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Unfair contact?

(156 Posts)
bubblybottom Mon 14-Oct-13 23:19:17

I am very unhappy with the arrangements for contact with my boys(7&8) with their dad.
He works away from home(London, home is northwest)
He picks them up every Friday night and drops off on Sunday evening.
Why am I unhappy?? Because I hear about all the fantastic things they have done, been on a steam train, buried each other in sand on the beach, camped out in the garden etc etc. I never get to do any of that with them.
I cook, clean, sort out uniform, take to school, do homework, drop off and pick up from rugby, BB and karate and put to bed. And I love doing all that. It's my job.
I don't think its unreasonable tho to ask my ex for every other weekend. Or is it?
The boys I have to say are more than happy with the arrangement, however, it's been all that they have been used to for the last 2 yrs..
It's not my fault he works in london(he manages to get time off to to his house up as and when it suits)
I am nervous to ask him
A. He has the money for solicitors, I don't
B. He has no communication skills with me
What do I do?

ballstoit Tue 15-Oct-13 07:03:06

I agree with others who suggest every other weekend, or maybe one in 3, should be spent with you.

However, when you email to 'discuss' it with ex, be sure to present why this change would be better for your sons. If it does end up in court (and if it does, self representation is an option), the court is only interested in the needs of children, not whether you miss them at weekends.

As you have another child, who is your sons sibling, that strengthens your argument for having some weekends. It's important for you to spend relaxed time as a family, and also that your boys and dd have regular time together.

I'd offer a nights midweek contact, your ex can choose whether he uses annual leave or renegotiates his work, or not. That isn't yours or your ds's responsibility.

mumsforjustice Tue 15-Oct-13 07:28:50

Switch thread into lone parents and-or legal as some of the above is unrealistic. Changing arrangements without consulting and after you agreed 2 years ago via solicitors is only going to cause conflict and will make you look like the problem if it goes to court.
So start by discussing constructively and politely with him. As suggested one weekend a month might work or maybe he can switch to time in week during hols for example? Bear in mind it maybe welcome break for him if he's working all week then spending every weekend driving hundreds of miles and being a disney dad all and every weekend!
But court will favour current arrangements as court will be reluctant to change arrangements in place and will bear in mind he lives away and so can't have mid week visits. Your kids are too young for their views to have much weight in court.
Work for your kids to have a good relationship with df. Good luck!

bubblybottom Tue 15-Oct-13 07:41:10

I really do want what's best for the boys. I see their faces when they go off on Friday night. As much as they enjoy their time with their dad, when they come back on Sunday they always want to know what we've done. If we've done something exciting they always seem to be downhearted. Look a bit left out if you know what i mean.
How do I swicth the thread to lone parents?

Chubfuddler Tue 15-Oct-13 07:51:08

There's nothing wrong with where your thread is. I'm a line parent and a lawyer and I'd say exactly the same wherever you posted.

Not having any leisure time with their half and step siblings is hardly ideal. And contact arrangements need to be fluid, what works at one stage doesn't at another. You're not in the wrong op.

fortyplus Tue 15-Oct-13 07:56:38

I think email him and start with some flattery... say how lucky your boys are to have such a wonderful relationship with their dad. Then maybe move on to the fact that you would like some weekend time with them and that this would give your ex some leisure time to himself.

Something I wondered - what happens in the holidays? Do you still have them all week? Why not suggest that your ex could have more weekday holiday time with them if he likes? That would even things up a bit.

Although he sounds like a bit of a dick I do think it's good that he's so hands-on at weekends, wanting to give the boys fun times.

