Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

I want to give custody to my ex husband

(201 Posts)
TryingToStaySane2 Sun 25-Oct-15 10:49:19

My ex husband (British) lives in the US.
My two children are at boarding school in the UK. I live and work in London.

My children are teenagers and I am struggling with the single parent role. To the point where last weekend ex h sent me a text telling me I was a bad mother. I have been mulling it over for some time. And whilst the children seem to be unhappy with me, (I cant compete with the glamorous American lifestyle and fun they have with Daddy, pizzas, and fizzy drinks...heaven!) I have been unhappy for some time, and my ex h texting me telling me I am a bad useless mother doesn't help.

I want to pack it all in. They can live with him, he can do the "real" parenting. Washing clothes, arguing over whether they need to wear a coat or smart shoes, or get a haircut. He can juggle dentist, orthodonist, trips, meeting up with friends, collecting them from parties. I work too, and I fit it in.

I am in a job I don't enjoy. It just washes it's face in terms of paying my bills. But I now want to live for me, I am mid 40's, have a good figure, and want to go and LIVE a little, before my health goes and before I realise my life is almost over.

I want out of this negative bubble I am in. The 3 elements of my life, are all unhappy with me.

I need time out.

So I rent my place in London and it pays for me to travel and just sort out my head.

HOW do I start the custody process. I dont want to spend money on legal fees. I will just hand them over to ex h.

No doubt people will judge but my parents, my sister and my 2 best friends can see that I do the best I can for my children and it is never enough. They are all supporting me on a daily basis to break free and get out.

Help please with how to start this...and I would be interested to hear from any other mums who may have done this? I do believe that within a few years they will be back with me, but I have to let them go for them to realise this...

pocketsaviour Sun 25-Oct-15 10:53:20

How old are your children? Have they said they want to live with their dad?

Honestly I don't mean this to sound harsh, but I'm struggling to see, if they are in boarding school, how much single parenting you're doing. Unless they come home every weekend?

Arfarfanarf Sun 25-Oct-15 10:57:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lexigrey Sun 25-Oct-15 10:57:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

antimatter Sun 25-Oct-15 10:58:08

How do you know they will be back with you?
If you know how to predict future please do let us know.

Penfold007 Sun 25-Oct-15 11:03:27

Would they want to go and would ExH be prepared to take them full-time?

Patchworkrainbow123 Sun 25-Oct-15 11:06:17

I think you need to stop thinking about you and start thinking about the kids. If your kids would definitely be better of with your EXH then you should go for it. However make sure you think things through completely. It seems that a lot of things are contributing to your unhappiness and not just the children. Giving custody to your EXH will dealt with one aspect of your unhappiness but you may still be stuck in a job you hate.

It seems from your post that you think the grass will be greener when in reality you may just be swapping one set of problems for another. How are you going to feel if one of your children get ill and you can't be there? Can you afford to regularly fly them across to the UK for holidays or afford for you to go there for holidays?

I'm unsure what your figure has to do with any of this?? I believe fathers can bring up children just as well as mothers however handing over custody has to be done with the notion that it is the best thing for THEM not just for you.

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Sun 25-Oct-15 11:08:14

If they're at boarding school then you only ever spend a few weeks with your children at a time. That's not a major amount of juggling but I can see that it must be difficult when you're working full-time during those periods.

Instead of having the "handing them over" conversation with your ex, how about a "next school holiday they come to you for the duration" one instead? IF the children are keener to spend their holidays in the US than here with you, they might be the ones to broach it rather than you appearing to totally abandon them so you can get on with your life without them.

zipzap Sun 25-Oct-15 11:08:47

I don't know how to go about doing this but just wanted to send flowers cake wine because it sounds like you are having a really hard time of things and you deserve a break.

I think what you want to do is incredibly brave as society tends to judge women for thinking that the father should take custody because she is having a hard time of it - you're expected to put up, shut up and take it all. Which is so wrong when men get to waltz off and pass judgement from the sidelines with no idea of the hardships you're enduring.

Take care of yourself, tell your children that you love them and it's because you love them that you want them to experience daily life with their dad and for you to have a chance to be the 'fun' parent and I'm sure that you'll all be much happier a few years down the line.

