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my ex huband wants his girlfriend to care for dd to make arrangement more 50/50 i really need advice

(62 Posts)
princessdaisyboo Thu 23-Jul-09 09:17:00

we have been seperated for just over 2 years and have always tried to split custody as fairly as possible, our 3.5dd sleeps at his house 3 or 4 nights a week alternating, his sets nights are wed, thurs,fri each week, and alternating sat night. DD attends nursery mon, wed, fri 9-3 and we each pay half. I am currently on maternity(have DS from new relationship) leave but am going to stay off work for an extra year so i can continue looking after my children myself as dd only starts school 2010.

Therefore ex collects dd from me on wed evening on way home from work then drops her back off with me on thurs morn and collects her again on thurs evening. on fri again he drops her with me to take her to nursery then i collect her at 3 and she is with me until he finishes work.

His girlfriend is now on maternity leave as they have a 3 week old baby and what ex is proposing is that she will collect dd from nursery on a wed, have her all day thurs and then again take her and collect her from nursery on a friday, he says that this will give her more structure.

I have said no to this, he was furious. The arrangement is between him and me not his girlfriend (who i dont have a problem with at all) but why would i agree to someone else caring for my child when i am not at work for the sole reason to care for dd myself.

we did not have any custody agreed when we divorced as i thought we were able to sort it amicably between ourselves, but now the divorce and settlement has been done i feel like he is trying to bully me into this.

he text me at 10pm last night saying dd will be staying here tomorrow with girlfriend so i wont be dropping her of. i rang him and said i had made plans for today (which i have) and he cant just text me so late he day before. I am as flexible as possible but i dont want to agree to this, and think im going to have to get some legal advice???????

sorry its so long and complicated

BonsoirAnna Thu 23-Jul-09 09:19:43

YANBU. There is no good reason at all for your DD's stepmother taking care of your DD when you, her mother, are available and willing to take care of her.

allaboutme Thu 23-Jul-09 09:24:38

It does sound like he is making a bit of a point rather than anything else.
He's insisting on having your DD there all day depsite the fact that he wont be there and his GF will be doing all the childcare plus with a 3 week old baby to care for!

I'd go and collect her from the GF once he is at work. Just tell her you've got plans at stated to ex H and you are here to collect DD. She'll probably be grateful of the chance to have a more restful day with a newborn only!

Tell exH that he cant just decide on care arrangements himself at the last minte. It must be a joint decision based on whats best for DD. Spending the day with neither parent and stuck in the house with a newborn and over tired new Mum doesnt sound like the best thing for DD to me!
If he cant and wont agree then maybe it would be best to get legal advice and proceed with making arrangements more formal.

TurtleAnn Thu 23-Jul-09 09:25:36

This sounds like it is going to get complicated very quickly. I remember when my parents divorced there were endless rows (in the front garden - too humiliating!) about where me and my sisters were going to stay for the night. It was awful and my sisters were only little (but they remember).
Now I am an adult I can see it would have been better to get formal custody arrangements made earlier.
It is important for your kids (all of them) to remain out of any arguments and since you don't have any difficulties with current girlfriend, sorting things out formally will help to maintain this in the long term rather than cause problems, although I can see the suggestion of formal custody arrangements will likely cause short-term disagreement.
Good luck, I don't think there are any easy answers, but giving in this time only leaves you open to further problems in the future

FabBakerGirlIsBack Thu 23-Jul-09 09:27:09

I would do whatallabout me has said and just go and get your daughter.

Tell your ex you can go down the legal route if he wants to start throwing his weight around and getting arsey.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Thu 23-Jul-09 09:28:00

And it isn't 50/50 if he isn't there.

BonsoirAnna Thu 23-Jul-09 09:28:22

TBH, if you are a SAHM and your exH is WOH, I am not sure that a 50:50 residency arrangement like the one you describe is really in your DD's best interests, especially as she is still very little.

Could she not spend more time at your house during the week, and perhaps go to your exH's a bit more at weekends ie every 1st, 3rd and 5th (when there is one) weekend in the month, keeping the 2nd and 4th weekends in the month at your house?

amisuchabadmummy Thu 23-Jul-09 09:28:22

agree totally with what allaboutme said.

I cant believe the GF would want to look after a toddler AND a new baby anyway !

BonsoirAnna Thu 23-Jul-09 09:29:19

Is it about money/maintenance payments?

hercules1 Thu 23-Jul-09 09:32:05

ALl seems a bit odd. No way would I be happy handing my dd over to her when I could have her myself.

Katz Thu 23-Jul-09 09:33:03

is it possible that he is wanting to have her more to allow her to bond with her new sibling? like she is with your son?

silverfrog Thu 23-Jul-09 09:59:59

agree with katz, maybe he is trying to help her settle into both her new families.

You have said that you have no problem with his girlfriend, so there is no single problem with her looking after your dd? (as in you are comfortable that she is capable, your dd is happy, etc)

In stepfamilies, sometimes the birth parent is not there. I have looked after my stepchildren on my own form time to time. when they come to stay with us in school holidays, dh cannot take all the time off, so they are with me during the day. maybe your dh is thinking of easing into this type of arrangemnet? it is, after all, what happens in "normal" families. it should not be the case that your dd goes to her father only when he is not at work - this is not a tenable situation longer term, and does not help with the idea that she now has 2 families.

