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Splitting dcs in divorce?

(56 Posts)
thisidid Fri 28-Sep-12 19:54:37

I would appreciate some views on how I should deal with DH's and my probable separation. To cut a long story short, we have two DDs, one 5yrs and one 12 weeks old. I had an affair about a year ago, which DH has recently found out about. This has devastated him and destroyed his self esteem. I am about to lose the love of my life and I am appalled at what a fool I have been. It isn't over - yet - but I think the end is increasingly likely.

We have discussed separating but neither of us wants to be without our children. Understandably, he does not want to be the one to leave as he will lose everything. DH adores DD1, as do I. He is a wonderful father to her and has played a prominent role in her care, as I am the main breadwinner. However, DH has so far not bonded strongly with DD2 (although she is his - we did a DNA test to confirm - I knew anyway but he wanted the proof).

The main reason DH is even contemplating staying with me atm is because of DD1. I want our family to stay together more than anything else, but I have to accept that staying with DH will probably continue to ruin his self-esteem. I need to consider how to make a potential split amicable and bearable for us both, if it is really what he wants to do.

If I told him he could have main custody of DD1 and I kept DD2, what would that be like for our DDs? DD2 is so young that they haven't yet built up a strong sibling bond. The thought of not seeing DD1 every day is unbearable, I am sitting here crying as I type this, but it would help DH to move on and I feel that it is my fault we are in this position, so it is probably only fair that I take the brunt of the emotional loss.

I would ensure that I lived very close i.e. in the same town as DH and DD1 and that I saw her every couple of days, every other weekend etc. God knows how I would be able to leave her. I can't bear the thought of it. But as my DH has said to me repeatedly over the last few days, why should he be the one to leave, when he hasn't done anything wrong?

Please give me some advice, as I really don't know what to do.

AlmostAGoldHipster Fri 28-Sep-12 19:58:30

This is your guilt talking. I think it's a really bad idea to split up siblings - they might never forgive you. Unless you are unfit to look after your children, they should stay with you and your ex can see them whenever.

slambang Fri 28-Sep-12 20:00:21

It's not what's best for dh or you that matters though, is it? It's what's best for dd1 and dd2. I can't imagine splitting them is in their best interests in the long run.

Sorry about the stuff you're dealing with.

AlmostAGoldHipster Fri 28-Sep-12 20:00:34

Sorry, pressed send too early.

Ok so you've made a mistake and it looks as if you're splitting up - that does not mean that you have to pay for this mistake every day for the rest of your life. Staying together sounds like agony for the both of you but it's easier for him to move out than it is for you and two small children. Maybe time to toughen up a little?

SaraSidle Fri 28-Sep-12 20:00:55

The courts won't split the siblings. And rightly so too.

Your DH is main care giver? Then that's usually the status quo, or at least something to bear in mind

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 28-Sep-12 20:03:26

If he is main care giver then you should move out. Why should he lose his children?

thisidid Fri 28-Sep-12 20:03:44

It isn't really clear-cut as to who is the main caregiver. For a year (2009-10) DH was main care giver to DD1 while I worked FT. These days he works PT and I work FT. I am currently on maternity leave so I am main care giver atm, although I'll be returning to work next year.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 28-Sep-12 20:04:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FriedSprout Fri 28-Sep-12 20:04:48

Sorry you find yourself in this situation. My first thought would be that separating the two girls would leave dd1 thinking " mummy has new baby, so doesn't need me anymore". Which could lead to problems with their relationship as sisters, in the future. Surely it should be whichever parent is most able to offer both girls the most stable, secure and loving home. Regardless of who is "to blame". Possibly think of ways to share parenting of both girls. No expert though, but would hate the thought of messing with their relationship as sisters.