I'm sure that there are a lot of women that would love to do what you are contemplating - and a hell of a lot of men that are really happy to be passing snidey judgements from the sidelines and pretending that they would be so much better if they were the resident parent but actually very relieved that they just get to swoop in and do the fun bits and would be horrified if they thought they had to be the resident parent. As I'm sure that your dh will be - but that's besides the point.

(And yes, I know that there are also lots of men who would love to be more involved - just saying that that there are also lots that are very happy to have a found a status quo that works heavily in their favour!)

Good luck...

TryingToStaySane2 Sun 25-Oct-15 11:09:44

The children don't really speak. (to me). I often find them face-timing Daddy and laughing with him. They don't laugh with me.

I am completely worn out. They are with me every weekend and most of the holidays.

I love them more than they know but I am unable to work with them. I do believe they will come back to me, and no I am not predicting the future, Gosh reading that hurt me like you wouldn't believe. I believe they will come back because it's only when we get older and live away from home that we realise what our mothers did for us. Unless they are drunken abusive whores, which I am not. So please if you have anything horrible to say, don't say it to me.

They may be boarding but there are still issues to deal with from housemistress/masters during the week. Things they have forgotten that need couriered to school.

I just want to be free. I want to walk away.

TryingToStaySane2 Sun 25-Oct-15 11:13:12

Money isn't really a problem...
I wouldnt let them live with him if I was on the breadline. I can afford to go and see them.
I intend the leave my job asap. I will rent out my place and go and be fre.
I want to go and travel and be myself whilst I have the ability to do it.

NaughtToThreeSadOnions Sun 25-Oct-15 11:14:16

Humm your kids are at boarding school that's already a I don't want you in children's eyes. Now you want to send them to a different country, because you want time out?! Have I got that right?!
Maybe your having arguements with the kids when their home because they don't feel like they have your attention.
The job seems to be the problem you said yourself it doesn't really cover your living expense, well (unless they go to state boarding schools) you'll be paying massive amounts for them to board, take them out send them to a local private school or even better a state school, make time for them at weekends. Then you might find you can compete with daddy's pizza and pop lifestyle!

As a PP has said how can you tell they'll come back to you? Tbh I think totally the opposite I think it's more likely that they'll resent you for sending them away to spend time on you.

I grew up in a single parent family, my best friend is a single parent I appricate how hard it is, but many single parents kids are with them 24/7 no boarding school, and yes in their heads they'd like a bit more 'me' time but they'd never consider transferring custody.

Sorry that was pretty harsh and no help in your question but consider what your doing!

Penfold007 Sun 25-Oct-15 11:15:27

OP you sound utterly defeated and exhausted. If the children going to live with their father in the USA is best all round then that is what should happen.

Louise43210 Sun 25-Oct-15 11:17:24

Would it feel better if you just radically changed everything - by downsizing your job and their education?

NaughtToThreeSadOnions Sun 25-Oct-15 11:19:36

Just read that a second, 'I want to be free I want to walk away'

You want to walk away from your children? From your children?! Wow sorry I don't doubt your having a hard time and you won't be alone in that, but my god!

You know absent fathers get such a battering on here because they do that they go and live the single life and have no responsibilities and your asking us how you do the same.

Sorry again judgemental but I'd say it to any one mother or father that actually wrote I want to be free I want to walk away!

Ok do it, but I can assure you your children won't come back.

HPsauciness Sun 25-Oct-15 11:19:51

Op, please don't take this the wrong way, but you sound very depressed. Everything you are saying sounds 'logical' to you, but from the outside it doesn't. Even your plan to escape is a bit bananas, because you would presumably still have contact with your children! In the holidays and on weekends!

You don't actually get to completely wash your hands of them, as in never see them til they are adults unless you truly wish to lose them completely, as in forever, because being completely abandoned is something you never get over.

Now, you could be proposing more realistic solutions- like more holidays with dad in the summer so you get time to yourself, or more fun activities to redevelop your relationship with them.

But you are thinking in a typical depressed way, 'everything' is wrong with your relationship with them and the solution is also a huge big massive one, go off round the world and pretend they don't exist.

