My ex and I separated 2 years ago and agreed joint custody of our son ( mainly as my ex doesn't want to pay maintenance ). My new partner and I have bought a new house but it is not in school catchment however, as my son wants to stay at the same school, I intended to drive him to school on the days he is with me so he can stay at the same secondary school.
However, my ex has now said that he intends to go to Portugal and other trips regularly and when he does this the childcare will fall to me as we have no family nearby. My ex states that our son will not be able to wait at the house until I return from work. This leaves me with a huge dilemma. My son doesn't want to change school, but I have no other child care provision if my ex goes away. I work full-time and dropping hours financially is not an option. If we change school and my ex goes away my son can wait at our new house until I return from work.
I don't know what to do? I don't want to mentally harm my son but feel torn. If my ex would let my son wait at the house the problem would be solved, but he won't budge.
Please help... I feel terrible. If I'd known his plans we wouldn't have bought a new house so far away but for multiple reasons we can't pull out of our house sale
It sounds as though you know the answer which is to change school.
Is changing school harmful to the child? Not really. It can cause disruption at more times than others e.g. half-way through GCSEs but children are able to cope with things as they don't have the need to focus too heavily on issues beyond their control.
An argument I see for contact disputes is that children are unsettled by changes in arrangements which can include a change in residence or moving house. This is always an excuse to prevent another party from having contact/residence. In reality, parents make decisions to move house, change school, move country etc. if it suits the parties. The children roll with the punches and move on.