Our 50/50 custody
has gone really well for past 7 months of us living apart in two houses. ( Over one year separated)
On Monday 22nd August, my ex husband collected the boys as normal, as it was h is day. He then phoned 4 hours later to say he was ill and I had to have them until he was better. Its depression and he has a 'reaction' to the tablets. Despite him using his mum and step-dad and occasionally his sister to help out on a normal week of having them , I have just been told to have them until he's better. This is not idea for the children - they don't understand and miss their dad- and myself who works full time as a teacher (and I have little to no money as he hasn't financially settled after a year, after mediation
etc. and I'm paying a lot of rent until he buys me out of the marital home.)
What do I do? Im really tired, as I've had the boys 3 weeks now ( 2 week block in the summer to match his two week block when he was on holiday with them). I feel like I'm being held over a barrel. Im hoping this is not a long term thing, but am feeling anxious about my 'right' and the boys are upset they can't see him!!!
Please help. Do I involve solicitor? I can't drop children off if he's not well but I need an 'end date' for this!
I'm not that familiar with shared care and am not in a position to advise you on the legalities. But I do have a STBX who is a recovering alcoholic and has bouts of depression. When he is going through a particularly bad patch it is mutually agreed that contact
with the kids should stop and resume when he is feeling better. I think it is far more upsetting and confusing for a child to see a parent who is suffering mental illness than it is to not see them for a while. Depending on the child's age you could explain that their father is unwell and that this is a temporary measure. The child's best interest has to be the main issue here and I know when my husband had a bad patch of depression he couldn't even get himself out of bed let alone look after three children.
I wonder if you could ask him to agree to some child maintenance
to cover you increased costs whilst he is unable to provide his share of the care for the children?
Thanks- that is what I was thinking, He keeps messaging the boys ( 13 and 10) to say come and see him but when they went on Sunday for 3 hours, they were both very upset and sad because they didn't understand why he was ill. I told him to go through me, as it's confusing for them, but he hasn't.He gave me £70 for last week but I wasn't sure whether I should ask for 'days in lieu' when he's better. I've obviously got used to 50/50 and now its hard putting things in place to 'mop up' and I can't afford much after bills are paid. But I'd like the boys to make up the time with him, as they love him!
Thanks for your time x
I really hope this is just a temporary set-back and that the children's father is getting the help he needs. Hopefully he will get the right balance of medication soon and you can go back to the normal arrangement, which everyone was happy with.
School holidays are pretty full-on and there is little respite for a single parent, so I can understand you must be feeling rather overwhelmed.
Have you tried to explain the situation to the children. They may understand more than you think and to get some information about depression may help them understand what is going on (I certainly think this would be something worth considering for the 13 year old.)