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Dss wants to live with dad

(19 Posts)
Loftus Wed 23-Jan-13 16:28:12

Has anyone got a bit of advice for us? Dss, 12, has been saying for a while now he'd love to live 50:50 at our place, instead of eow, plus one midweek overnight. I have a ds of similar age, we all get along fine, and although dh and I do not want to rock the boat with VERY difficult mum, we also want to support dss with his wish! Dh and I are actually going to couples counseling to learn how to cope better as a team with the baggage thrown at us by ex. Have good relations with own ex and his dw, all reasonable and caring people. Sounds a bit cowardly to call dh's ex a bully, but she is... What could be a good approach here so as not to appear confrontational? She is a control freak and basically very money oriented, of course she loves her ds and we don't want to take him away from her but seriously understand dss wanting a bit of breathing space. Grateful for all replies, thx.

Lostinsuffolk Wed 23-Jan-13 19:06:36

I believe at 12 they have a right of choice as to where they live. It's a tricky one though as if the relationship with the Ex isn't good, it could get worse as Ex may see this as u interfering. I can't offer great advice but didn't want to read and run. Good luck, tread carefully! smile

Loftus Thu 24-Jan-13 06:08:57

Thanks for reply, am doing utmost not to interfere, simply to support. Dh has now texted suggesting they chat about possibility ds envisages, no reply as yet...

Jemma1111 Thu 24-Jan-13 06:32:17

Just wondering what you mean when you say you and your Dh are going to counselling to learn how to cope as a team with the baggage thrown at us by ex .

Sounds to me like your describing your ds as 'baggage' , why has his mum thrown baggage at you ?

This child is your Dh 's child also and he came as a package when you got married . He is not 'baggage '

LadyWidmerpool Thu 24-Jan-13 06:35:12

I don't think it sounds like the DSS is the baggage, does it? I read it as there is other stuff that is hard to deal with.

frantic53 Thu 24-Jan-13 06:41:18

I didn't read the OP as describing her ds as "baggage" tbh but I'm hoping that she's not in the UK. I would find being text at 6am re custody by my ex to be, at best, totally inconsiderate and, at worst, sadistically controlling! confused

Xalla Thu 24-Jan-13 06:49:22

No it doesn't sound like you're calling your DSS 'baggage' at all. Step-parenting throws a whole new set of challenges into a relationship and dealing with a difficult RP can be a huge challenge! Well done both of you for actively (and jointly) finding ways to meet the challenge. My DH and I did something similar - it was certainly helpful.

I agree (as do Cafcass / the courts) that at 12, your DSS has a right to choose. If the relationship with Mum is already awful, I'd be tempted to say your DH should raise the issue with her and make it clear that he's prepared to go down the court route. How much does your DSS have to lose? Do his parents involve him in their conflict?

As far as the 'money orientated' bit goes..... My DH didn't alter his maintenance payments at all when he got 50/50 contact. He knew Mum wouldn't agree to the increase in contact if he did. It wasn't a battle worth fighting for him at the time. That's not to say he won't ever review the situation, he just felt getting the contact sorted was the priority.

allnewtaketwo Thu 24-Jan-13 07:04:39

Jemma you are projecting. It didn't read at all as if the OP was describing the child as baggage

OP agree this is difficult, not least because of the automatic assumption that you'll be doing this to annoy the ex. You both sound like youre going about this very sensibly. Personally I think I would be very wary of 50:50 where there is such animosity between the parents

Jemma1111 Thu 24-Jan-13 07:13:06

Projecting ? What are you talking about ?

I'm just saying how I interpreted the op's post , that is all .

VBisme Thu 24-Jan-13 07:21:35

It's a very tricky situation, particularly with a difficult ex.

