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If we split, how much access will he get to the children?

(21 Posts)
alexsmashes Sat 11-Feb-17 16:19:15

I hate the thought of being apart from them, it's the only thing holding me back from ending it. They're still so young and he doesn't cope well looking after them on his own and doesn't enjoy it. Despite this I think he would fight to get them as he's threatened it before. He's not a bad father and I wouldn't want to stop him seeing them completely but it really upsets me knowing there would be parts of their lives I have no control over. We're not married if it makes a difference. Any advice greatly appreciated.

EmilyRosanne Sat 11-Feb-17 16:32:22

There's no 'one size fits all' answer really. If you say he doesn't really enjoy looking after them then it's unlikely he'd go for more than weekends, every other weekend or something. My ex has DC on his two days off a week. One is weekday and one weekend with no overnights as he never gets two days off together. In an ideal world I would spend all my time with DC and not have to give up time but he is their father.

I think most men threaten with custody/court etc. especially as a threat to keep you but very few actually do.

peggyundercrackers Sat 11-Feb-17 17:19:50

Most people I know who have split up have their kids 50:50. I think most family courts will go down this route too if there are no real issues on either side.

Starlight2345 Sat 11-Feb-17 17:28:35

On here 50/50 is talked about a lot. I know both mums and dads who NRP doesn't bother, but the others are EOW.

Would he be interested in doing 50 % of the care..Can he do drop off and pick up from nursery?

lightroom Sat 11-Feb-17 17:32:13

We do 50/50. Did quite a lot of reading/research beforehand and we decided to go week on/week off so that the dc don't experience too much day to day disruption. Works really well for us, although it took some getting used to. Happy to talk more about it if it's helpful!

Allthebestnamesareused Sat 11-Feb-17 17:34:58

There does seem to be a lot of 50/50 on here but in my experience and with people I know personally it is generally every other weekend with the non resident parent (if at a distance) or every other weekend and one week night if close by.

Most people usually negotiate what works for them.

Also most 50/50s I personally know of are because the higher earner doesn't want to pay maintenance to the other parent.

nigelforgotthepassword Sat 11-Feb-17 17:42:02

There's a school of thought that says 50/50 isn't best for the kids-that it's better for them to have a main base, and go to the the other house for less time than they are in their 'base'. In fact in Scotland I think they base custody on that-school bags stay in the same house or some such?
I really wouldn't have wanted to be without mine for 50% of the time and I don't think they would have wanted that either. They say they like mine being the 'main' house, (but are quite happy going to their Dads too, 3 nights a week so it's not that uneven really).How old are the kids?
But I suppose you have to work out what you both want as parents, and what you are capable of doing around work commitments for example and go from there.

Lelloteddy Sat 11-Feb-17 17:47:32

Ignore those who state with absolute authority that 50/50 is the way to go and that's what will happen if you end up in court. It's generally spouted by people who actually aren't separated or divorced or whose attitude is that dividing children up like commodities is their 'right'.

50/50 works for some families who live close by, who are generally amicable and whose children have comparable attachment bonds to both parents.

50/50 does NOT work when children are treated as possessions by one or both parents.

You will have to get your head around the fact that if you have no safety or welfare concerns, your children WILL spend time with their dad without you around. But if your starting point is that you don't want that to happen because of how it makes you feel, then you're setting yourself and your kids up for a life of misery and conflict.

It's far better for children to have two happy, amicable parents who live in different homes than miserable parents who fight but stay together in the mistaken belief that the children are happy.

If you're serious about splitting, you both need to sit down and discuss the kids. Don't start off from the point of view that you'll 'allow' him contact. Frame it as what's best and least disruptive for the kids.

namechangingagainagain Sat 11-Feb-17 17:52:44

I chose not to split an the main reason was I couldn't bear a 50:50 split.

I just couldn't bear the thought of not seeing them every day. I know he would have wanted 50:50- he does some ups and I work part-time. I also didn't want the upset of them having separated parents.

Am I happy in my marriage? No,not really.
Am I happy in my life and? Very much so.

Some people will judge me I'm sure but I know I made the right choice for me

NattyBatty Sat 11-Feb-17 17:59:33

It will come down to what's best for the children. If they would benefit from 50/50 then that will happen (or should happen) because family court is supposed to focus on putting the kids first.

If your children are all that's keeping you from harming yourself (as you said in your OP) then I can't stress the importance of seeing your GP. Yes, loving your children is normal, but if they are your sole reason for existence then you need help. I'm saying this as someone who has been suicidal and will be on medication forever for depression and anxiety so I am in no way trying to bully or demean you. Please, please, please talk to your doctor.

alexsmashes Sat 11-Feb-17 19:19:16

Oh sorry I didn't mean ending my life, I meant ending the relationship! I see how that sounds now. I am definitely not suicidal.

alexsmashes Sat 11-Feb-17 19:22:50

I really don't think I could stand 50/50. It really doesn't seem fair, I do so much more for them than he does & that's out of choice not down to circumstance.

alexsmashes Sat 11-Feb-17 19:25:48

namechangingagainagain no judgement from me. It may well be the way things go for us too. I know he would stay in the relationship, it would have to be me who made the decision and I honestly don't know if it will happen. It makes me really sad because I want happiness with someone but my children are more important to me.