JumpingJackSprat Tue 15-Oct-13 08:02:13

id say that one weekend a month would be fair - yes you are doing all the hard work but you get all the school holidays and you get to see them almost every day - my dp sees his son every other weekend aside from holidays because his mum moved away - and its simply not enough for dp or dss. its very very difficult for them both. talk to him but its not fair on your kids to suddenly halve their time with their dad because you miss them.

bubblybottom Tue 15-Oct-13 08:07:48

Memory making? Their memory of me will be rushing them from one place to the next?
I found his camera in their rugby kitbag last week and it is all of the boys having fun.

bubblybottom Tue 15-Oct-13 08:16:05

I don't get all the school holidays. I also have to work albeit part time. I struggle to get the kids looked after at the best of times. If the summer hols are 6 weeks he has them for a few days of poss 2 of the weeks. My mum 73 helps out as necessary to help me out. His mum won't consider helping. I have tried to tell him that she would be helping HIM not me. The KIDS not me. I happy to have the kids all of the holidays. They are my kids fgs! But I do need to work. I said to help him out I could drop the kids at his mums house, but she sees it as helping ME out.

heidiwine Tue 15-Oct-13 08:51:35

So, if I'm reading this correctly your ex works all week in London and every weekend he comes back to the NW to spend quality time with his children. He doesn't have them at all during the holidays (13 weeks, 25% of the year).
I would suggest you ask to have the children one weekend a month in exchange for him having them for 2 full weeks during the holidays.
I would also suggest that you get him to help with homework and any other reasonable 'grunt work'.
It's really good that your boys have good/positive contact with their dad - they will hopefully be more secure as adults than they might have been if they didn't. Please keep that in mind when you email/text him. It will help you to be more constructive.
Good luck

Wheatus Tue 15-Oct-13 09:09:35

Your boys like going, are happy and have fun.

This contact has been in place for two years.

What happens if you change it and they are unhappy about it?

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Tue 15-Oct-13 09:17:56

It was agreed through our solicitors when we split. It was just that, an agreement. He wanted them for half the school holidays(which doesn't happen). He was going to pay half of the extra curricular activities(which doesn't happen) and every weekend.

As far as I can see from this agreement he is picking and choosing which bits he has agreed to. As he does not take them for half the school holidays, does not stump up for half the extra curricular activities then I would quite reasonably say the agreement was not working.

He appears to only want to do the fun stuff with them to make out he is some fun dad. I wonder how many weekends he would have them when the homework kicks in and it has to be done by Monday morning. Might be a bit naughty but what if you got your boys teachers to ask them to do their homework by Monday. Then when he comes on Friday have all their books packed with instructions for dad to sit and do it with them.

Jux Tue 15-Oct-13 09:20:48

See if you can get a free half hour with a solicitor, to get an unbiased view and to find out what would be considered reasonable.

It does seem terribly unfair as it is. I'd ask him for eow as any change you ask for is quite likely to piss him off, so might as well get it over with. How old are the children? They may be old enough to decide what they want for themselves.

bubblybottom Tue 15-Oct-13 16:11:43

Had a bit of a weep at work this morning. Work for my dad and my sister also works there. Dad(who is much more level headed than me and much less emotional!)is going to compose an email. Mum and dad are very supportive and fully aware that he is awkward and governed by money. Money is his god!

mumsforjustice Tue 15-Oct-13 19:40:03

Sounds like you are experiencing the familiar disneydad phenomena! But if your boys are happy don't let your (probably justified annoyance) spoil it.
But yes if your dads level headed then he could be good go-between and much better than legal process.

ballstoit Tue 15-Oct-13 21:51:00

If he is money orientated, it may be worth agreeing that he still gets 2 nights a week worth of reduction in child maintenance when the new arrangements are made. wink

bubblybottom Wed 16-Oct-13 00:16:30

Thank you so much for all your support. Most of what you all say is obvious. HE however is just so unpredictable. What I say in my email will determine the tone of his reply, so my email and it's contents are paramount.
Thank you for you replies tho ladies.
I will keep you posted xxx

bubblybottom Wed 16-Oct-13 07:43:13

Ballstoit. Child maintenance isn't thru the CSA. It's a private arrangement. He didn't want me to go thru them as I would probably have got 3 times as much for the boys as I do now! It isn't about the money AFAIC. He worked it out on the basis that he earns a 'normal' wage when in fact he earns 10x that.
He will probably threaten to cut payments etc etc, but I'm not arsed about that. It's about the boys.
He has on occasion, cancelled at the last minute for the weekend saying he has to work and it's very important, and when that happens, the boys are chuffed to be spending the weekend with us.
It's something that would very quickly become normal to them.

