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How often does your contact arrangement change?

(24 Posts)
SarahH12 Fri 13-Oct-17 10:08:52

Over the last 12 months, the contact arrangement for DP and his 5 year old DD has changed so many times. This time last year he had her every Saturday and one night a week. Then around Christmas time it got switched to every other weekend Friday evening to Sunday evening. Then DP's ex constantly pissed around with contact, "forgetting" to drop her off on a Friday evening and then insisting he has DSD Saturday morning to Sunday morning every weekend. After Christmas his ex switched it again to Friday night to Sunday night eow and stopped midweek contact.

Now she wants to switch it again back to saturday morning to Sunday evening every weekend.

Poor DSD doesn't know whether she's coming or going. DP has said no to this most recent change as there have been so many changes recently it's not fair on DSD and also switching to that arrangement means we get no weekends to ourselves.

How often do contact arrangements change? I'm just wondering what's normal really.

5had03 Fri 13-Oct-17 15:34:57

Poor girl, it sounds as thou Mum is doing what suits her needs and not her daughters.

It shouldn’t change at all if possible, although the odd swap of course from either parent is ok to help the other parent out.

Your DP needs to have a chat with her and discuss a proper arrangement in which doesn’t change apart from the odd day here or there if needs be.

5had03 Fri 13-Oct-17 15:37:24

I must say thou that you cannot really expect to get full weekends to yourself. He has a child. I agree you should get a day at the weekend to yourself say eow thou.

What have been mums reasons for all the changes?

SarahH12 Fri 13-Oct-17 15:40:43

Sorry but I disagree with this statement.

I must say thou that you cannot really expect to get full weekends to yourself

Why shouldn't separated parents get a weekend to themselves? There's no reason why both parents can't each have eow off and is a very common arrangement.

I totally agree the odd swap is fine. No reason has been given, just that she thinks the current arrangement isn't working.

5had03 Fri 13-Oct-17 16:03:44

Every situation and arrangement is different but I feel that if parents stayed together you don’t get eow weekend off from a child so it shouldn’t be expected that you do because you no longer are with your child’s Mum/Dad

My SS is at ours every Saturday and Saturday night and twice during the week, he quite often stays the Sunday too if he wants to and is always welcome.

All I’m saying is you shouldn’t expect eow ‘off’ from your child or DP’s child

5had03 Fri 13-Oct-17 16:06:10

Like I said thou, I agree that you and DP should have some couple time too but from what I understand you have every evening of the week?

5had03 Fri 13-Oct-17 16:08:05

Eow and no weekend contact is a long time for DP and SD to go without seeing each other. I am guessing you and DP don’t go this long without seeing each other?

5had03 Fri 13-Oct-17 16:09:22

No Week day contact I mean**

SarahH12 Fri 13-Oct-17 16:15:40

I get what you're saying about parents being together. But why not take advantage of having that time alone when there is the option. Most people I know have every other weekend. Her mum won't let her come over in the week which would be what we'd like but she refuses.

No we don't go that long without seeing each other but the point is his ex is asking to change the contact arrangement yet again! DSD reacts badly to change and here is her Mum wanting to change the contact arrangement again even though it'll have a negative impact on a poor child stuck in the middle.

The contact arrangement has been working for months for us and DSD. There's no need to change it other than her Mum being selfish.

5had03 Fri 13-Oct-17 16:18:33

I understand that and my very first post to you was to say I felt for your DSD and that I thought Mum was very unreasonable.

I was just giving my opinion on the other comments you made also

5had03 Fri 13-Oct-17 16:19:38

Mum should most definitely not keep changing the arrangements. It does need to work for Mum and Dad but most importantly It needs to work for the child who didn’t ask for any of this

Butterymuffin Fri 13-Oct-17 16:20:17

Can you try and get it agreed through some more formal agreement? Having it all at the behest of the mum isn't fair if she keeps messing you all (including child) about, but you need some leverage to avoid her doing whatever she wants.

TeeBee Fri 13-Oct-17 16:25:48

Our contact arrangement has not changed in the 2.5 years we've been apart. We sat down and worked through all the options based on what would suit the kids the most. However, we both cover each other for work trips/meetings/holidays. That way, if the other wants to do something or can't have the kids, we just swap days or whatnot. That way, there is fluidity but generally the kids know what they're doing and when. Its not fair on them to keep switching, they need to know what to expect and how to organise themselves. However, this does rely on a general level of respect for each other. Do they have a decent relationship that they could negotiate if things crop up, rather than changing the contact agreement?

user1493413286 Sat 14-Oct-17 17:04:49

Ours hasn’t changed since Dp and his ex split up although both are flexible in swapping weekends if we’ve got something on or if she has or a family event we want DSD to come to.
It’s not fair on children to do that.
Also I agree that it’s fair for you to get a child free weekend as that’s what she is getting. It can’t be compared to having your own children. You’d also imagine that she would want some weekends with her daughter.

Belleoftheball8 Sat 14-Oct-17 17:13:53

Depends on a few factors if the contact is changing

Your dsd age? If the dm is changing to accommodate work commitments? It wouldn't be unreasonable to share in the childcare provisions as she's the RP if that's the case.

I think you need to have some element of flexibility occasions come up e.g weddings and should work both ways.

My DS has gone to his DFs after his martial class till Monday as they are visiting a friend in another city. There has also been an occasion where I've collected DS early as they are at a wedding.

