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Shared Custody mum trying to force what I do on my days
#1
Hi everyone, so me and my ex split several months ago and decided it would be best for our son if we had shared custody, nothing formal in place just informal agreement, we decided to split the week 3 days then 4 days and then alternate every couple of weeks which has been working quite well.

The trouble is it is now the Summer holidays and for the days that I have our son during the week and am working (work 9-5 Monday to Friday) I have arranged for him to go with my mum & dad to look after him. My ex takes issue with this however as she is free during the day in the week and argues that I should ask her to look after our son whilst I am at work, arguing that it is better for our son to be with his mum than anyone else (not something I disagree with in principal).

What I don't like about it is that they are my days and I should be able to do what I want with them and have our son looked after by who I wish (and deem appropriate of course). We keep discussing this and are both refusing to back down, our conversations usually end in very emotionally driven arguments at which point I usually try and hang up (advantage doing it over the phone) as they are not productive in the slightest.


My questions are am I wrong in my feelings that on my days my ex can't decide what I get to do with our son? I guess it is not so clear cut as that. Also if we ended up going to court what would the outcome be? Though I plan to avoid court at all costs so am more curious on that point.

Lastly it isn't like I am not opposed to her having him sometimes when I am at work, last Friday it was my day but she looked after him during the day whilst I was at work.

I am just not sure where to go with this so any advice will be appreciated.
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#2
Ask yourself how you would feel if it was the other way round.
If it was 'her day' and the son went to the in-laws - if you're comfortable with this then there is no reason she shouldn't be comfortable with it as well, if you'd prefer to have him if possible if she cant on her day, then you can see her point

I have a similar situation where my ex has had complete breakdown in relationship with all grandparents - her side and mine - but i wouldn't let her dictate if my children can see them or not / appropriate for them to be looked after

Just be careful not to confuse 2 slightly different issues... One issue is her telling you what you cant and can do with your kids on your day, the other issue is her supporting you with childcare while you are at work over the holiday period.... slightly different so probably need 2 different solutions.
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#3
Thanks for that advice, luckily this event (if you could call it that) is now over but I wanted to post what happened and my thoughts in case they are helpful to someone else in the future as I realised a fairly massive mistake I was about to make.

In the end the advice you gave didn't help too much, we couldn't agree and I felt like she was just throwing her toys out of the pram because I didn't choose her to look after our son when I was at work on the days we had agreed I would have him, we agreed that we couldn't agree and chose for her to have sole custody (as the Mother is generally considered the best choice by courts etc, which is another discussion for another day) and I would drop him off to her on Thursday as he was with my parents until then, though I had originally agreed Friday and offered Thursday as a compromise. This was on Sunday night. Also our son is called Thomas, he is 6 years old, I am going to refer to him by name below as it is easier to explain.

After an absolutely terrible Monday at work I was pretty raw from the whole subject but going to accept it, my parents themselves separated when I was about 2 and my dad always had accepted it head on had never shown hate or any negative feelings towards my mum or step dad since and we have spoke about it a few times. On Monday what really got me was when I had to pop down to my mums to drop down an extra t-shirt for Thomas. I wasn't going to tell him or my parents about the decision, I would in the future but I didn't want to ruin anyone's day and it occurred to me that this would almost certainly hurt Thomas so much more. I know that he struggles with the fact that me and my ex are split up as it is and I am soon going to be moving house as well (another thing he is finding difficult as he very much considers where I live his home) for him to find out that he wouldn't have a home with me in my new house and I would only see him every now and then would hurt him a lot. In all seriousness I wasn't thinking about what was best for Thomas at this point, neither was my ex come to think of it. It isn't that we actively ignored him or his wishes but I think that we let our emotions of the situation take control and get the better of us, something you read about all the time (especially whilst I was reading about the subject of joint custody) that you need to put the child first before yourself, no matter what the child comes first.

Luckily taking the time to actually walk down to my parents and then back up (about 7 mins each way) I came to realise this before it was irreversible and I decided to write a letter. My ex had always liked getting letters, it shows effort and I am pretty terrible in a conversation anyway so writing it down helps to focus my thoughts better. I wrote that I would concede the point for Thomas and that whilst I don't agree I would accept what she wanted so we would remain having joint custody. I also wrote that I despite me conceding on this this is not a dictatorship and she does not get to dictate what I can and cannot do with Thomas when I have him and a few other things. I posted it through her letterbox the next morning before work and didn't speak to her for a couple of days. Fairly nerve racking they were.

Next thing I knew a couple of days later she was asking if I could look after Thomas this weekend whilst she is at work (the irony of the situation did make me laugh) and when I dropped Thomas off to her on Thursday she apologised and I apologised as well and as it seems things are fairly back to normal, as normal as normal gets anyway after a break up involving a child anyway. I feel I should point out my ex always wanted to have a joint custody agreement as it is the best for the child, that fact and my letter I think are what brought us back from a place neither of us wanted to be.

After that rather long post I suppose in summary at the end of the day the child comes first. There is no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice in conceding as much as I hate to do it my son is going to have a better life because of it Smile
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