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Has this child contact arrangement got a hope in hell of working?

14 replies

bowlingalleyblues · 25/05/2023 06:24

Potentially splitting. Is this fair/have a chance of working?

If we do arrangement would be me (mum) staying in house with kids 7 and 9, him moving to live (free) with his mum 5 miles away.

My suggestion is that we do every other weekend Friday 6pm to Sunday 6pm.

Then also 3 nights midweek he comes from work, picks kids up, brings them home to our current house, gives them dinner, does bedtime. I would be either out at work or be at home but leave the bedtime to him.

So he cares for them 8 nights a fortnight, I do 7 (but I’ll do all the mornings, school runs etc). I will also be paying all costs, he is on a low income so I wouldn’t ask for maintenance.

I can see a few issues with this, like what happens with kids clubs on Saturday mornings (they are in two different locations so just now we each take 1 child) and missing the kids when they are away, and me feeling more and more like he’s in ‘my’ house or him feeling tired of having to travel over to us after work (although he already does have to do this cos he lives here).

Help! It’s the issue of me working longer hours and him being a low earner that’s made me come up with this cos if we do ‘he pays me maintenance and I work fewer hours to pick up the kids every night’ then I can’t afford the bills!

OP posts:
Weallgottachangesometime · 25/05/2023 06:47

are you saying he’d have the kids at your family home? If so I don’t see that working long term, unless you are uniquely extremely amicable. I think over time you would both want more space and separation. Especially if either of you gets new partners or have a disagreement that makes being in others space difficult.

what is the situation with home ownership. Do you jointly own the home?

Is it not possible for the children to stay with him at his mums on the 3 nights he has them or is there not space?

I could maybe see this plan working as an interim first plan to get through - but not long term.

Singleandproud · 25/05/2023 07:08

It's best to keep the house separate as it confuses the children.

What you are suggesting puts him in the role as Primary carer which may have additional consequences.

It would be better for him to collect the children from school and take them to his mums and you collect from there, this would also m

Singleandproud · 25/05/2023 07:09

Posted too early.

This would also mean he would be paying the food bill at his mums (or she would) which saves you a bit.

You will need to look into other childcare arrangements or adjusting your hours if you don't want to fall into him being the primary carer.

SD1978 · 25/05/2023 07:28

I'm genuinely don't see how this could work long term objectively, but also don't know your specific circumstances. Why wouldn't you have him doing overnights at his mums (if he can) than having him in your home- especially as you've said at times you'd be home whilst he was doing dinner, bed, bath whilst you were actually there? What's he proposing?

Ilikepinacoladass · 25/05/2023 07:37

I don't think it works the other parent coming to regularly/ often coming over to do bedtime, you'll start to get on each others nerves and he'll feel like he needs to tip toe around in 'your house'. Can't he take them to his mum's and you pick up from there? Is there no other after school solutions ie childminder, after school club, friends or family?

bowlingalleyblues · 25/05/2023 07:54

Thanks for replies-
-he is proposing staying living together but not in a relationship until kids are teenagers, so even more likely to go wrong in my opinion

  • his mums is too far to come from in the morning for school, so midweek sleepovers aren’t practical on a long term basis. He starts work early.

-my work isn’t 9-5, i do have flexibility to finish early 2 nights a week, but need to be able to stay out later a couple of times a week in order to get certain business (self employed). Actually I’d need to finish at 4:30 to get back in time for the end of after school club.
OP posts:
Weallgottachangesometime · 25/05/2023 08:20

If he is the one with better aVailability for school pick up and evening care, would it make sense him staying in the home with the children? Or is that not possible because of his income?

I guess if that isn’t an option you could do your plan of him coming to the home for 3 months and then use that time for you both to find a workable solution, look at job changes etc?

Circe7 · 25/05/2023 09:57

I think that the responses you get on this will mostly be negative because most people wouldn't like it because they don't get on well enough with their ex to want them in their house regularly. The arrangement you're proposing inevitably leads to a fair amount of contact with your ex.

There's a "traditional" model of parents separating where you move the children between two houses and parents don't really speak to each other but it doesn't have to be like that. I think parents can, to some extent, choose to co-parent amicably if both are on board with that. But it does mean putting your feelings about the past relationship aside, which can be very difficult.

