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what are "typical" access arrangements for a 1yo?

(26 Posts)
MamaChris Sun 14-Dec-08 19:24:42

I am not a lone parent, but dp is not ds's dad. we (dad and I) are disagreeing over access arrangements. I am writing to ask for examples of access arrangements in other families, or suggestions, so I could maybe construct some other proposals. ds is nearly 11 months old, and dad lives 1.5 hours drive away, so that has to be accommodated in whatever we agree.

currently he sees ds a total of 28 hours over 5 days every 4 weeks. mostly he comes to us. I am going back to work (full time) after maternity leave and would like it to be the same total hours but over 4 days every 4 weeks (so one day/weekend). can anyone give me examples of access arrangements for a child this young? thanks.

shelleyloukissessantaselves Sun 14-Dec-08 21:21:11

When my ds was at that age he went to his dads from firday eve til sunday evening alternate weekends. He also lives aprox 1.5 hours drive away. T

Idrankthechristmasspirits Mon 15-Dec-08 16:03:47

With a very young child the general rule of thumb is little and often.

If you could work out contact for every weekend in some capacity and then build up to overnight contacts as the child gets older that would be a good way to approach this.

MamaChris Tue 16-Dec-08 20:20:22

thanks. we're aiming for 1 day each weekend, but dad wants 2 days some weekends, and this is the sticking point. the thing is, I really want 1 day each week that's just me, dp and ds. If I work 5 days, I won't see ds much that time, then I don't see him most of the weekend because dad's here, then work another 5 days... it's scary enough thinking about going back to work anyway.

what happens if dad and I cannot agree?

goldFAQinsenceandmyrrh Tue 16-Dec-08 20:23:10

exH lives quite close and DS3 has been spending the same time as his older brothers (8 and 5) Friday evening until Sunday evening since he was 9 months old (when we split up) - although the 2nights has only started fairly recently as exH's living arrangements meant 2 nights was too difficult (shared accomodation).

MamaChris Tue 16-Dec-08 21:26:38

thanks gold. do your dcs stay with your exH every weekend? do you work?

overnight stays not yet possible for us I think... ds an awful sleeper, still bf multiple times in the night, and has refused all attempts at a bottle.

goldFAQinsenceandmyrrh Tue 16-Dec-08 21:29:25

no they stay alternate weekends. So I get a whole weekend to myself grin.

I do't currently work no, but even if I did I think I'd still do it this way, as it means that if I ever wanted to go away at the weekend with them or something I can plan it for the weekend I have them (or if I wanted to go away alone I could do it theweekend he has them grin).

To start with he would pick them up first thing Saturday morning and bring them back that night, as overnights weren't possible either. Think it was about 2 months in that he started having them for one night, but it wasn't every fortnight that it happened. The 2 night weekends started about 2 months ago (he moved out in March)

Now he's got a place on his own so they're guaranteed now smile

MamaChris Tue 16-Dec-08 21:33:26

ah - I read it as every weekend and wondered how that worked! alternate weekends sounds like a good plan to me, and something I'd like to work towards. but don't think dad is so keen.

argh. I need to sort this out

goldFAQinsenceandmyrrh Tue 16-Dec-08 21:37:02

ahh - yes just read my first post and I didn't make it very clear did I blush.

No it's alternate weekends, so we both get the chance of a full weekend with the DS's (and full weekend to ourselves too). He works full time, obviously I'm at home at the moment but once DS3 starts nursery/school intend to start working again - so will be nice to be able to enjoy a whole weekend totally to myself after a week at work.

Understand about the nights thing.

Hope you can sort something out with him.

MamaChris Tue 16-Dec-08 21:39:53

me too! thanks.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 16-Dec-08 21:41:49

mine are older, they were just 2 and 5.5 when we split in the spring.
They go every Tue evening and ex drops them at school/cm Wed morning, then for a 24 hour period over the weekend.
I would be happy now to do every other weekend - wasn't at the start as ds2 barely knew ex - but ds1 doesn't want to.
I am going with what the children are happy with.

goldFAQinsenceandmyrrh Tue 16-Dec-08 21:44:32

ChasingSquireels sad that your youngest didn't really know your ex at 2yrs old. DS3 is nearly 19 months now (blimey - just realised it's been 10 months since we split!) and knows him - despite seeing him only fornightly.

In fact the other day exH popped round to borrow my Dyson (he's got a hoover but it doesn't really do corners/stairs very well - and he's just moved into a new plac which needed cleaning) - DS3's face totally lit up when he saw him.

MamaChris Tue 16-Dec-08 22:02:46

glad your children are happy with the arrangements. really hoping it will all work out for us, but things are really tense right now. thankfully ds has bonded well with dad, and recognises him already. just need a way for him not to pick up on the atmosphere between us. helpful to know things have worked well for you all.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 16-Dec-08 22:04:55

I agree, he has probably seen more of them since we split.
ds2 wasn't an easy baby, fed alot, very clingy etc and ex hadn't wanted 1 2nd - so I guess I took over, and he let me. He was, and still is to an extent, very much my baby, wasn't happy with other people, always wanting to be held etc. So although he knew ex, I was concerned about how he would be with him for 2 days. I wouldn't worry about that now, in fact ex is having them for 2 2-day stints over the xmas period.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 16-Dec-08 22:05:47

it does get easier MamaChris.

