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Is there a third option I'm not seeing? - logistics problem

(29 Posts)
wallypops Wed 19-Mar-14 16:50:04

Partner has 2 kids DD 8 and DS 5, he has them every other week, Friday to Friday and alternate Tuesdays. In France, so kids don't have school on Wednesdays. He lives 90 minutes away and his kids go to school there, mother also lives locally to him - has to for school. She is known to be a fairly lax mother, but not abusive or anything, but unlikely to let him have more custody - he would be destroyed if he had them much less, and I'm definitely not asking for that. He is a great Dad.

I have 2 DDs 8 & 9 years old, I have them full time, except every other weekend and half the holidays. I teach part time (18 years in the job) and have 2 businesses where I live, neither of which are transferable.

We both come from large families and would like to have a large blended family. I come from a large blended family and it was incredibly positive, but my dad was a widower when he remarried my step-mum so the situations are not quite the same.

So far I can only really see 2 options.

Option 1 We don't live together for the next decade or so, he has one week in his house (minus Tuesday) and one week in ours (again minus Tuesday).

Option 2 I sell up house and business one, close business 2, give up teaching job and retrain. We move in with him.

Option 1 is clearly the less awful for me and my kids, but long term maybe not that great either. If he could get full custody he would move in with us as we have room for everyone, but currently with schooling and his custody arrangement that's just not possible.

Can anyone see a third option of how we could make this work?

Many thanks.

mumandboys123 Wed 19-Mar-14 17:46:45

so you think that 'getting full custody' is an option because mum is 'fairly lax'? You think it reasonable your partner's children are not only moved away from schooling and friendships on a full time basis but also their mum because she is 'fairly lax'?

I am not sure why you would need to retrain if you went for option 2? is there no teaching where your partner lives? Are your businesses actually tied to the area you are living in?

TheMumsRush Wed 19-Mar-14 18:03:41

Mumansboys, I see you post a lot on step parenting threads, yet I've never heard you talk about your step children. In fact I've only really seen negative posts from you!

brdgrl Wed 19-Mar-14 18:04:03

Option 2 really doesn't seem like an option to me. You would be giving up everything, as would your children, and that seems like a poor ground on which to build a family.

brdgrl Wed 19-Mar-14 18:04:30

Sorry- I know I am supposed to be offering a third - I am thinking!

TheMumsRush Wed 19-Mar-14 18:08:31

Could you move closer but within traveling distance for your work?

mumandboys123 Wed 19-Mar-14 18:18:51

oh right, I have to explain myself - and my relationships - to you to be allowed to post what I think?

I have no idea of 'custody' laws in France, but I would sincerely hope that 'full custody' of children isn't given to a dad who wants to move in with his girlfriend citing the 'fact' that mum is 'fairly lax' as a means by which to jusify adults making decisions which impact on children. The OP looks to me like she is seeking support for 'full custody' so that her life, and that of her children, can remain unchanged. I may well have that wrong. The alternative - that a move means the closure of her business and giving up a job clearly isn't going to work either although I question why she wouldn't be able to take a teaching job in the new town? (acknowledging that jobs are not necessarily easy to come by anywhere at the current time).

I am not sure that there is an option other than one party 'giving up everything', as bdrgirl says.

caramelwaffle Wed 19-Mar-14 18:19:01

As brd says, option 2 is a non starter really.

brdgrl Wed 19-Mar-14 18:19:54

Is there any chance of a rethink of your DP's arrangements? Not less time, but organised differently, so that Option 1 - him moving between houses - is even a bit less difficult?

I do think Option 1 makes a LOT more sense than Option 2!

Mumsrush smile

brdgrl Wed 19-Mar-14 18:22:05

Option 2 basically nukes OP's life as it is.

Is Option 1 possible for your partner with regards to his work?

Back2Basics Wed 19-Mar-14 18:23:42

What is so great about living together?

I think eoweek off being able to just be you and your dc could be idyllic.

I really do not mean to sound patronising but it's such hard work being a blended family it could work out great bu not jumping into it all. Plenty of your own space not feeling resentful pushed upon and took for granted and that's just from dp. Living together is hard work let alone mixing dc up no matter how great you all get on now.

Once they're around 15/16 you can bugger off for the odd night in a hotel just you and dp half way between to wink

Back2Basics Wed 19-Mar-14 18:24:37

Last sentence made sense in my head but not wrote down!

Peacesword Wed 19-Mar-14 18:25:18

I'm a stepmum and I have to say I agree that having full custody and taking children away from their mother isn't something that should even be considered to resolve a logistical problem.

Is there somewhere in the middle that you could live so they could still get to school and so could yours, and you to work etc?

Think ahead a few years. As they get older where are their next schools going to be? What might change with your jobs, or their mum's situation?

I do think that in situations like this holding the intention of what you'd like without working out the detail of how means that an answer you could never have foreseen appears. Perhaps option 3 is to let go of how and just wait and see what unfolds?

wallypops Wed 19-Mar-14 18:44:19

Sorry. I didn't explain well about my partners ex - it turns out that she didn't actually want children, but this only came out much later. She doesn't seem to really enjoy her kids I'm not suggesting that his custody arrangements should change, and I'd be very surprised if the courts would sanction it.

My company is completely dependant on the place it is - so it would mean closing down and starting again, if I moved. My other business is holiday lets and 2 of the holiday cottages are part of where we live.

So maybe we need to look at this in another light and see it as a positive. The hard thing is that we never ever have time together "at home" without some of the kids being there, and the kids never ever see each other. The weekend my ex has the kids is the weekend my partner has his kids.