I don't see why what you're suggesting can't work in principle. I actually think it could be quite beneficial to your children to be able to go back to their own home on weeknights and not need to move between two houses. There is still structure to the arrangement you suggest so it doesn't need to be confusing. Your children also get to see that you can co-operate and parent together (assuming you can - obviously if you're going to argue this isn't going to work).

Another option to consider is you each taking one child for part of the weekend if they have clubs etc. I read a book about child arrangements which suggested each parent taking one child every third weekend - I thought this might be a nice way to ensure each child gets one to one time with each parent, which is otherwise difficult as a single parent.

And nothing is forever. Children's needs change as they get older. You and your ex might find new relationships. Your ex might presumably get his own place at some point. So maybe be clear that you are trying this to see if it works and if not re-evaluate.

You might find it difficult having your ex in your space sometimes, though if that's the way you start off you may just get used to it. And there's probably benefits to you in terms of it being easier to manage working as a single parent. (I'm a solicitor and really struggling balancing work with children during the week right now. My ex is a bit flaky but will pick children up and take them back to mine if I really need him to, so annoying as it is to have him in my house, the few occasions where he has done it have probably saved my career).

bowlingalleyblues · 25/05/2023 10:31

Thank you all for each of your responses, they are really helpful to read as I go round with it in my head. I accept they point out the negatives and that's kind of what I was looking for with my rather negative title. At the moment I would say we aren't getting on but still care about each other and like each other - I think we've always worked well as a parenting team, but don't see our future together as a couple. If we're going to split, I'd rather do it before resentment sets in.

I would love to know about the book you read @Circe7 where you say: "Another option to consider is you each taking one child for part of the weekend if they have clubs etc. I read a book about child arrangements which suggested each parent taking one child every third weekend - I thought this might be a nice way to ensure each child gets one to one time with each parent, which is otherwise difficult as a single parent."

I hadn't even considered that as an option, but I think that would be a brilliant balance.

OP posts:
Ilikepinacoladass · 25/05/2023 13:57

I guess there are a few potential options

Change jobs so you can be their primary carer and pick up from school/ after-school club,

Get an au pair / nanny

Their dad moves nearer the school, so they can sleep over there in weekdays

Or the option you're suggesting where you basically both share the house to look after the kids. Could work! I would question how well you're finding it after a year or so, when potentially other partners come into it, and when you may be having disagreements about child maintenance/ parenting styles etc etc etc. You might not want to share the house with him, even for short periods of time.

NeedSleepNow · 13/06/2023 17:55

In theory it could work but I think most people wouldn't rant to do it this way.

I have remained in the family home with the children for the last 2 years, ex rents nearby. He legally still owns the house jointly with me (I pay the mortgage and all bills though) so he chooses to spend a lot of time here at the former family home because he knows he can and I can't do anything to stop him. It drives me mad, I hate having to see him a lot still, I can have no boundaries and the kids find it confusing, often asking if Daddy is here so much why can't he just sleep here and live with us again. I think it depends on your relationship really, and how happy you are too spend time with him and have him in what would become your home.

Some people have two homes with the parents swapping rather than the kids, giving the children security of one home but again I don't think this would work for most families.

Could the children not stay overnight with him at his Mum's house midweek rather than him coming to yours?

altmember · 14/06/2023 01:07

I think 3 evenings during the week is a bit much. One, maybe two would be better. And 5 miles to do the school run in the morning doesn't sound that much, so maybe one night overnight during the week would work?

CherryBlossomAutumn · 14/06/2023 01:13

Not a chance I’d say would this work!

It all sounds like the father is trying to see how he can not pay maintenance, not have a decent home himself for the children to come to, not even have his own home so rent free with his own mum, who he’ll probably call into do a lot of childcare. It also really glaringly seems to be the father not wanting to accept that separation does mean not seeing his kids every day.

What it doesn’t seem to be is thinking about the kids, their future stability with a mum who will house, feed and clothe them and therefore needs money and backup.

Freefall212 · 14/06/2023 01:19

Typically the expectation would be that you sell the house and divide the assets. One person being relegated to a living environment where they can’t have the kids isn’t fair to the kids. It creates an imbalance and the court usually focuses on equalizing that imbalance so the kids can have 50/50.

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