Whilst a 12 year old is deemed capable of making the decision on where he wants to live he is probably not strong enough to withstand the emotional onslaught that this might cause from mum.
We were in a very similar situation, DH spoke with his ex, who then told the child that her dog would need to be pts as she couldn't cope with it on her own. Child's mind changed immediately and emotionally damaged in the fallout sad
Tred very carefully, I wouldn't even discuss changing CM initially (we were accused of just not wanting to pay her). It's easier without the financial issues becoming involved in the first instance (if you afford to do that).

UC Thu 24-Jan-13 08:26:50

Jemma, I agree, you are projecting. I've seen your posts before, and you are frequently very anti step mum. I didn't see the OP's comment about baggage being anything to do with DSS - if the OP saw her DSS as baggage, then why would she be supporting his wish to move in more with his dad, her DP? You make it sounds as though DSS' mum is trying to throw DSS at OP and her DP and she doesn't want him. It is exactly the opposite to this. She wants advice as to how to support her DSS in wanting to live more with his dad, whilst trying to minimise the antagonism to DSS' mum.

This is tricky indeed. I'm not sure a text is the right approach - too short, can be misconstrued too easily. If DP and his ex can't sit down and discuss sensibly (sounds like this is not an option), then a carefully worded email might be better.

Do you know if DSS has actually mentioned this to his mum at all?

FWIW, OP, I think it's very sensible that you and DP are going to couples counselling to learn techniques to deal with a difficult ex better together - it's very hard not to fall out yourselves if you have a difficult relationship with your ex.

Good luck!

Loftus Thu 24-Jan-13 13:07:39

Thanks everyone, specially regarding the qualms about a tricky atmosphere. I felt I was perhaps over thinking it. Yes, dss has spoken to his mum and she has been putting him off, saying it does not sound like a good idea, not actually forbidding it so as not to look bad. Our counselor has suggested talking about what is good for dss and his present needs, I.e. needing to be closer to dad at the onset of adolescence, etc., so she does not feel provoked. I'm afraid dh may not feel so generous regarding cm as he was most harshly taken to the cleaners after divorce, her family being rather wealthy and affording most expensive legal advice. However, I pointed out better to let her have cm as she then won't text or call us at 6 am or dead of night as was her want about all the stuff she wants dh to pay for..... No, we live on the continent, not uk, but text was sent yesterday evening, was only told about it last night when dh came home. Hopefully she will agree to a meeting, I won't of course be there, only moral support. Yes, I feel terrible for dss because he is very sweet, very accommodating, right now wants to show us how really really good he is at chores etc. so we will want to have him! it is heart breaking.

WakeyCakey Fri 25-Jan-13 11:57:10

I think you are doing great fwiw. I agree that you shouldn't be there for any sort of discussion, dss obviously wants to be with you more and for this age i think that his needs are paramount. What I would say is maybe present a trial of the situation to ex as then she knows that if dss changes his mind then you won't press for him to do it.

Also regarding cm don't alter it yet as it isn't worth the hassle with a bully of an ex as she will see financial motive behind him staying.

Good luck, you sounds like a great dsm

Loftus Fri 25-Jan-13 14:40:52

Wakey, Thanks for vote of confidence. Now dh has to work up the nerve to actually set up a meeting and talk to ex. At the moment his fear of fallout is stronger than wish to negotiate. Thankfully counseling is helping him face these issues constructively, and with a sigh of relief I realize it is not up to me to fix life for us all, dh is called upon to act in the best interests of his ds. I suppose I'd like to hear from those who successfully trod tis path before us and can offer advise particularly for dh.

purpleroses Fri 25-Jan-13 16:01:58

Afraid we've not successfully gone down the path you're contemplating - we've backed away from it in order to avoid the upset it would cause (in our situation at least). DSD2 (also 12) has said she's like to live here, but her mum made it quite clear that wasn't on in her view and DP feels (as do I) that a it's probably better on balance for her to stay living mainly at her mum's rather than cause tensions of pushing a move.

What he has done is suggest minor modifications to the routines of the older two DSC, who now come here direct from school on a Friday - and DSD2 will probably start doing this too come September.