RobDykeWatcher Sat 11-Feb-17 19:29:22

it's not really possible to second guess what a judge will decide but if the father makes a reasonable suggestion for contact eg weekends at least you've got a starting point and can jiggle it from there. don't be obstructive just because you don't like the thought of not being in control of part of the childrens lives, it's about them and their rights to contact with both parents, not about you. as they get older you'll have less and less control anyway so may as well make a start and get used to it

PaterPower Sat 11-Feb-17 19:38:57

it really doesn't seem fair

What's "fair" is that your dc have a decent relationship with their father.

Yoshimihere Sat 11-Feb-17 19:39:54

alexsmashes i left 6 months ago. My DC are with ex 2 nights one week, 3 the next. I don't know what a court would order but it seemed best long term for DC.

In hindsight I think it was too big a change for 2 year old and we should have held off a couple of years with so many overnights. But he is getting used to it. Older child has adapted really well. Very happy. I hope the close relationship with his dad long term makes up for the unsettling experience for youngest.

I am not at all used to it! I really miss them and I feel terrible for my baby. But I think it's better for the children to have two happy homes than one strained tense home. I am definitely a much better mum when I am with them now than I was before.

I think the "control" thing is difficult for others to understand. I felt that too. It's not really "control" as such. It's more about how you have probably spent so much (all?) your energy to date on striving to make your children happy and ensure their well-being. Its a worry to not be able to do that.

It's such a difficult decision flowers

Yoshimihere Sat 11-Feb-17 19:53:43

I think 50/50 as a default very much treats children as a possession. It's not in any way based on child's needs from what I can tell. Children are individuals. Eg, seems to work really well for one of my children, not so much for the other. I speak as a mother who nudged ex into more contact as I was desperate for them to have good relationship. If i was to do it again I'd probably try to maintain the status quo in the short term and build up the contact.

NattyBatty Sun 12-Feb-17 01:58:16

Oh thank goodness for that!

Ok, now I'm not worried about you harming yourself I'll go onto the other bits.

The courts will appoint a CAFCASS officer. These people can range from really good to totally biased in favour of one parent or another. If you are the favourite parent it can be tempting to go along with what they are saying, but crap CAFCASS officers are not good for your children, even if it's what you want to hear.

The point of CAFCASS is to have a neutral party to look after the children's best interests. They will meet with you and your ex, and depending on their age, the children, then write a report with recommendations for the court. The judge will make a ruling based on that report.

The judge won't be interested in helping you keep control of all of the children's time unless there is a real and present danger to them when in their Dad's care.

It might be tempting to try and act to protect your own feelings, but this is the point when you need to make absolutely certain you are not putting yourself before the children. No matter how you feel about your partner, he is their daddy and they love him. That won't change just because you're split up. Keeping them from or minimising their time with their dad to spare your feelings will comeback to bite you (my DH barely speaks to his mother because she wrecked his relationship with his dad by blocking access and making contact difficult after the divorce).

ReapAndSow Sun 12-Feb-17 02:15:22

It might be that once he has the kids on his own that he will parent them as wholeheartedly as you do. When the kids are really little often men step back a little and women take over a little. It's often both parties doing iyswim

I think you should try and start from 50/50 and then see what works best for all of you with the kids needs coming first of course.

The best thing would be to try and keep things as amicable and flexible as possible as make decisions together. Easier said than done though.

alexsmashes Sun 12-Feb-17 09:09:30

Thank you all, your posts are helping me see things more clearly. I definitely hold onto things he has said, basically that he hasn't been happy since we had children and talking about wanting to get away from it all. I get angry that he feels that way and wish that he felt grateful for our children like I do & sometimes I feel that he doesn't deserve them. However he's not a bad father, the kids love him and he keeps trying even though he struggles with them and they don't do as he asks. I definitely want them to have a good relationship with them but at his point 50/50 would just be too much. DCs are 1 and 4. In an ideal world we would live close to each other and be flexible with when we both saw the children, help each other out and remain friends. However I realise this is an unlikely scenario and the impression I get from him is if we were to split it would be messy. I just wish we could talk about it calmly but he refuses. He gets angry and makes me out to be an awful person for considering a split. Yet freely admits that he is miserable in his life! It's like the only option is to carry on being unhappy. I don't know who he thinks this is helping.

EmilyRosanne Sun 12-Feb-17 10:12:32

I think there is a lot of 50/50 talk on mumsnet but I actually don't know anyone who does this IRL and a lot of our friends are seperated/single parents.

In every seperated couple I know, the mother has the children full time and the father sees them at the weekends, either Friday - Monday every other weekend or one night every weekend.

I also think men get emotive when they think they are losing their family and say things that wouldn't really happen, my ex threatened court for full custody etc. in reality he is happy to be a 'weekend' dad with little responsibility he just wanted to upset me and control me into staying.

I think 50/50 would only be in certain circumstances and IF he went for it they would look at what was best for the children, I doubt that would be for a one year old baby to be away from their mother 50% of the time. In a lot of cases especially when the children are very young I don't think it's beneficial for them to be toing and froing between houses and not having a 'base'.

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