You would be better off going to the drs and explaining how trapped you feel and getting treatment for your depression.

Your 'ungrateful children' are not causing your thinking (all teens are quite ungrateful) but your depressed thinking.

I would not think much of a man who was only seeing his children on weekends and holidays and then decided that even was too much for him and he had to travel the world to get away.

This is not the gender issue you are making out it is, it's all about your state of mind.

NoArmaniNoPunani Sun 25-Oct-15 11:20:19

Does their boarding school offer termly boarding? Then they could stay there and go to the U.S. in the holidays.

DingbatsFur Sun 25-Oct-15 11:20:53

My friend had a similar experience. When she and her husband broke up, she got custody of their children until they were teenagers then the father took then and they swapped roles. She and the children were much happier as a result. The kids are perfectly well adjusted.
You need a break.

Borninthe60s Sun 25-Oct-15 11:21:48

I agree that you seem depressed, please speak to your doctor before you make any life changing decisions.

QuintShhhhhh Sun 25-Oct-15 11:22:05

Go for it!

antimatter Sun 25-Oct-15 11:22:23

There's nothing in life you can guarantee apart from that we are all going to die.

Something happened in the past what contributed to this situation.

I would suggest at this stage that they spend all their holidays with their father.
If you are at a breaking point go and see your GP to help you to asses your mental health. Be honest and don't rush into any decision.
Don't firget you will also have % of yiur income to contribute towards the cost of their upkeep.
They may refuse to see you at all for years to come.

DinosaursRoar Sun 25-Oct-15 11:27:43

would it be possible for the children to board for the weekends as well for a term? I would assume if you gave him custody, he's more likely to just do that anyway and have them back for holidays. Particularly if he has a lifestyle and job in the USA that doesn't lend it'self to being a hands on dad. If he would be considering putting htem in boarding school in the USA, the logical thing to do would be leave them where they are.

You could then still change jobs, have some time out for yourself. Perhaps by the Christmas holidays you'd be glad to spend time with them again. Will they be going over to spend time with him over Christmas?

I think you sound ready for a breakdown if you don't do something, so 'no change' probably isn't an option - but if they are at a boarding school anyway, going to boarding over the weekends as well would be the change that would have the least impact on them.

Mrscaindingle Sun 25-Oct-15 11:29:51

I am trying not to be judgemental here ...but you cannot or shouldn't just walk away from your children and "be free" and not expect them to judge you later on. I get that it's hard being the parent who does all the grunt work while the other parent seems to be fun dad and the fact that he is judging you for being a "bad mum" where does he get off doing that when he's thousands of miles away? What is doing to help raise his children? In years to come they will be asking him where he was during their childhood.

I am the boring nagging parent too, while my ex swanned off abroad living the high life with younger women. There were many times when I raged about the injustice and wanted to walk away.

But here's the thing - 3 years later he has no relationship with DS1 and only Ok ish one with DS2 and he is coming to realise that in fact (in his words) he has nothing and he threw away his relationships with his children for some short lived fun.

I too think it's not right that society deems it a much worse sin for women to walk away from their children than for men, but personally I don't think anyone should get to do that.

I would recommend getting some help in dealing with your feelings, they are understandable and justified but if you decide to leave your children to find yourself, expect that this could very well damage your long term relationship with them.

Lweji Sun 25-Oct-15 11:31:03

My first question upon reading your OP was why are they at boarding school?
Neither of you seems to want to have much to do with the children. sad And they will know it. They laugh with dad because he's a fb dad. Not a real one that has to deal with their issues. Because they probably crave his attention. They know, or rather, think that your love is unconditional and that you'll stick by them and can test your love. Except they can't, really, because you're prepared to walk away on them.

I'm also mid 40s with a younger child at home. He's not ruining my life. I chose to have him in my life.
So, I do hope you're depressed and can sort out your issues before you totally alienate your children and regret it in future.

Lweji Sun 25-Oct-15 11:33:01

BTW, my ex can say whatever he wants about my parenting, but it only comes from what a twat he is. You shouldn't bother with whatever your ex says. After all he is happy to live in a different continent to his children.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: