClooney Thu 27-Sep-07 13:25:00

Hi Hurricane / Harman

I was interested to see the two threads about contact arragements as I was about to start another one!

Why does it have to be so complicated?

I think that the less contact you have with your ex the better and trying not to have them in your home is better too. I would prefer to see a lot less of my ex!

I split with my ex in March, he picks up DS (2) from nursery four days a week. The original agreement was that he'd take DS on his two days off but he was unable to get out of bed and turn up at mine to collect him so I had to put DS into nursery.

Now he collects DS at 3.30 on Mon and Tues as he works till 3.

Then he collect him at 11.45 on Wed and Thurs (his days off). Unfortuantely he is often late for the collections on his days off. He always phones me to ask me to call the nursery (no credits on phone, doesn't have number etc hmm ) so I get the brunt of the nursery being pissed off.

The nursery has suggested that I extend the sessions (great more expense for me) but Ex is totally against this and won;t let me do it. He doesn't understand the importance of being on time as the nursery never mention his lateness to him only to me.

He drops DS off at my work at 5.15.

I am not happy with the arrangement as he just wanders the streets with DS all day - it is getting cold so I've suggested activities but excusses of no money, can;t be bothered etc.

I am also v concerned as he drinks a LOT and I;ve noticed that lately he has really been smelling of Booze. It is stale booze from the night before but to be smelling of booze so strongley the next day must invlove drinking enough to make you still over limit (he's not driviing) and make you hangover and less patient.

Anyway I would appreciate any advice anyone has!

Anna8888 Thu 27-Sep-07 13:35:01

Nearly four years down the line since I first became a stepmother, I have learnt quite a few things.

1. Make a fixed agreement that you both agree and adhere to. By fixed, I include details such as exact time of pick-up/drop-off, who does it etc.

If you only make a fixed agreement for one week the first time, that's fine, and have an agreement to renegotiate (by email if possible) after one week. Then draw up a new agreement for, say, one month, keep to that, and then renegotiate on that basis.

After about 3 months you ought to be at a point when you can map out the year ahead.

Children much prefer knowing where and when they are going to be with whom. Separation and divorce are very unsettling, so a fixed routine is great for making them feel more secure and it reduces negotiation between ex partners.

2. If possible, try to do pick-ups/drop-offs at neutral places (school, CM) or get a third party (nanny, CM) to do them. Avoid seeing one another and do not go into one another's houses, ever. Don't even go up to the front door if you can avoid it.

3. Neither parent is the helper or babysitter for the other. Contact arrangements should be about the child's welfare and need to see both parents in agreeable circumstances, not about providing help to one or other parent.

Tinkerbel5 Fri 28-Sep-07 10:50:00

hurrican I dont think you ex should come into the house and put the kids to bed, he should have them at his place then drop them back home, maybe suggest to him to furnish his place by looking on freecycle.

BrownSuga Fri 28-Sep-07 12:33:22

Since DH's exW moved towns with their DD, we now have her weekends only. He picks her up from school just after 3 (works flexi time), then drops her home sunday night. He doesn't go into their house.

When they lived in the same town, she didn't come to our home at all, and pickup/dropoffs would be either to grandparents or to their house. In this case it was 3 nights in the week this week, then fri/sat nights the next week, so we had alternate weekends. but found this very unsettling for everyone concerned.

Also we have written up agreement for contact (no solicitor involved and also covers maintenatnce) that both parties have signed, if the exW gets antsy about anything, we refer to the agreement.

Surfermum Fri 28-Sep-07 14:32:23

We have dsd every other weekend. It was every 3rd weekend as per Court Order but dsd asked to come more often. In addition she comes for half of the school holidays. It was supposed to be 2 weeks in the summer but again when she got older she didn't think this fair, so asked to come for 3 weeks. We are supposed to have her from 10 am Boxing Day for a week but she has asked to alternate Christmas with her mum and her dad, so this is changing too.

Dh used to have to meet his x in a car park. She didn't want him going to the house (long, complicated story but to do with her then partner, not because dh was aggressive or anything like that). It was horrible. After the partner left dh started going to the house and gradually as the ice has thawed with his x he has graduated from having the door closed in his face and dsd eventually coming out, to going in for a quick wee to now going in for a cuppa and a chat - and last week going in and providing a shoulder for her to cry on!

Dsd is delighted that her mum and dad can now be in the same space and be civil to one another (and it was never for want of trying from dh's point of view), and it's stopped dsd being able to play her mum and dad off against each other as they now communicate.

So I'd say that the best thing is for him to collect from the house - but he doesn't have to come in if that's difficult for you, he can always knock and wait in the car.

Dh used to have to do the take her out for the day thing. After she ended their relationship, his x stopped him seeing dsd, so dh went to Court. His x tried to say that dsd didn't want to see him and wouldn't know him, all sorts of excuses, so the Court ordered that contact be built up gradually. The Sundays spent in a town he didn't know, with little to do on a winter's afternoon weren't the best times he ever spent with her. They were special, of course, as he was seeing her, but we did used to end up in a Brewster's or Macdonalds just trying to while away the last hour or so, having been to the park, swimming or cinema. It really wasn't ideal.

What was far better was when dsd was allowed to start coming to our house, and we could just do normal family stuff. And when she started coming for whole weekends it was even better, not just because dh got to see his little girl more (he missed her terribly) but there was time to do things like swimming or the park, plus cuddling on the settee watching videos, having a family meal or playing games with her. Just all normal stuff.

I don't think coming in to put them to bed is a good idea, but he must miss them and they must miss him, so I can understand why he might want to do it.

hurricane Sun 30-Sep-07 12:47:38

Thanks all. Have found your advice useful and think we're working towards an agreement and routine for the dds.

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