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Changing arrangements - would you?

(19 Posts)
BuzzLightbulb Thu 03-Apr-14 08:44:38

We have had shared care, week with/week without and have had for a few years now once DP's ex finally settled on which days he wanted.

Oldest dsd is living with us full time at the moment as she studies for her exams (and that's actually working out really well), dsd2 and dss are still on the weekly change about.

Recent request

Ex - would you consider changing the arangements so I can take a contract to work away from home 3 days a week
DP - No. (Expecting that to be the end of, as per Mumsnet Step parenting Rule No 1)

Several days later

Ex - can you think about this more quickly as I have to give an answer tomorrow.
DP - I said no, nothing more to say.

Several days later

Ex - can you have the kids every Monday night as well so Grandma only has to stay over two nights a week
DP - When you asked me if I would consider changing the arrangements I said No.
Ex - Could you help out with running the kids to school/sports/friends while I'm away?
DP - Why aren't you putting your parental responsibilities ahead of anything else?
Ex - I am, but when I'm not able to fulfil those responsibilities the ex wife takes them on. That's the way it works.

That's not an unusual type of statement in itself coming from the ex, but as DP had already stated she wouldn't change the arrangements would you have expected ex to go ahead and take the job anyway?

And the reason for not changing them is because, and this has been repeated to ex many times, the week we have the kids DP sacrifices work time and her professsional obligations, and the week she doesn't have them she makes up for that.

Now the guilt trip. Grandma is no spring chicken and not in the peak of fitness, every conversation like this always gets 'supporting the kids' and 'parenting together' thrown in for good measure.

I can't actually imagine what sort of changeover arrangements we could have on this basis which weren't really erratic and disruptive and how on earth DP would get enough time at work.

How would you have responded to this?

nomoretether Thu 03-Apr-14 08:57:55

I'm not sure I really understand the situation but me and my exH have changed arrangements to allow for new jobs/career progression/university study etc.

Can't a split week be arranged? We split weekdays - so I have Mon, Tue and Wed PM, exH has Wed PM, Thur and Fri. We alternate weekends. There is only one handover a week (Sat morning or Sun eve depending on whose weekend it is).

elastamum Thu 03-Apr-14 09:00:31

Both my ex and I travel with work. We are very flexible and make every effort to help each other out. We have keys to each others houses and sit down and do diaries on a regular basis. But this only works because we understand each others situation and both get on.

You dont have to agree to the chnages and you havent. On that basis the ex is quite entitled to make other arrangements for care of the DC in their time. That is up to them.

You could help out but you are choosing not to, so on that basis it isnt your business to judge.

OwlCapone Thu 03-Apr-14 09:03:11

Well, I hope you never need to change contact arrangements for anything.

UC Thu 03-Apr-14 09:11:12

I would have been a lot more flexible. Our arrangements with both my DP's ex and my ex have changed due to working arrangements. I think your DP was very harsh in just saying no.

Your DP said no, so her ex has tried to make other arrangements with other family members. Fair enough. She accepted your no, and has come back asking for a compromised request. I think her initial request was also worded very reasonably, and I don't know why you wouldn't even consider it.

We have a system much like nomoretether. But if my ex is away with work, as he sometimes is, we have my DC more to cover. If DP's ex is away with work, we sometimes have my DSCs more to cover. Neither me nor DP ever work away from home, so this is never reciprocated, but that's just how it is. It isn't about that. Sometimes we swap weekends as well if there is an event we want to go to/ex wants to go to with or without the kids.

But your situation sounds more high conflict than mine (I have read some of your other threads). Maybe the lack of any degree of flexibility has something to do with that?

Kaluki Thu 03-Apr-14 09:11:43

What was her reason for saying No?

ruddynorah Thu 03-Apr-14 09:12:34

Why don't you want to change it? Me and my exdh discuss each month ahead as it comes, with a general routine worked out based on both our jobs. If either needs to change we just discuss it and help each other.

AnythingNotEverything Thu 03-Apr-14 09:17:02

I'm not familiar with these Step Parenting Rules, but I think a straight "no" without an explanation is unreasonable.

I think I understand that one parent works a shorter week when she has the kids and a longer one when they're with the other parent. If the other parent doesn't know that then you look like a cow for flatly refusing.

It looks like you need to renegotiate all contact arrangements. It's all about balance - I don't think a flat no is appropriate in this situation.

mistlethrush Thu 03-Apr-14 09:17:56

So - all the allowance for change needs to be met by DP even though she is already having to jeopardise her own work every other week to make the current situation work, why should she make it even worse for herself just so that her ex can have a new job?

The only way I think that you might be able to be more flexible is if your DP did shorter days on Mon/Tues one week and Mon Tues Weds the following and let her ex deal with the end of the week (if it is indeed the ends of the week with the problems) but she has already said no as the current plans suit so why is it her problem?

BuzzLightbulb Thu 03-Apr-14 09:32:27

Elastamum - if I sound judgemental, that's borne of experience and if I tried to convey any history my original post would have gone on forever.

