I hope somebody can help me here. I have been divorced now for seven years and myself and my ex have an informal agreement as to how often I see my kids. I have 3 kids, one who will not come to my house and two who will. At the moment I therefore have all of them one Saturday per month - about 12 'til 6, all of them one Sunday per month again about 12 til 6. I then have two of them at my house for one weekend - Friday night til Sunday afternoon.
My ex lives over a 100 miles away from me so quite often she would allow me some use of her house when I was over visiting but she is now married so I can longer do that. My problem is I cannot afford to continue the current arrangement as it would require me to do something with kids every Sat and Sun. My solution is to have the kids who come to my house for two weekends rather than one and then spend one day of one weekend a month with my other child on her own to give a better quality of time.
My ex doesn't want this as she says she wants the weekends to be shared equally, with me having the kids who will come to my house every other weekend. This though means I will barely get to see my other daughter which is not acceptable to me. I can't see them during the week because of the distance between us, and I don't want to lesson the time I see my daughter who doesn't want to come to my house. What rights do I have in this matter? I pay a high level of maintenance which I've never failed to do and always bent over backwards to make things as easy as possible. The children who do come to my house have expressed to me they'd like to come more and that is certainly what I want. Am I within my rights to get more access? I don't want to go legal on this but I could see it going that way.
My kids are 15 and I have twins who are both 12. The twins are constantly asking to come more often to my house both at weekend and at holiday times, and while the eldest won't come we still have aclose relationship.
Im only going by experience but if your x wont let you have the children more, then i would apply to the courts. As i said they will take the childrens wishes into consideration. At least you will be able to plan holidays and activities. But on the other side of the coin, the children are coming to the age when they will want to see their friends at weekends and maybe do some club activities. Is there no way you could move closer to your children as you seem to have had a good relationship with your x so far and it would be a shame if it all went sour because you have to turn to the courts.
Madabout has made some very good points especially about their ages and wanting to do their own thing as they get older. I would take up the offer for the twins to stay 2 weekends per month before they get older and decide they have something better to do - no offence but they will develope loads of activities that are hard to compete with, trust me I have the same problem with a 13 year old.
I think the 15 year old is another problem and I dont know how you can tackle it. Yes you could take the matter to court but it would be better to come to an agreement with your Ex. What other contact do you have ie regular phone contact, e-mail, texts? Why wont the 15 year old come to your house? I have the same problem with my 13 yr old, he wont set foot over my door. I see him for about an hour per week when I nearly have to wring a conversation from him. Maybe its his age but that doesnt make it any easier.
Sorry I dont seem to have given you any advice but I so hope you get it sorted.
I agree completely that they will begin to want to do their own thing and I know the clock is somewhat ticking as to what I can do with them. I guess that's one reason why I want to make sure I have max time with them while I can. For the moment they do love to come to my house and have been asking to come more frequently - I think part of this is they feel uncomfortable at the moment because they have a new home situation and perhaps feel a bit more grounded with me at the mo. (hey look at me giving myself the old big up )
Regarding moving house, yeah, I'd love to move closer but it would take me a long way from my job which isn't that transportable and cost money which I simply don't have. My ex moved out of the area a few years ago, otherwise this simply wouldn't be a problem as I could visit during the week as I used to. Maybe if I win the lottery etc but it's not a viable option for me.
Tinny, at the moment, I see my eldest for 2 days every month and we may have an hours walk and chat when I drop the twins off at the weekend. They are pretty precious times as you can imagine and to see them reduced does make my head swim quite a bit. While I do know a 15 year old doesn't want to spend loads of time with her dad when she has a load of friends, she is always quite forward in asking to spend time when we do see each other. The solution of 2 weekends though factors her out completely which isn't fair on her or me. She stopped coming to my house when I met someone new, though she did come for a couple of times she must have found it pretty tough which I fully understand. I've never forced the issue but I think so much time has passed now that it is hard for to go just because of the fear of what people may say and how uncomfortable she may feel because of that. I still hold out hope that one day she'll decide to come along, it'll be a good day when it does.
I'm sorry you have a similar situation, sometimes it can wring your heart I know but things do change if you believe they will.
There is no particular contact arrangement that suits all families and I think the aim should be to find an arrangement that can work for all the individual family members. Staying contact alternate weekends is a reasonable request but, if I've understood correctly, what you propose would involve your children only being together once every four weekends and your ex would only have them all one every four weekends so perhaps you need to find a compromise.
I think you are very wise to avoid court if at all possible. mediation is one way forward or you can negotiate through sols. This doesn't need to be confrontational, you just tell your sol you want to find an amicable resolution to the problem.