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Children of separated parents.

(25 Posts)
Bopeep14 Wed 25-Mar-20 21:11:17

My son has children with his ex who he usually has once a week for a few hours.

He has to drive an hour to get them and an hour to drop them back off.

He also has a little one with his present partner.
His other children both come into the most vulnerable because of health issues.

He has taken the decision to not see them until the lockdown has finished, as he feels that transferring them from one house to another for a few hours a week isn’t worth the risk of them getting ill, as his partner is a key worker so still working.

His ex doesn’t see it like that and is demanding he has them as normal, and is threatening him with non contact of them if he doesn’t carry on as normal.

Who is being unreasonable here?

Oopsadaisy3 Wed 25-Mar-20 21:20:18

It doesn’t matter how far it is , they are his children who I imagine look forward to seeing him , just once a week for however long he can manage to have them.
Is he concerned about them being ill? Or concerned about his partner ?
We could be in Lockdown until September and to be that long without seeing their father as they are unwell will be so hard for them.
Can’t he drive to see them and take them somewhere for the afternoon, then go back to his home? As the weather is picking up an afternoon in the park would be nice for them, even if just for a short time.
I think that the mother has her childrens best interests at heart, it must be so upsetting that their father is humming and hahing about seeing his children.
I get the feeling from your OP that you think that your son is in the right and that his ‘demanding’ ex is in the wrong.
I think that your son is being unreasonable, and I feel sorry for the children.

Bopeep14 Wed 25-Mar-20 21:34:08

He is concerned about them being ill, also the little one.

That’s just it he can’t take them anywhere you are only allowed out for a short period of time to exercise or walk a dog.

What would he do with them for 8 hours, with no facilities open, I don’t know where you live but the parks are closed here.

He has even offered to spend the time with them at her home, but she won’t have that.

notanan2 Wed 25-Mar-20 22:35:50

I can see both POVs TBH. It is the mother who will be left explaining the fathers absence to the children and she is the onw with the children and best able to assess whether they will cope okay with a change from usual contact or not

paddyanne Wed 25-Mar-20 22:48:41

He needs to keep everything as normal as possible for the children ,they must be his priority .He can take them home to be with their half sibling .Michael Gove confirmed these arrangements were fine just yesterday.As long as the children are all healthy and the usual hygiene advice is followed they will be fine

MissAdventure Wed 25-Mar-20 22:54:07

I must say, I thought the rules seemed rather lax regarding some of arrangements parents have worked out.

Grammaretto Wed 25-Mar-20 22:55:38

I can only say I would be very sad to be one of his children. They will grow up thinking he doesn't love them. Does he?
If he can drive to see them, he can surely take them out for a drive and a talk and a listen. Come on - Of course he is being unreasonable. Only an hour's drive? I spend 5 hours in a bus to see my DGC.

Callistemon Wed 25-Mar-20 22:55:55

But his partner is a key worker. Does that means she is working for the NHS or is in contact with people who may have COVID19? It would be very risky for him to take them to his home. If she is, he could be carrying the virus without symptoms and transfer it to them and therefore to his ex-wife too.

I think he is being sensible and perhaps Facetiming on a more regular basis would be a good idea.

However, it has been recommended officially that children who are subjects of shared access should continue to see both parents so he may have to take the risk.

MissAdventure Wed 25-Mar-20 23:12:14

I think its very easy, as a mum (and probably as a dad; I wouldn't know, having never been one) to perceive things as personal slights on your children.

It may be just a knee jerk reaction on the mums part. Perhaps she'll reflect and see reason, and be prepared to at least communicate about it.

notanan2 Wed 25-Mar-20 23:13:20

An hour each way isnt a long drive and travelling for contact arrangements is allowed. The children could spend a good 6hrs of quality time at his home.

I actually agree with the ex that if he's not going to bother now it may as well be a clean break. Would be kinder & less confusing than leaving her having to explain his "buts"

Callistemon Wed 25-Mar-20 23:19:39

It's not that he is not going to bother notanan. I don't know how you interpreted it as that.
He is probably in what is termed a dilemma

From how I read it he is worried about them becoming ill as his partner is a key worker.

Does no-one realise just how serious and devastating this virus is?

Bopeep14 Thu 26-Mar-20 09:03:28

I know an hours drive isn’t long that isn’t the issue he has been doing it for 4 years to see his children.

Yes his partner is an nhs worker, so more chance of catching the virus or being a carrier than the majority of us.

His eldest child has a heart problem he is really worried that if he gets the virus it will be devastating.

It’s not that he is not bothering quite the opposite he trying to protect them, but obviously some people on here as well as his ex think putting them at risk is a good idea.

Like Callistemon said does anyone not realise how serious this virus is?

sodapop Thu 26-Mar-20 09:19:16

It's a shame that 'adults' are using this a stick to beat each other with.
I agree its unwise to put all the family at risk by travelling and being in close contact with different people. Time for the parents to put their own feelings aside and work out how best this can be managed with minimal risk.