SaraSidle Fri 28-Sep-12 20:04:58

Sounds like he has been main caregiver then.... And could continue to be

therugratref Fri 28-Sep-12 20:07:31

This happened to a friend of mine many years ago-similar situation her mother had an affair and she and her sibling were split. The psychological damage she sustained was huge, she felt totally rejected by her mother and always felt like she was second best and essentially unwanted, even though her father loved her very much and she him. It would be better to work out a shared custody arrangement and keep your children together.
Sorry you are going through this.

BigStickBIWI Fri 28-Sep-12 20:08:20

Oh dear, what a difficult position to be in.

Have you considered going to couples' counselling? (I'm assuming that your affair is now over?) Even if it can't get your relationship back on track, it will help you explore ways to separate that (emotionally) will work for you both.

I know you feel guilty. But if the affair is over, you have to try and move on from the guilt and work to create something positive anew/afresh with your husband. Assuming that he wants to, of course.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 28-Sep-12 20:09:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stellamajor Fri 28-Sep-12 20:09:19

Agree with Almost. The best interest of your DDs should be the main concern, and I don't see how splitting up siblings like this can ever be in their best interest.

And don't let your guilt over your affair influence any custody decisions. I lurked on your other thread, and felt you got a very hard time by many. You made a mistake, you are sorry, this may not be enough to fix the relationship but scarlet letters went out of fashion a long time ago.

nkf Fri 28-Sep-12 20:11:08

Don't do it. Just don't. Stop letting guilt make a decision for you. You don't really think that separating siblings is a good idea do you?

Sassybeast Fri 28-Sep-12 20:11:40

No it's an absolutely ludicrous idea. Using your CHILD as some sort of consolation for your poor husband after you have ripped your family apart ?

PropositionJoe Fri 28-Sep-12 20:14:36

Courts will never separate siblings because of the harm that it does them. It's not like sharing out the furniture. You need to share their care, so they stay together but move between your homes. Sounds as though they should be with your DH the days you work and he doesn't. Probably then with you most of the weekend as the little one is only a baby. Can you consider part time hours?

Mama1980 Fri 28-Sep-12 20:15:18

Sorry you are going through this. Courts will never split siblings and I agree it's a terrible idea. They shouldn't be denied the chance to live together and bond. I think you need to sort out a shared custody plan, if the situation regarding care is as you say then its not very clear cut as courts often use the last year as significant.(I have custody of my goddaughter the stability of the last year was taken into account when they awarded me custody not 100% sure if it works the same in other situations) But you need to think seriously about how to proceed, whether you could reduce your hours, he could increase his to create a balance? Frequent contact with the nrp is what a court would be aiming for. Don't let your guilt rule this situation though, it's not about what best for him or assuaging your guilt its about what's best for the children regardless of any actions taken by the two of you.

thisidid Fri 28-Sep-12 20:16:55

Thanks all. No DD1 should not suffer because of this.

I could possibly scale hours back to 4 days per week and DH take on more hours. I earn a lot more than him so there will always be an imbalance. Childcare would cripple us but perhaps there are ways around it (DH works mostly evenings and weekends, my hours are standard 9-5).

cleanandclothed Fri 28-Sep-12 20:22:54

Can you do this slowly and gently? I presume DD2 needs to be with you at present (are you breastfeeding?). Can you not agree shared residence if you are going to live close by?

PedanticPanda Fri 28-Sep-12 20:25:50

Why is it not an option that you move out? Why is it just either your DP, or your DP and one of your daughters?

Could couples counselling be of any help?

EverybodysCryEyed Fri 28-Sep-12 20:30:10

happened to my DH. He does not have a proper sibling relationship.

I would recommend that you try your best to live close together and have shared residence.

The most important thing is that your kids have two parents who love them and you should focus on what would be the best outcome for them.

maleview70 Fri 28-Sep-12 20:30:40

What a mess. One of you needs to care for both and as you have a 12w old it should really be you. The only way you can make things ok with hubby is to make sure you never do anything in the future to take his right as a father away from him and ensure access is frequent and not taken away. As he has been main carer he should probably have unlimited access initially.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 28-Sep-12 20:33:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 28-Sep-12 20:35:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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