The biggest thing you will have to consider is the fact your dsd might be active in hobbies which might affect when contact take place, friends birthday parties and genuinely may want to see friends as she gets older. You have the majority of weekday evenings together not having a full weekend together eow isn't going to kill you.

Starlight2345 Sat 14-Oct-17 17:17:48

Is Mum giving any reason for the change..If I was Dad I would ask her to go to medication to try and get it more formalized..

Could DP pick her up on a Friday to avoid mum "forgetting"

AccidentalyRunToWindsor Sat 14-Oct-17 17:44:52

I would say you would be incredibly lucky to get 'alone' time.

We have my DSC every weekend, always have done. Not going to lie and say it was easy but 10 years in and it's our norm.

SarahH12 Sat 14-Oct-17 18:13:40

Tried mediation in the first instance. DP was the one who asked for every other weekend as he was fed up of his ex swapping and changing for no reason and wanted stability for his DD. She requested mediation as she thought DP was BU and they ended up agreeing eowe at mediation.

DSD doesn't have any hobbies as such. She used to go to swimming lessons but it turned out ex wasn't taking her on her weekends so it didn't seem worthwhile financially funding lessons that she only went to half of.

Birthday parties, weddings etc DP is more than willing to switch for. Like some of you say, some element of flexibility is good.

Ex doesn't work, hasn't for the last 8 years or so, so no need to switch for work related purposes - which if it was for work would make total sense.

DSD is 6.

No other reason has been given except ex feels it's not working. I don't understand why you wanted to spend some time at the weekends with your child. Yes okay she sees her all week but that's not exactly fun time. If it were me I'd at least want every other weekend with my child. It's hardly quality time seeing them until 9 am on a Saturday morning and then not until after 6 pm on a Sunday evening every week.

Starlight2345 Sat 14-Oct-17 19:13:59

I would proceed to court in this case.

Why do you think she is swapping.

Unless any other Issues EOW and one night a week ( depending on how far you live away from DSD school is reasonable.

Aeriefairy Mon 16-Oct-17 00:37:45

My dp’s arrangement through court order ( because his ex kept messing about with contact and refusing contact for no reason) is eow in term time, with 2 after schools every week, then half of all hols, half terms handover on the Wednesday lunchtime. Eow arrangements picks up where it left off prior to a holiday eg. Last term time weekend before summer with us, so first termtime weekend back after summer with mum. This arrangement is court ordered so doesn’t change unless dp and his ex agree a swap or something for mother’s/Father’s Day etc (on the rare occasion she agrees to a swap!!)

SarahH12 Mon 16-Oct-17 09:33:24

How does it get enforced with a court order? Say he gets the court order and then she still tries changing it / refuses contact, what happens then?

Sadly his ex lives too far away for school drop off in the week to be feasible sad

Aeriefairy Mon 16-Oct-17 09:56:14

Sorry I should have been more specific -after school contact is teatime so from school pickup til 7pm where mother collects from agreed handover point.
She too moved far enough away to refuse my dp to have dss overnight and drop off at school in the morning. We hope to move closer soon so morning dropoffs are viable!
He’s had to apply to enforce three times in three years, twice because she cut off all contact and the most recent because she was refusing contact willy nilly mainly after school contact and not letting dp collect from school on Friday if it was his weekend and she insisted on bringing dss at 1830 instead confused absolutely nonsensical and what for? For her to feel in control I assume - don’t see why else she’d use her own fuel when the father of her child has asked if he can pickup after school ahead of weekend contact!
In our experience (though dp would disagree but he’s emotionally involved) I believe the family court are fair and hear everyone out. They aim to put the child first and although we would absolutely love to have dss more, and be able to do morning drop offs at school and “normal” day to day stuff we understand it’s better for dss at the moment to be returned to his mum on school nights. Generally I feel there’s little need for representation in family court (unless there’s serious allegations made as was the case in the beginning with dp, where his ex alleged him of everything under the sun and she was found to be telling porkies) you aren’t in there trying to prove innocence in a murder trial or trying to prove you didn’t steal from a bank etc..it’s about your children and wanting what’s best for them which is usually a relationship with both parents smile
I highly recommend a court order to get contact in black and white, this will make your lives easier to plan (I’ve got a family planner for 2018 already marked every weekend contact and school holidays! Anally retentive but very useful grin) and also means more stability for the child as they have a definite idea as to when they’re with either parent!

Aeriefairy Mon 16-Oct-17 10:07:36

Court do now require the parent making the application to have seen a mediator first, you’ve said your dp has already tried mediation so if you search for C100, that’s the form you need and it’s £215 court fee to apply. Get the mediator who saw dp to sign page 19, and file it with court. Your dp can fill in on the form why the order is being applied for and what is wanted e.g a stable arrangement for dsd like eow and half holidays, most orders have a sentence at the end like “and any other arranemenrs the parents can agree between themselves” so that swaps for special occasions etc are still doable.
I know it seems drastic and it’s always better if the parents can agree between them, but in situation such as yours where no one knows if they’re coming or going having that piece of paper allowing you both to make plans for yourselves and dsd is a godsend. And as you’ve said, it is beneficial to her to have weekends with her mum too, as this is quality time without school getting in the way!

Aeriefairy Mon 16-Oct-17 10:10:42

Also on dp’s order it is ordered that Easter Sunday alternates each year (2017 with dad, 2018 with mum) and Christmas (last year was Xmas eve with mum, back to dads evening of 24th staying til 5 Xmas day and back to mums for Xmas with her) so child gets to enjoy those days with each parent and the rest of the holidays are agreed between dp and ex ( sometimes with great difficulty)

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