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Shared access/custody....unhappy..please advise....

(20 Posts)
Charl75 Mon 31-Aug-09 19:35:48

My husband left me 3 months ago and I have previously posted for advice.

Today he told me he is ready to settle down and buy/rent his own place. At the moment he is visiting DS for an hour or two each night which we both agree is unsustainable.

He has indicated that he wants shared custody (not sure if right term) in that he wants 16m old DS to have overnight stays and have him for half of the week - either in a block or specific days.

I work full time and have no choice but to do so. It was not my choice to seperate and it's bad enough not spending time with DS because of work. I'm so upset that now I will have even less time with him.

Am I being unreasonable/selfish or should younger children spend more time with their mothers. What is the legal take on things?

I will do what's best for DS but my heart will break.....

Niceguy2 Mon 31-Aug-09 20:31:35

>>>Am I being unreasonable/selfish or should younger children spend more time with their mothers.<<<

Why? Just because you are a woman doesn't give you the automatic right to more time.

>>>What is the legal take on things?<<<

The legal take is if you can both agree on a schedule then its fine. If not then you engage solicitors, they charge you to write snottograms to each other. Then CAFCASS get involved and ultimately a judge then decides. This will cost thousands (unless you are on legal aid) and will take months if not years.

I split from my ex when my son was about the same age as yours. My daughter was older. From experience I would say that a shared arrangement can work if you are both committed and can communicate well with each other.

How will childcare work whilst you are both at work? Who will pay? Will it be a case of he pays on his days, you pay on yours?

If you want whats best for your son and your ex is a decent parent then a shared arrangement is a good idea. It also gives you time to rebuild your own life too.

Charl75 Mon 31-Aug-09 21:38:27

An amicable agreement sounds best. Hope something can be sorted

Cost of childcare? I pay for everything at the moment - childcare, food, nappies, clothes so need to sort something out.

mamas12 Mon 31-Aug-09 22:04:16

Ultimately you have to be happy with the arrangement though.
If you feel you don't get enough weekend time then you need to stick up for yourself and lo.
My ex wanted 3 weekends out of 4 and all holidays!
He has them 2 weekends out of 3 and 2 out of 3 half terms and the holidays are halved.
Didn't like this summer as he decided that his 3 weeks were to be concurrent right slap bang in the middle of six weeks off, meaning I had a week and a half at the beginning and same just before going back to school.

Charl75 Mon 31-Aug-09 22:52:18

FFS - it's so hard

Niceguy2 Tue 01-Sep-09 11:36:17

It is hard but trust me this is only the beginning. If your ex is playing a significant role in your son's life (and its great he wants to) then naturally you will have differences of opinions over the next 18 years.

My advice is to suggest that time is built up over time rather than Bang! here you go, half a week. This gives you both and more importantly your son to get used to the routine. You may find your ex doesn't like the reality.

Besides which your son is young so chances are that any agreement you make now is going to change anyway as jobs, schools etc change your lives.

Mamma's right in that you need to stick up for what you want. In situations like this compromise is the key word. I would say a good arrangement is one which you can both live with rather than one where you get everything or vice versa.

Longer term choose your battles wisely. No point in fighting every little battle. Save your energy for ones that truly matter.

Good luck

aprilflowers Tue 01-Sep-09 22:30:12

I think you need good legal advice.

If you have the majority of the care now and your son is so young you could argue it is in your sons best interests to be the primary care giver with agreed regular contact with his father. - that was the advice I was given

You need legal advice before you agree to any change in arrangements - you may agree to a set up thats hard to change.

I think you can get the first hour free - get a good soliciter as it is money so well spent.
Once you have all the facts then you can both start to work out access.

Good luck

Charl75 Mon 07-Sep-09 21:52:45

Thanks so much for all your advice....

mrsmortenharket Tue 08-Sep-09 10:19:38

aprilflowers is right, you can get the first appointment free, though i'm not sure if it's for half hour or an hour, so my advice would be to have a good think about what you want to ask them - i think it might be good idea to write down a list of questions and things you want to discuss, that way you can get the most out the time you do get. if you feel that the solicitor hasn't listened, change sols until you feel that you have found one that will work in your best interests and those of your lo.

tbh, he seems to be having it all his way atm.

good luck sweetheart, tho am sure you will be fine xxxx

friendlyfox Sun 27-Sep-09 21:18:10

<<Just because you are a woman doesn't give you the automatic right to more time.>>

Of course it does. You sound like a lovely, considerate father Niceguy, but I'm afraid the mother of your children does have a right to more time. You simply have no idea about the strength of bond that exists between a mother and child who has gone through pregnancy, childbirth and (when possible) breastfeeding.

