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long distance visiting plan for a toddler

  • opera_lover
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10 Jul 12 #342220 by opera_lover
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My toddler is nearly 2.

I left my ex before she was 1 due to domestic violence and moved permanently in with my mum (her gran) - so we live 6 hours away from my ex - and this is the only home she has ever known as I frequently had to stay here even before I left due to troubles with my ex.

My ex didn''t want children and showed little interest in my daughter until we moved out. Since then he has visited her frequently (about every 2 weeks) - driving up here to see her and staying overnight. I have paid for his acommodation (at his insistence).

She''s now stayed with him for 1 night about 5 times - just down the road from me - always in the same place where he''s visited her for the last year. She seems ok when she comes home but takes a few days to settle back into a routine. She''s generally doing very well, despite everything we''ve gone through, which I put down to her having a lot of stability as I''ve always looked after her as a full time mum. My ex dismisses that routine or stability is of any importance to her - so he visits her on different days each time and never gives much notice.

I''ve also taken her down to see him and his family occasionally - even though I think the journey is really too much for a toddler - and my ex is often abrasive and unpleasant which makes seeing him very stressful. We missed the last planned trip down because she was sick and my ex has been continually angry about that.

He''s pushing for her to make the journey down to see him and stay there without me for 3-4 nights at a time - for both of us to drive half way.

I was thinking it would be better to wait until she has started nursery (when she is 3) and has that structure in her life as well, then for her to start with 3 nights but work up to 6 nights - in her holiday time so she isn''t doing such a long journey or having to deal with the transition between homes quite so often.

I''m conscious that she has a lot of developing to do in the next couple of years - potty training and so on - and next year she will also have to adjust to having a new baby in the house.

I''ve seen alternative suggested long distance plans on the net of 1 weekend a month. Whilst she is only doing nursery rather than full time school, she could presumably stay a 2 night weekend e.g, Saturday to Monday or Friday to Sunday. But this would have to change when she has school on Mondays and Fridays.

So is it less stressful and less disruptive for a toddler to do a long journey and stay away from home once a month for 2 nights or once every 2-3 months for 4-6 nights?

My ex is resistant to seeing her at weekends because he likes to keep them free to meet up with his friends.

Anyway, my question:

Is it reasonable for my toddler to do a 6 hour journey and stay away so far from her mum and her home.

What age should she start making that journey and staying with him on her own?

Would it be easier on her to do the trip to him once a month, saturday to monday (2 nights)

or, once every two months (to fit with school holidays), staying 4-6 nights?

  • hattiedaw
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10 Jul 12 #342225 by hattiedaw
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I''m no expert but it seems an awfully long way for a tiny tot to have to go.
I think I''d insist Dad got to know her a bit more with regular contact (eow for 2 nights close to you) and when she starts school at 4 then perhaps she''ll be ready for an extended visit in the school hols?
As I said though I''m no expert.
Who is expecting the new baby? You or your ex?

  • For real
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10 Jul 12 #342236 by For real
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Your child has a right to build a relationship with her father. You as her mother have an obligation to facilitate that.

He has made the effort to come and see her (albeit with you paying his accommodation). She will have to get used to the travelling at some point and children are well known for the ability to adjust. I personally would encourage 3/4 days once a month. But then thats just my opinion. Your child will cope without you, are you prepared to cope without her.

  • ffc1991
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10 Jul 12 #342237 by ffc1991
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I''m kind of in the boat of what your EX is. My EX partner chose to move 200 miles away after we split up. In court i''m going to be fighting to have my daughter on alternate weekends. To also come back to where i live to see my side of the family etc. Ofcourse i know this won''t get granted straight but that''s my goal. May i ask is the 6 hour trip there and back total? or each way?

I can see alot of your points which has also made me think a little. But then my EX partner was the one who chose to move away that far so why should i let up wanting that contact with my daughter?

Good luck all the same hopefully the best outcome comes out for all of you

x

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10 Jul 12 #342239 by opera_lover
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I didn''t feel I really had a choice about moving. My ex bullied me into moving down there in the first place and then when I was pregnant he kept throwing me out and I''d end up back at my mum''s.

Its 6 hours one way if I drive. If I take a train its still about 6 hours if I take into account the journey to/from the station each end.

I''ve felt that I''ve bent over backwards to allow him contact - I''ve never refused a single request for him to visit - even though he refuses to stick to any set pattern or agree dates in advance. I even end up paying for his food and accommodation at this end because he insists that is my responsibility and I wanted to make sure she was somewhere safe and the same place each time he visits so she keeps some sort of routine.

I''m not advocating that he stops contact - just that the way it is now isn''t working and I don''t know what''s best to propose or how to convince him - his attitude to every interaction is that he is the victim and that everything I say is wrong.

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10 Jul 12 #342242 by ffc1991
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I didn''t mean to come across badly if i did. Your circumstances are a lot more complicated than mine and my EX partner is trying to stop contact out of spite. The fact it''s 6 hours 1 way imo then means yes that''s quite a way to far to drive for a child of that age but children do seem to adjust fairly quickly. If he could do it during a nap time and stop for breaks it''s doable. If he stuck to arrangements it does show a decent level of commitment also to travel that distance.

Have you spoken to your EX partner about moving closer?. You should also not be paying for your EX partners accomodation etc as far as i''m concerned. Travel costs could possibly be split imo depending on what each of you both earn. But he''s no longer your responsibility. I travel

I''ll be hopefully transfering Uni''s this year to be closer to my daughter but shall see if that comes to light :).

  • happyagain
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10 Jul 12 #342243 by happyagain
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Every situation is different. But what I can say is that my 2 year old occasionally stays with her grandparents for a few days at a time. They live a 2.5 hour car journey away so she doesn''t see them that regularly. However when she does see them, she remembers exactly who they are and is happy to see them, sometimes so happy with them that she doesn''t even notice mum or dad hasn''t been around for a few days!!
Children are very flexible at this age, I divorced my ex when my older daughter was 3 and she went straight into the pattern of alternate weekends and 5-6 days holiday weeks. It may actually be harder to change routine when she starts school as suddenyl then things like bedtimes, homework, clubs come into play.

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