Chubfuddler Wed 16-Oct-13 09:29:05

Even if you've got a consent order re maintenance either of you can go to the CSA after a year. If it isn't fair change it. It's not up to him.

Chubfuddler Wed 16-Oct-13 09:29:59

And if someone's declared income doesn't chime with their lifestyle the CSA can investigate.

Lweji Wed 16-Oct-13 09:59:38

You should check the CSA calculator and work out how much you are owed. It isn't about money to you, but to your children.
It's about providing them with a better lifestyle.
And having at least one weekend a month with you it's also about them spending quality time with their day to day family.

perfectstorm Wed 16-Oct-13 11:54:07

So he gets them every single weekend, and pays peanuts for their upkeep while you do every scrap of the donkey work?

I seriously think you need to shift this situation. It's all to his benefit - not the children's, actually, let alone yours.

Child support is for the children, as has been said. It isn't for the adults. If he's not paying enough to care for them as they could be cared for, then he's depriving them. I think the CSA is a very good idea, as is at least 1 and preferably 2 weekends a month. He can certainly make up the shortfall in time by actually using the half holidays he's entitled to spend with them, rather than using you as free childcare in that time.

Jux Wed 16-Oct-13 13:44:13

Just think of the fun you can have together as a family - all the children, your dp and you altogether - every other w/e.

Think how more a part of it all they will feel if they are spending quality, fun time with all of you.

Think of how much easier things would be if he were taking them for half the holidays. How much easier things would be if you were getting a fair amount of money.

Think how much your relationship with them will improve if you have fun time and work time with them.

Think of the example they are getting of what dads do and what mums do, setting their future expectations of their roles when they themselves become adults.

bubblybottom Wed 16-Oct-13 19:53:52

I get £800 per calendar month to support the boys so don't think I need anymore!

Firstly you should know that I am not seeking any additional financial support from you for the boys. My present circumstances and part time job means I can manage on a day to day basis.
What I would like is some more weekend time with the boys. I realise that the agreement between us does say,
“The children shall live with Mum, and Dad shall have contact each weekend as agreed and share holiday time.”
As things stand at the moment I feel that I am doing all the heavy stuff (washing, ironing cooking etc.). I realise that like all, or at least most mothers, most of this is down to me and I am not complaining about it. Can we come to some arrangement whereby I have the boys occasionally at weekends, either whole or even part weekends. The boys really enjoy BB and I feel they would benefit from attending BB parade once a month for instance. Can I suggest that I have them for the parade weekends and perhaps one or two part weekends.
School holidays will present a problem for some time to come. Like you I cannot take extended time off work. Can we come to some better arrangement than the ad hoc arrangement in place at the moment. There are about 12 weeks each year that need to be covered and the sharing is not really equal at present. My mum and dad help out but clearly I can’t ask them to cover for more outside my 6 week share, just as I would not expect your mum and dad to cover for me. I can, for instance, help you out by dropping the boys off at your mum’s for the day if you are not able to get time off work. This is to help you out not me.
I would be interested to hear your views and hope we can come to some agreement on this. I am open to suggestions. I don’t want to get legal or involve the CSA. Whilst I can manage financially I don’t have money to line a solicitor’s pocket.

How's that? I reckon I don't want 'part' weekends tho tbh x

Jux Wed 16-Oct-13 20:32:35

That is desperately apologetic as if you are asking him to do you a favour. You are not.

You may not need the extra money, but check out how much you could get to get an idea of how much of a favour you might be doing him by not asking for it. (And if you got more, you could put it in a savings account for the boys, couldn't you?)

Chubfuddler Wed 16-Oct-13 20:36:54

I agree with jux. Why are you so craven with him? There is no reason why you shouldn't complain about doing all the crap while he plays uncle dad.

Be more assertive.

I'd be interested to know why the marriage broke down in the first place but I can probably guess.

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