I also think all the to-ing and fro-ing with handovers during your exes time can't be easy for your dd - surely it would be easier for her to know that from X time on a weds until X time on a Fri she is at her dads? rather than going backwards and forwards with where she is. and it would let her spend some good time with her new sibling too.

silverfrog Thu 23-Jul-09 10:01:20

btw, absolutely agree that si is not on for him to change plans last minute. that doesn't help anyone either, and he cannot just decide something and then text you to let you know it is happening.

edam Thu 23-Jul-09 10:04:42

Agree with you, princessdaisy, seems bizarre that your ex thinks dd should be with his girlfriend when her own mother is at home and willing and able to take care of her. If he was at home himself, clearly she should be with him during his contact time. But as he's at work, seems to me he is just making a big point of 'this is MY slot' even though he's not there. Which is hardly in dd's interest!

Also, are you sure his girlfriend is that keen to have a 3.5yo to look after as well as a 3 week old baby?

jellybeans Thu 23-Jul-09 10:05:59

I would just pick her up and have your house (if you are the primary carer/SAHM) as her home and her staying with dad a couple of nights a week. (Wouldn't the courts give something like this anyway? Every other weekend or something) May not be popular, but I don't think 50/50 is best for a child, they need one home. Just my view and obviously it's up to each family.

FiveGoMadInDorset Thu 23-Jul-09 10:06:23

I am going to go against the grain and going to say that that sounds better, she has just got 2 new babies in her life and the dropping off and picking up arrangements just sound confusing and unsettling.

CyradisTheSeer Thu 23-Jul-09 10:13:14

Message withdrawn

wannaBe Thu 23-Jul-09 10:26:27

I do think yabu a bit tbh.

While I can see that you would want your dd with you during the day while you are at home, the point your ex has made about staying at his house giving her more structure is a very valid one.

And your ex's new gf is a part of your dd's life now whether you like that or not, in the same way your new dp is a part of her life - they are her step parents. How would you feel if your ex suddenly started to say that he would collect your dd every time you weren't in the house because he doesn't want your dp looking after her?

She has a sibling she needs to build a relationship with. She's not going to get the chance to do that if all she's allowed to do at ex's house is sleep.

BonsoirAnna Thu 23-Jul-09 13:04:51

The OP's DD will be able to build a relationship with her new half-sibling without spending two whole days a week with her stepmother and new half-sibling in addition to evenings and weekends.

I know because we have done it in our family smile. My DSSs and my DD love and adore one another and have an excellent relationship (and always have done) despite not really spending much time together.

princessdaisyboo Thu 23-Jul-09 13:22:22

thanks everyone for taking the time to have a think about this , i collected dd this morning from my ex's partner, i dont mind her looking after dd while my ex is at work, i do think she is capable and dd does enjoy being there but im not willing to make it a permanent arrangment what are they going to suggest when she goes back to work?

i would like to get rid of the tooing an frowing in the week for dd but im not comfortable in agreeing to not see my daughter from every wed aft until sat am or sun pm each week.
i would like to suggest she is here more in the week and at his at alternate weekends but there is no way he would agree to this, he is obsessed with trying to make it 50/50.

he does not pay maintenance as i receive all the child benefit, so i provide all clothes and shoes, we both pay half of her nursery fees but he did threaten last night that he would stop paying them because his girlfriend is at home so there is not need for her to go to nursery. (she loves nursery and is starting pre school in sept)

think legal advice is best way forward, the current agreement has worked well so far but i agree that this 50/50 may not be best for dd anymore.

edam Thu 23-Jul-09 14:18:49

I'm always suspicious of 50:50 tbh. Think it is more about the parents (or one of them) trying to split the child in half than about the needs of that child.

Can't see how it is good to be shunted around different homes to such an extent. Speaking as the child of divorced parents I would have hated the instability and having to have two of everything or cart lots of bags around all the time.

Children need to know where they live. I was not exactly happy but far happier having my main home with my mother and having a bedroom at my father's. My mother says the first questions we asked when we were told about the divorce were: 'Where will we live? Will we still go to the same school?'

OK, this is only my experience BUT this whole idea of children moving between homes every two or three days is very new - have we yet had any children who have grown up under these circs reach adulthood and report whether it was a good thing or a bad thing?

BonsoirAnna Thu 23-Jul-09 14:39:24

edam - I think you are going to have to get used to shared residency (which doesn't always mean precisely 50:50 btw) as it is the general trend these days in most developed countries!

My DSSs do 50:50 between their mother's house and our house and it works very well. Of course, they were already of school age when their parents separated, and I didn't ever do much day time sole care of them (though it is absolutely fine when it does happen). Their mother works almost full-time and is often away, but they would never ever spend the day with me if their mother were available and wanted them, and DP couldn't be at home with me, even if it was "our" day. That would be a bit silly.

I really think the issue here is that the OP's DD is very small and her carer of choice during the day ought to be her own parent, if available. The OP is available and wants to spend the day with her DD.

Trikken Thu 23-Jul-09 14:53:41

my parents did the 50/50 thing with me and my sisters, we were older but i personally found it very hard to deal with as you were always coming and going and couldnt really settle anywhere.
I resented my parents for doing that,and ended up living at one parent's house most of the time as i couldnt deal with all the moving about.

a few days at each is better really, at least you know where you are going to be and you have a few days without chopping and changing.

nappyaddict Thu 23-Jul-09 14:55:32

If she attends nursery mon, wed and fri would it not make more sense for his days to be mon night, wed night and fri night. She doesn't finish til 3 anyway so presumably you only have her for a couple of hours before he picks her up. Would it really make that much difference for his GF to have her for those couple of hours instead? Then he could drop her off the next morning and you get the whole day with her and take her to nursery the following morning.

BonsoirAnna Thu 23-Jul-09 15:02:16

nappyaddict - that's not a good idea as the poor child will be spending alternate nights in different houses (and that is never recommended, as it is supposed to be very disturbing for the child).

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