This isn't about career progression or opportunity, it's purely about money. There is plenty of work locally, I am in the same business and also working on a contract basis and the rates are pretty good just now and plenty of work available.

I won't pass judgement on his financial position either, what he spends his money on is his business.

We regularly change arrangements to suit his holiday plans, family events, sporting activities where lifts are needed etc. Not being saintly but we don't ask for the same in return because we don't need to. We have our own commitments during the week we don't have the kids, work being one of the main ones.

nomoretether Thu 03-Apr-14 09:36:53

Ok well with the limited information you are able to give, I would have been as flexible as I could possibly be. It's things like that that mean my relationship with my exH remains amicable (mostly) and that benefits the DC overall.

BuzzLightbulb Thu 03-Apr-14 09:39:47

Mistle- you've hit the nail on the head. DP has a hig pressure job often dealing with many of the issues people on this forum are involved in. There are never enough hours in the day, the emotional toll is pretty heavy and getting some downtime is essential for her sanity. And trust me when I say you wouldn't do this job for the money.

Ex knows this perfectly well, hence the inital 'No'. We both work full time, we're in no easier position than he is in terms of free time.

We're talking about changing what has been working fine for years, and changing it for three months, not just a week or a few days.

Kids are 12, 14 and 16 and have fairly independent, settled school and friends routines. This isn't about getting a young child to a party or a friends house to play.

alita7 Thu 03-Apr-14 09:40:13

flexibility is one thing but it sounds like the ex is saying you have the responsibility of almost full time and I'll have the benefits of shared custody. I'm assuming this change is not possible due to the work situation. We are flexible in the way that if the weekends really need swapping for a good reason it can be done. But this job sounds permenant, not just 2 weeks of different hours or something and ops DP has already got a job that she works around the existing arrangements and would either have to give up her job or risk trouble at work for not pulling her weight in order for her ex to get a new job... surely the job that she already has is the priority? If you can't do it, you can't do it... don't feel bad, if the ex is not asking to swap time but for you to have the kids more with no signjficant planning then they are taking advantage! they have the responsibility of finding childcare in their time as you do in yours.

purpleroses Thu 03-Apr-14 09:43:31

You've a right to say no to changes if they really don't work for you. But personally I'd never do so without first chatting about the need for it and seeing if we could find a solution that works for everyone. Saying no straight off without any discussion is a rather unhelpful way to co-parent your children.

If her ex is single, it may be a lot harder for him to cope without a bit of flexibility than it is for you and your DP who each have each other as back up (and possibly the older DSD too as potential babysitter?)

nomoretether Thu 03-Apr-14 09:44:16

There are never enough hours in the day, the emotional toll is pretty heavy and getting some downtime is essential for her sanity

I would class that as a genuine reason to not offer flexibility but I would offer that information to the ex, even if he's heard it a million times before. Replying with "I would really like to help out but..." is far better than just "no".

RedFocus Thu 03-Apr-14 16:21:42

I don't understand why you have posted? You clearly are happy with your judgement and don't agree with everyone else so this post is pointless.
Fwiw - Would it have killed you to be flexible on this? Let's hope you never need to suddenly change the arrangements and the ex tells you to fuck off! hmm

wheresthelight Thu 03-Apr-14 19:35:41

Whilst I think the "no" could have been justified better I do get why your ex is unwilling to be flexible. And in the same situation I would probably have done the same thing tbh!

We try not to have the need to change contact arrangements (kids are a lot younger than yours) as they find it too unsettling and they are used to the routine.

If it was a request regarding a family wedding or such like then I would say yabu however given the additional info you have provided it sounds like the ex is being a twat and should have given you more time/explanation of his reasons.

Hope you work something out

mumtobealloveragain Thu 03-Apr-14 20:07:06

I don't think "no" without an explanation is in the sprit of successful co parenting. However I can see why you and your DP are reluctant/unwilling to totally change the pattern of care that your DP has worked their working hours around.

Perhaps showing a willingness to be at least a little flexible and supportive of ex's decision to work those 3 days a week away would reasonable.

Even if your DP can't or doesn't want to change her working pattern then could she (or you) not offer to help out on an ad hoc basis when it's convenient for you. Perhaps say you will have the children the Monday nights or help with driving to and from after school clubs/friends etc when it is convenient for you?

Ultimately you DP gets to spend extra time with her DC so if she's free and available to why not have them the extra Monday nights, everybody wins.

Malificentmaud Fri 04-Apr-14 14:37:45

I don't really understand how on one hand you say your DP can't do this because she has to think about getting her hours in at work, but dad is berated for not putting his children before his career?

I genuinely don't understand that.

I also think your DP could have said "I'll find out if I can work out how to factor these changes in to my work and if I can then I will do my best" or something, rather than a flat "no".

I would be reluctant to change my DD's contact pattern because my ex changed jobs as I would expect him to think of his parenting commitments before accepting a new role. Same as I would have to. But I'd still hear him out and see if there was a way around it.

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