Trying to deal with the ex


Scenario in brief - we have a 50:50 shared residence arrangement , week on/week off, (as I think I've mentioned before :)) for DD (7), not court ordered, which for two years or so has worked fine. Ex recently moved over 20 miles away, and now is not allowing her to do any extra-curricular activities that come up as they're "not convenient" for him. The latest example is that she is very keen to do gymnastics, which I mentioned to him. He wasn't happy about it, saying she already has two extra-curricular activities a week, one on Mondays and one on Tuesdays (with him). I said I would do some research and get back to him. Bearing in mind how keen DD is, I searched for a club that had classes on Fridays, thinking that a non-school night would cover it. An opportunity for an assessment came up expectedly quickly, and she did very well indeed, being put at a higher level than I expected.
I emailed ex, explaining everything, times, location (not far from her school), offered to help out getting her there on his weeks, but he's told me it's not going to happen because it's far too inconvenient for him. I tried to explain that it's something she particularly wants, and is very keen to do, but he wouldn't even listen to me.

Am I wrong in thinking that he's being unreasonable on several levels? Firstly, he chose to move more than 45 minutes drive away. Secondly, shouldn't he be trying to promote the things she wants to do? Isn't that part of parenting? I can't help feeling he shouldn't be saying that an activity she wants to pursue is inconvenient, but in fact he should be actively supporting her development.

And what should I do next, bearing in mind the club isn't able to support DD only coming fortnightly as they have a waiting list (which they were prepared to jump her to the top of in view of her aptitude)?

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

Hi there, I'm not sure you're going to like my feedback - but it's only my opinion.

This is why shared care doesn't ultimately work in my opinion - because you want her to be facilitated to do something. Which is commendable, and completely right. And he doesn't. Because of the shared arrangement it's not workable for you without his co-operation, and, in your current set up, I can completely sympathise with him in saying 'I'm sorry, I can't achieve that'.

I have five kids - only three at home now - but with five often I just couldn't achieve something for them that they wanted, many working parents aren't available to do whatever their child desires, or have other commitments, or financial restrictions, or disabilities limiting them............ kids don't always get to do everything they want, and his saying that he can't enable her to do that on a Friday is ok. He can do that.

It sounds as if your daughter is an only child - and is able to be your complete focus. That's lovely - but he is not prepared to be quite as sacrificing as you, and ultimately in the long run no doubt that will evolve to be healthy for both of them. He's setting boundaries that you don't want.

If she lived with you, and he had 'access' then you could arrange for her to go friday's regardless. he could collect her later, or you could drop her over if that was then 'inconvenient' for him. You could negotiate something that would enable her to go.

But she'd lose the 50/50 arrangement she currently has.

I personally wouldn't want your set up - especially if it involved my child in such a huge commute to school every other week. But then I've never made it a secret that I'm not a fan of shared care.

As you have given him shared care, equal responsibility, you also have to give him equal rights, and equal validity with his opinion.

Sorry, but I think he's being reasonable under your current arrangement.

Sorry I totally agree with Corris, I dont like shared residency for that reason.

Only other thing you might be able to try is suggest that you have your daughter every friday night, only problem is he's well within his right to say no as you're breaking your agreement.

I tend to agree with Corris and jac also and that's only my opinion as well, doesn't mean it's right.

why don't you move his 50% to different times rather than every other week?

If he did friday to tues one week and friday to monday the next then you can make regular commitments or arrangements on your days without impacting on his life and he could make regular arrangements or commitments on his days without impacting on yours.

He doesn't have to see her less - just perhaps not see her so much on schooldays now he's moved further away so she doesn't have so much travel time in the week?

If you were still together and he thought that 2 extracurricular activities was enough for your 7 year old, how would you resolved it? Are you proposing that she swap one for another?

If you believe that it is because of the 'inconvenience factor' that he isn't keen, have you considered investigating gymnastics clubs near his house instead of yours?

It sounds like the shared residence arrangement is working pretty well in that you both get some of the weekday drudgery and some of the weekends. Is it really worth upsetting that for another activity?

OK. It’s Ok saying “in my opinion because of this, that or the other shared care/residency isn’t a good thing” However that’s exactly what it is, just an opinion. In my opinion if shared care isn’t going to happen then, as much as is possible, the issue should be addressed pre-conception. Doesn’t every (well Ok almost every) child have two parents? Subsequently I would have though two equal parents post-separation made perfect sense all around. The equal time arrangements you made for your child without the involvement of the adversarial family law system are very commendable JeanJeanie. There are some good points made all round and like many things in life there’s no black and white but a million shades of gray. Something Dads like myself who’ve been reduced to the status of contact parents against their and their children’s wishes are advised to ask want mum_of_m_and_b is saying: “would it be an issue if you were still together?”

I’m acutely aware that many (non)mums help groups will advise you to go for residency in order to ‘put Dad in his place’ and again, for the sake of your daughter, you are to be commended for not doing so. I’d like to think I’d do everything possible for the good of my children. Because he’s rather good I’m making arrangements to take my youngest to mini-kickers football on Wednesday evenings 5.00 – 5.45. It’s nearer to mum’s house than mine At the moment my work will allow for this. Whether mum would take him if I had to work remains to be seen, I suspect not. And whilst you make dad sound somewhat unreasonable all our cases are so different that the last thing I would ever do is pass any kind of judgement either way. Neither would I use it as a argument against what’s ultimately best for your daughter long term; seeing she has two equal parents. Not easy whether separated or still living together.

I think it only makes sense in very exceptional circumstances Tomston, something you seem very unwilling to acknowledge. It's not acceptable nor desirable for a large amount of parents (and I know personally that my son's father would run a mile if I even whispered the words shared residency to him, so don't be fooled into thinking I'm a big bad ogre ex making his life untenable).

Could you email or call your ex, Jean, and ask him if there are any dates/times that are convenient for him for after school or weekend clubs, and then go online and see what's available? Could you find another group that would be willing to do fortnightly sessions? Or perhaps even speak to the group leader and ask if any of the staff would be willing to do fortnightly one on one training?

tomston wrote:
OK. It’s Ok saying “in my opinion because of this, that or the other shared care/residency isn’t a good thing” However that’s exactly what it is, just an opinion.

Just as your opinions are exactly that, opinions

I am not in way trying to hi-jack JeanJeanie’s post. She has a genuine concern for her daughter to which there are no easy answers and I sincerely hope she can sort out the gymnastics sessions soon. Preferably in an amicable way. Extremely regrettable but in some instances it is the big bad ogre mum making contact difficult for dad just because she can. And because she is almost encouraged to so by the current gender bias system.

Regrettably many men accept the false but very powerful societal assumption that if they want to be involved with their children post-separation they should think themselves lucky if mum ‘lets them’ see his children (which by this time have become her ‘property’) for a few hours every other Sunday.

Just as it being considered the right thing that from a very early age children should work (be sent up chimneys, etc.) and women should not vote have been consigned to the dustbin of history (in most countries anyway) sooner or later people will look back and reflect on how foolish it was that the presumption of shared residency wasn’t the norm, rather than the exception, upon separation. For the sake of the children whose lives continue to be damaged I fear it’s going to be later rather than sooner.