I'll be shouted down, but I can't believe that many women, despite still being hugely disadvantaged by millennia of patriarchal oppression, sign up to the belief that fathers have equal rights. They do have rights, but maternal rights are greater. This is one of the few bonuses of our biology, and should be fought for. I'm wholly against 50-50 residency because from my experience, it pains the mother far more to be separated from her children half the week than it does a father.

Charl - you should get 70% of time with your children. You just should
We live in a society where most rapists get off scot free, and our daughters are exposed to Page 3, Big Brother and a whole host of misogyny disguised as entertainment. And yet mumsnet regularly pushes the 50-50 access myth.

I

pithyslicker Sun 27-Sep-09 22:53:37

Friendlyfox-
I'm sure many women would agree with you. But whether they'll openly admit it is another thing.

recoveringmuppet Sun 27-Sep-09 23:05:50

Well said friendlyfox. I agree 100% with you...

Madascheese Mon 28-Sep-09 06:35:36

Hi Charl

Sorry you're going through this.

Firstly, as far as the courts are concerned, shared residency is the desired situation for children provided there are no welfare issues. that DOES NOT mean automatically 50% of the time with each parent. Shared res. means both parents share equal responsiblity for the child/ren.

Shared residency is a different thing to 50/50 access.

You would then (potentially) work out what the contact arrangements would be. I don't think regular overnights (where they have not been in place already) would be automatic for a 16 month old. the 'normal' arrangements seem to be alternate weekends, half the 'holidays' and a visit/overnight during the week.

Try not to worry, CAFCASS and The Court do respect that Mum has a right to quality time with their children as well and they don't usually count time at work/school/playgroup as quality time.

Take out the working time and then start calculating 50% of the time left, you might feel more happy with that. It doesn't matter what your ex says about 'you have him all the time' the court will not see it the same way and despite what certain newspapers say, it is FINE for single Mums to go out to work to support their children...

Good luck
xMad

AllThreeWays Mon 28-Sep-09 06:52:21

*Friendly Fox* One woman here who loves my half a week off, and know my son is happy and well cared for in him other home.

50/50 works for me, but I know it doesn't work for everyone. All circumstances are unique but where possible I do believe each parent is an equal co parent.

nooka Mon 28-Sep-09 06:52:53

I agree with NiceGuy, and I am a woman, and I have had two years with a 50:50 shared care set up. I think it can work very well, and if you are both able to flex your work at all your child can actually spend more time with his/her parents, so they can get a direct benefit too. I don't think that I found not having the children any harder than their father did, and I really don't believe I have any special status in their hearts because I am female. They love both me and their dad, in the same way that I love both of them, just as much, but differently.

In this case, as with all arrangements it is up to the parents to work out together the patterns that they can, all three of them cope with. Seems like your ex wants to sustain a good hands on relationship with his son, which is great and definitely something to build on, but clearly you have lots to sort out in terms of how you take things forwards. One thing to avoid is being too rigid, if you can take things slowly without suggesting to your ex that that's how it will be forever or that you will fight him about access then that's a good way to go I think.

AllThreeWays Mon 28-Sep-09 06:53:04

^his not him

Snorbs Mon 28-Sep-09 11:23:52

"I'm wholly against 50-50 residency because from my experience, it pains the mother far more to be separated from her children half the week than it does a father."

Child residence / contact is supposed to be about what's best for the child, not the parents.

cestlavielife Mon 28-Sep-09 12:41:45

wow i would love it if i could hand over the children for weekends, overnights etc and know they were fine - in our case there are welfare issues and it isnt possible.

as snorbs said, it is about the child and the mother should be able to let go a little .

the mothers pain at being seprated is something she msut learn to deal with - otherwise a mother would never send her kids to school or anywhere...

mmrred Mon 28-Sep-09 21:03:55

"We live in a society where most rapists get off scot free, and our daughters are exposed to Page 3, Big Brother and a whole host of misogyny disguised as entertainment. And yet mumsnet regularly pushes the 50-50 access myth."

Am I being really dim? 'Cos I'm not getting the link, here.

We also live in a society where children in single parent families do worse in every indicator of welfare and happiness and where the involvement of the father lessens the odds on all kinds of horrendous things happening, including sexual abuse.

As others have pointed out, children have the rights, including the right to a loving relationship with BOTH parents.

Charl, just be wary of solicitors, who can encourage you get into conflict with your ex. I absolutely understand you feeling that your heart will break, but look at it this way, when DC is enjoying quality time with Daddy, you can do all the boring stuff like washing and ironing and cleaning etc etc etc so your time with DC can be all fun. It really doesn't have to be totally negative.

nooka Tue 29-Sep-09 02:05:00

We worked things out like that mrred, plus we also did much longer hours, nights out, hobbies, study etc on our non-children days. The only downside is that now we are back together we think the children should be more helpful, whereas they've got a bit used to the idea that things just happen when they aren't noticing!

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