goldFAQinsenceandmyrrh Tue 16-Dec-08 22:07:06

sad Chasing, exH didn't want DS3 either - but although he won't admit it I think he's probably very glad he didn't push for me to terminate.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 16-Dec-08 22:09:27

umm, ex didn't (in retrospect) want any, but loves them both. I don't know if he wishes we hadn't had ds2 - we barely talk any more. Veyr sad, 17 years of friendship down the drain, but too hard for me to be friends with him atm.

mybumpsaboy Wed 17-Dec-08 18:54:56

hi MamaChris...

well, I've seen a solicitor re: what's "usual" access for a newborn, & apparantly its pretty much the same up to a year: little & often as you've already been told, gradually building towards a regular 2 days with 1 or 2 overnights, depending on circumstances by about 1yr old. Then, alternate "special occasions" & split holidays where possible. The breastfeeding argument seems quite controversial if it goes to court & largely depends on the judge...some legal advice I've taken has told me its a vaild case, others have said tough: should be expressing. Which I think's a bit harsh really & completely overrides a mother's right to bf but heyho :s

really hope it works out well for you. I'm currently having a nightmare getting head around parting with baby even for a few hours, let alone days - but mine will be a lot younger! Also depends how cooperative the daddy is...mine, for example, reckons he should be allowed to specify a certain amount of access hours per week but then take them as-and-when he wants, on a week by week basis...erm, I think not :s

good luck!

MamaChris Wed 17-Dec-08 19:29:14

a regular 2 days every week?! dad could only make the journey here (or us there) at weekends, so a regular 2 days would be each and every weekend! now I'm really scared. he'd see far more of ds than I would.

do you know does it make any difference what accommodation dad has? ds's dad has a 1 bed flat, we have 3 beds.

I found access really really hard in the first few months. hope you work it out, but I think you really need set hours. good if you stand up for what's best now, rather than give in (as we did) and try and change things a year in (as we are!)

mybumpsaboy Wed 17-Dec-08 19:43:31

don't panic hun!!!

I was scared about exactly the same thing, as my ex can pretty much ONLY do weekends...apparantly it's VERY rare for either parent to be granted every weekend because it's seen as only fair that each parent gets a share of "quality time" when the kids start school, & obv the courts like to start a pattern as it means to go on...the only one person I've heard of who had to let her ex have the little one's every weekend is my friend who is a fulltime stay-at-home mum: her xh was granted every weekend until their daughter started school (judge reckoned she got enough quality time wth her as it was), & then once little lady started school, they were put onto alternate weekends.

I've also asked about the accommodation thing (tho my flippin ex has now moved to a houe as big as mine!!) No, 'fraid it makes no difference unless he really has nowhere appropriate to put's the same as with benefits: a lounge with a comfy sofa/sofabed actually counts as another "room", however daft that seems, and the standard view is that if there's no threat to kids' welfare, time with dad on a sofa bed is better than no time with a palace at home.

Again...good luck!!! & don't get worried by anything Iv said - just thought it might be helpful to pass on what my legal rep. said, but remember you might be able to get v different advice elsewhere from a sol who saw things the way you wanted....& mediation often gives waaay more satisfactory results than I'm gonna end up with!


MamaChris Wed 17-Dec-08 20:01:30

phew. thanks. every other weekend would be ok, I think, in a couple of years. for now, 1 day each weekend is what we're trying to get dad to agree to.

am talking to a solicitor tomorrow, so your detail has given me useful questions to ask. I'd be happy to take things to mediation, but not sure ds's dad would agree.

why are things going to be so difficult for you - did mediation not work? (don't feel you have to answer this if too personal!)

Swedes Wed 17-Dec-08 20:07:35

It is worth remembering that children who have a relationship with their biological fathers fare much better than children who do not. It really is in the child's best interests for him to have a good relationship with his father. Good luck.

mybumpsaboy Wed 17-Dec-08 20:10:01

well believe it or not my little bundle hasnt even arrived yet (due v v v soon) & we've had major access issues very sad. I'd def be up for mediation but it's a bit hopeless because ex is one of these who "plays his cards close to his chest" & basically agrees with everything said when Im present, then goes back on it completely. Total chaos. Im still hoping it wont ever actually reach court tho if my sols can persuade his (if needs be) that im being pretty reasonable....i certainly dont want to stop him seeing the baby just not on a as-and-when basis!

Ivykaty44 Wed 17-Dec-08 20:18:47

my dd went from age 6 months for friday and saturday nights, this went up at some stage (not sure when to three nights at a weekend)

It was regular every other weekend contact and that was that. It was bad enough her coming back on a monday competly recked some week/e where worse as he would just completly change her routine. No way I would do it on an adhoc basis and I dod belive the courts like an every other week/e system, with a possible eve in mid week.

Offer what you feel is right for the child and as long as it is reasnable he will have to get it changed - if he can. if you have been reasnable though it will be an uphill battle for him.

MamaChris Thu 18-Dec-08 20:57:15

really hope things work out for you mybumps. how soon are you due?
I spoke to a solicitor today who said they try hard to get you to agree to mediation, keeping court as a last resort. I'm prepared to give it a go for us, but don't think dad will agree. will try to talk to him again this weekend.

agree with ivy, regular fixed contact must be the way to go. particularly with a new baby, you need contact times to be predictable.

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