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What is fair in this situation(53 Posts)
I have 2 dc at university - I haven't seen them since September due to all of us at some stage either having coronavirus/lockdown/self isolating. My son is in his first year and has SN. We all can't wait to get back together for Xmas. I alternate Xmas with their dad and it's my turn this year .
Dp has 2 dc in primary school who we see every other weekend and then occasional other days/weeks in holidays. Up until mine were at university, we would alternate weekends so we never had all of them together.
I have 2 places - a small flat in London, where I work, which is my dc's home. I also have a house in the middle of nowhere (around 2 hours from London) that coincidentally is about 20 mins from dp's dcs so we stay there when we see them. In lockdown, I have WFH from the house as it's bigger/has a garden etc.
The problem is when my dc get back, they will go home (London) and I would like to be there to see them. I don't want or need to come back to the rural house till after Xmas when my dc will go and see their father.
The issue is dp's dcs. In the few weeks I will have the kids leading up to Xmas, 2 of the weekends are his dc weekend. Dp's ex refuses to let dp have the kids unless I am there (she thinks he's a shit father, he's not tbh but I don't want to get involved in their disputes). Dp told me today his plan is to bring them to London but tbh the flat is way too small (ds's room is a box room, dd has a bigger room but still not huge) and also I really want to see my kids and I work FT so will only really have the weekends to see them properly and I think having 2 primary school kids in the flat together with all of us will be too much (and there is nowhere for them to sleep!). I've said he needs to tell his ex he will have them on his own at the rural house while I spend a few weeks with my kids which he says she won't allow.
Dp is upset - he hasn't said I'm being unfair but I can tell he wants me to compromise. I feel like I haven't seen my kids in ages and I'm only asking for essentially just over 2 weeks with them! So am I being unfair?
No of course you’re not being unfair. They’re the children’s parents, they sort contact between them. It’s shocking she doesn’t trust him but it’s not your problem.
Should also say that post Xmas, we will have his dcs till they go back to school - I have no issue seeing them or spending time with them, I just would like some time with my adult dcs!
Thanks @AnneLovesGilbert. I'm feeling a bit mean tonight because it's likely if I put my foot down, she'll deny him contact till after Xmas but I really feel it's unfair on my dcs if I don't do this
Can he not just say you'll be there to her? You don't have to tell her everything
Imagine the situation being explained at a family court. Do you think it would fly for her to deny contact on the basis that you’re not present?
He needs to sort his shit out. It’s not your problem, you didn’t create it, you can’t solve it, and it’s certainly not your responsibility to protect anyone from the consequences of it.
What a piece of nonsense.
Is the house in the country big enough for everybody? Could the compromise be that everybody including your DC's go there? (I know not ideal)
Does your DP have his own house? Who owns the house on the country? (Not that it has any bearing on the situation but just trying to get a full picture.)
YANBU at all, but it seems that you're going to struggle to just see your own DC's in London without being blamed for causing issues elsewhere.
I think he's worried the kids will say something @dementedpixie but yes, tbh I think he should. He's a perfectly good father and has been brilliant with my dc.
Does he have a formal agreement for contact? It’s ridiculous he hasn’t worked to clarify being able to see them without you being present. You aren’t there to chaperone.
Maybe this is the push he needs.
So see your kids and leave him to work things out with his ex or take her to court
Althogh I wholeheartedly agree that this is really your DP's problem to sort out.
Does your DP not have a home of his own to see his kids in? What did he do before he met you?
He isn’t sounding great tbh OP
All the places are mine and dp was renting when I met him
Rural place not really big enough (still only 3 beds - I had both places before meeting dp). My dc will want to be in London to see their friends and I will be at work so it's just easier for us to be there.
Yes that's it @TokyoSushi
I was going to say what PP said. He doesn't need to tell her you're not there. She has no right to insist you are.
You are not being unreasonable in the slightest and this is not your problem. Does he not have a home at all? Why hasn't he sorted out the issues with his ex before it coming to a head like this? Could it be because he likes having you there to do half the parenting whenever he sees his kids? Have to agree with @hangnailing that he's not sounding great
Yes he was renting his place but before he met me, she insisted on being there when he saw the dc.
She has made up allegations about him - one time they were with us and one of them fell out of a tree (they were actually with me in the garden not their dad!) and she was utterly furious and wrote a complaint about us not taking due care of them and took the injured child to the GP to log the injuries.
She's really bloody difficult (and I really rarely say that about other women).
Dp fought it for years and years and got nowhere. He can't get legal aid and I think he feels he gets to see them now at least without her and doesn't feel he will win the next battle nor can he afford it
(Not a high tree btw - they were climbing on a low branch and one slipped - I was right there but just missed catching her and she only had a graze and a bruise on her leg!)
This is ridiculous. What grounds has his ex to say who is there when he sees his kids? Why does she think he is a shit father?
See your children.
How long have you been with him and how long have you lived together?
OP, it sounds as though your partner wants to mislead his ex and make unreasonable demands on you. If he is afraid tone truthful with his ex that is his and not your problem.
Your children have a right to expect to see you during the holidays and that time should not be encumbered by or with your partners much younger children.
Your partner sounds a bit childish himself. What kind of man is afraid to assert his right to keep and care for his own children? Maybe the ex is correct about his maturity level.
Did he not take his children before he met you?? They must have had some arrangement where he had them in his own. He really shouldn't be letting the ex dictate the arrangements like this.
He saw them but she insisted on being there.
We've been together 3 years, living together for around 18 months. They broke up 7 years ago.
She has lodged documents with lawyers alleging he's neglectful. He has fought this but it ends up being his word against hers. This was years ago. She can afford lawyers, he cannot so he's just compromised seeing his dcs under her rules. If he pushes back, she just engages lawyers and he can't. She has alleged that he is an alcoholic etc all sorts.
He doesn't need legal aid if it goes to court. He can represent himself. If he's been through court and has been granted unsupervised contact they won't remove it without good reason. He needs to stop letting her bully him.
She's using threats but a court would probably be the best thing to knock this on the head. If he split from her 7 years ago the DC are old enough to have a say.
I think he does let her bully him btw. No way I would tolerate shit like this from my ex (not that he would ever try it!).
Thanks all - I do feel better hearing your views. I'm just going to insist I do my thing and he can sort himself out with her.
Do you not want to spend Christmas Day with your partner, though? I think there’s a compromise to be made here e.g. your children stay mostly in London; you go to them for some of the time including the two weekends so that you can have non-working time with them; you all spend a few days over Christmas in the country together; none of this is discussed with the ex in advance.
Does he not see that sharing a small London flat with teenagers is not compatible with younger children? They could be out drinking with friends, coming home late and making noise, waking the younger ones etc. (Possibly not with lockdown but they could have a few drinks at home especially over Xmas and New Years) and the older ones are probably going to want to relax, not be surrounded by smaller children.
Don't let him make you feel like the one being difficult. His suggestion is unrealistic and unfair on everyone involved. I would suggest not mentioning to the ex and him possibly lying a wee bit and saying you had to pop away for a night to see your older DC at short notice..
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