Option 1 is possible and what we are currently doing. I worry that it is hard on him spending so much time away from home (he has chickens and outdoor cats) and its an old house with a big garden.

He works mid way between the two houses, so it could be worse. Thanks for your thoughts. I guess that we just need to think about it differently.

Peacesword Wed 19-Mar-14 18:58:07

Would it be possible to change when your children see their Dad?

wallypops Wed 19-Mar-14 19:29:28

Possibly we could change my ex's weekends, or the week that my DP has his kids, but only from January, as all our arrangements for this year are already fixed. We have a triple custody agreement where my ex-mother-in law also has part of the holidays. My ex was very abusive and has a history of causing maximum trouble for everyone. My ex family in law is very litigious and we have already been back to court 3 times since the divorce. I think we just have to go at it slowly.

FrogbyAnotherName Wed 19-Mar-14 19:51:42

so you think that 'getting full custody' is an option because mum is 'fairly lax'? You think it reasonable your partner's children are not only moved away from schooling and friendships on a full time basis but also their mum because she is 'fairly lax'?

As the OP hasn't cited this as either of her options, then I think the answer to that is self evident.

I'm not sure how much of the OP you read, mumandboys but the bit that is relevant to your question is this - with my emphasis just to help you out:

If he could get full custody he would move in with us as we have room for everyone but currently with schooling and his custody arrangement that's just not possible.

And before you say that the OP is a WSM for even considering (and excluding) it as a possibility, I'll point you in the direction of the LP thread, where plenty of RP have wished their ex would drop off the planet, thus depriving their DCs of one parent. And that's the DCs parent posting that, not a stepparent.

purpleroses Wed 19-Mar-14 19:54:19

How is your DP's relationship with his ex? And how settled in the area is she? Is there any chance they could both move to where you live? It would mean a new school for the DSC but possibly easier than you leaving your business.

I've known a couple of co-parenting exes who've managed to make joint decisions about relocating.

eslteacher Wed 19-Mar-14 20:14:49

Well to add another point of view, I made a couple of cross-country moves during my childhood/teen years, one at age 6 and another at age 13. Both because of redundancy forcing my dad to take work where he could get it. I don't think these experiences have hurt me, in fact I think they have made me a stronger and more capable person. I don't think that it should be a complete no-go to consider moving children just because they are happy and settled where they currently are. Of course, my experiences of moving and starting my social life afresh weren't due to being part of a step family though, so I appreciate it could throw up a whole other bunch of issues for children to move for these reasons. Then again, in a 'traditional' family the adults would make the decision to move and I don't think the children's preferences would be a major deciding factor would they?

I know this doesn't touch on the issue of your businesses and where YOU want to live, however. Also, how difficult would it be for your kids to carry on EOW contact with your ex if you moved 90 minutes away? I presume since there is an existing court order you'd have to stick to it, would it be a total nightmare transport-wise?

wallypops Wed 19-Mar-14 20:23:30

I don't know my DPs ex, so I can only go on what I have been told, which isn't necessarily the wisest of positions, but my understanding of the situation is that currently my DPs ex is not really happy with her lot, and would ideally like to move to Paris, a couple of hours away from where they are based. She has a sales rep job, and works long hours. She never takes her holiday time when the kids are on holiday as she doesn't want to actually spend more time with them. She seems to be quite concerned about what other people think of her, and I think that is one of the reasons that she want to maintain the status quo.

She did a lot of straying in the last couple of years of their relationship, and when outed by the wife of her last boyfriend, my DP called time, and she moved out. She was pretty surprised that he wasn't just prepared to put up with her behaviour.

I think that as Peace said, in time Option 3 might become apparent. And if we can swing it so that from January the weekends work differently and the kids actually get spend time together, and we get time alone, then we'll be one step further along.

Thanks everyone for your input.

daisy0chain Wed 19-Mar-14 20:27:41

depriving their DCs of one parent

Just a comment regarding this. It isn't deprivation if the alternative is having an abusive man in your life. My DD doesn't actually see her Dad and she is not deprived, she is well cared for, well looked after and above all safe. That is because she doesn't see her Dad not in spite of it.

OP I'm sorry I wish I had an alternative for you. I assume you both selling up and living half way between isn't an option?

wallypops Wed 19-Mar-14 22:09:08

I don't think selling up is currently an option for either of us. Really lousy housing market amongst other things, and it means all kids would be an 45 mins from their schools, so in a way the worst of all worlds. School hours are really long here 8am until 6pm, so I think we are both reluctant to add to the children's' school days.

I really cannot thank everyone enough for helping us to get a bit of perspective on this

daisy0chain Wed 19-Mar-14 22:13:29

Well I really do hope you are able to find a resolution but from what you have posted it sadly seems unlikely that there is a solution to fit all, at least not for now anyway.

I'm not a step mum but I am a single parent and I do appreciate that it must be very hard to "blend" families in certain situations.

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Thu 20-Mar-14 00:49:06

As an aside to everything that's been written you say that exes family likes to drag you to court for everything..
I'd be making an application based on the grounds that ex is a vexatious litigant to put a stop to that crap wink

kickassangel Thu 20-Mar-14 01:00:43

I know next to nothing about step parenting but the idea of switching weekends so that there is some overlap of the children sounds like a good idea. I assume that they have met, but living under the same roof is different. It could well be a good idea to do this gradually.

Imagine selling everything then the kids deciding that they hate each other and you are all stuck living together with no job or other home to go to!

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