I think it does depend how much gain you think there is (for everyone) and weigh this up against how much to lose from potential conflict - bearing in mind you already have DSS quite a bit and could probably have him little odd bits extra just by becoming a bit more flexible with him as he gets older, rather than initiating a big formal change of routine.

Have you thought through the practicalities of a 50-50 split? How would he split the week - half at each, or alternate weeks at each? Where would his clothes, homework, etc live? Is someone available to cook his dinner, ferry him around, etc on each of the days when you might have him? If his mum currently does all the buying clothes, taking to GP, dentist, etc - would she retain this role, or would your DH do some of it? Who would stay off with hi if he's ill? Not to say there aren't good answers to any of these questions, but they'd need thinking about. I know people who make a 50-50 split work, but who has responsibility for what isn't necessarily quite as straightforward as when one parent is the main carer and the other just has a couple of nights a week.

mumandboys123 Fri 25-Jan-13 17:35:08

I agree with purpleroses - the main reason 'shared care' failed with my ex was his failure (in my opinion) to face up to the fact that shared care means exactly that. It is really important that you are able to communicate effectively and that animosity is at a minimum. I also think that the practicalities of shared care for teenages can be complex - they need their books and kit in school and if dodging between houses, can easily find themselves without the books, kit and homework they need. In schools with rigid behaviour management systems, not turning up with the necessary equipment can quickly result in sanctions - including detentions. Is he an organised, tidy child? He will need to be on top of things to succeed in two homes at high school that's for sure. Do you live within easy reach of his friends?

You may also want to look at your financial situation and consider what could be offered as a 'sweetner' to mum if money is going to be an issue for her. Simply recognising that even a small drop in income for any household can result in disaster is more than most manage to do - if you can trade off some maintenance for her reduced food bill and make bigger contributions towards school uniform, school dinners, trips, shoes, haircuts (the essential stuff) then she will be no worse off. You will need to approach this sensitively, however. Is mum on her own? Does she work? Do you consider that she is OK financially or is she struggling?

Loftus Sun 27-Jan-13 10:39:47

Purple roses and mumandboys, dss mother is not struggling financially, we are. Strangely enough, dh was their prime caregiver when still married to ex, shopping, cooking, bath nights, reading stories, etc etc etc. that is why it came as a special blow to dc when he left (suffering from depression, emotional eating and so on). He is a kind hearted, hard working man and this is not lost on his dc, despite ex bad mouthing him from word go. Because ex does not care for other people's kids, dss has made his only real friend, as opposed to classmates, in our neighborhood. Seriously, without wishing to appear in any way self-righteous or smug, it is obvious to all who know dss well that he is better off long term with his dad. Hassle with ex, sadly, is only thing keeping us from legal advice and making a move. Mumandboys, I am a mother to a ds like you, and would heartbroken if my ds wanted to up and leave, even if only parttime, and fully understand the implications.

purpleroses Sun 27-Jan-13 12:30:57

I wasn't meaning to suggest that your DSS might not be better off living with his dad - but what you were suggesting wasn't really that - it was a 50-50 split. If your DH currently has EOW for a full weekend (ie Fri school pick up until Mon school) plus one midweek a week, then that's 5 nights a fortnight. So moving to 7 isn't really going to change things all that much. If he really wants to live with you, and you've decided it's worth rocking the boat over, then you might be better off going for a fuller residency.

How far are you from school and his mum? Is it practical for him to live with you but remain at the same school, etc?

Loftus Sun 27-Jan-13 16:32:12

Yes, school is even closer to us, actually. But I'm of the same mind as you on this, the little change in nights spent with us weighed up against all the extra dealing with ex, makes it better to wait that bit longer, and offer full custody if it is still wanted. Like I said, we are not the ones pushing, dss is and we only want to be supportive. Mil and fil now also think this would be better.

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