Jaffacake2 Thu 26-Mar-20 09:57:12

I posted a thread a few days ago about the problems my daughter is facing with her ex and contact with the children. He is still working and not self isolating. She feels that whilst in lockdown the children would be at risk staying with him at his mother's home. His family also are not following government advice on self isolating.
Yesterday she ended up phoning the police as he was so abusive on the phone and threatening to take them anyway. They just said to go on government guidelines about separated parents access to children throughout the crisis but to contact them if he becomes aggressive.
The president of the Family Division of the High Court Mr McFarlane has stated
" Even if some parents think it is safe for contact to take place,it may be entirely reasonable for the other parent to be genuinely worried about this.
If one parent is worried that moving their child would be going against public health advice the may exercise their parental responsibility and vary the arrangement to one they consider to be safe, even if the other parent does not agree. "
Where this is the case family courts would expect parents to facilitate contact by video chat or phone.
Hope this may help in this tricky time.
The children's health must take priority .

Feelingmyage55 Thu 26-Mar-20 10:03:59

Perhaps given the seriousness of the child’s health problems and that mum is in the NHS, the children would be safer living with dad in the meantime. Given that the schools are closed that would not be an issue. Mum could visit the children at Dad’s home.

notanan2 Thu 26-Mar-20 11:14:28

As I said at the start, I see both POVs. But as OP is only seeing her sons side that side is covered, so have looked at it from the other side

The way I see it from her POV is that as well as all the stress of dealing with being front line, having kids home more, scared kids anyway etc her ex is now adding to her problems by leaving her to explain to kids why dad isnt coming even though its allowed AND she is the one who deals with the fall out.

He should figure out some way to go, even if its just to wave at them from the end of the drive.

Otherwise he is dumping a lot on the shoulders of a woman who is already heavily burdened.

Summerlove Thu 26-Mar-20 11:34:55

Why is he only able to see them a few hours a week?

It sound like there is more to it here.

Now that schools are out, would your son be able to take them for a week at a time? That way he isn’t leaving the children to their mother to take care of the whole time, and he’s removing them for a week instead of just a few hours.

I understand that his current partner is a key worker, but the kids are still his kids and his responsibility.

Grammaretto Thu 26-Mar-20 11:50:05

notanan that is sound advice.
I apologise for my rather harsh post earlier.

It is a very tricky situation and nothing ever encountered before.
A handle to grab on could be the fact that everyone is in the same boat with this lockdown and as long as DS is keeping in close contact, even remotely, he can allay their worst fears.

You don't say how old they are Bopeep but hopefully old enough to understand.

Callistemon Thu 26-Mar-20 12:48:37

I do see, notanan but they don't appear to be tinies and I did wonder if he could chat to them daily or twice daily on Facetime or WhatsApp and explain to them without scaring them, why Daddy can't see them for a while, he loves them and can't wait to see them again soon.

They can chat about everything they have been doing and show him online too.

Anyway, they will have to sort it out themselves and, we hope, come to an amicable arrangement.

SalsaQueen Thu 26-Mar-20 12:59:10

My son doesn't live with his girls (8yrs and 5yrs). They live with their mother. He usually has them every other weekend (he lives here with us, so the girls stay here in their own room) and for a couple of hours after school. The mother says she's not going to let him (or us) see the girls until after all this Covid-19 has died down. My son misses his children like mad, but he's doing what the mother wants and is keeping away. He Skypes them though, and the eldest one texts me.

The government rules are that children with parents who live apart CAN travel between the 2 homes.
The announcement the UK was entering a three-week period of lockdown which meant people could not travel between households led to concern for many parents last night (Monday, March 23).

For parents who have separated and do not live with their children, there were fears they may be unable to see their little ones.

But it has now been confirmed children whose mum and dads live separately can visit them during coronavirus lockdown,

Hull Live reports.

Following some confusion, latest Government advice states: "Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes."

Bopeep14 Thu 26-Mar-20 13:02:25

Thank you all for your replies.

I shouldn't have to explain but i will, when they first split up his ex wouldn't let him see the children it took a long time for her to agree he wanted 50/50 custody but instead he got one night a week and every other weekend.

When he met his current partner and they had a child together she cut all contact again and its taken a while to get to now.

Thank you jaffacake2 for your post, thankfully he has face-time, so will be able to talk to them.
His ex has already sent him a schedule of when he can do this.

One thing that has been suggested by his partner is he rings or writes to the child's specialist and asks his advice.

Hopefully it wont be too long before we are back to some sort of normality, but for that to happen more people need to follow the rules and take this virus seriously, which is not happening at the moment.

Stay safe and well everyone.

grannyactivist Thu 26-Mar-20 13:34:35

These can be especially tough times for separated parents, emotions are running high and people are anxious and oftentimes scared. Every situation will have its own nuances and a past history that informs people's current thinking and responses.

Bopeep14 it seems that your son's primary worry is that his 'at risk' child should be kept safe. The child's mother seems to want to maintain the status quo in regard to visits. I think the advice to talk to the specialist is sound and in the meantime perhaps he could increase his online contact and also think of imaginative ways he could use this time; read the children a story, show them a magic trick or science experiment etc.

My own son and his ex-partner are co-parenting and their child has always spent half of each week with his parents in turn. They are determined to maintain their current 50/50 time with their child for as long as it continues to be safe to do so.

Bopeep14 Wed 01-Apr-20 10:58:59

Just an update my son has been talking to the children on a regular basis and they seem to understand the need to stay at mums.
He has while talking to his children found out mum has a new partner who is flouting the rules and having friends over for games nights.
He is understandable angry, and has reported it.
I do so wish people would follow the rules.

Toadinthehole Wed 01-Apr-20 11:10:24

I think your son is right unfortunately, even more so now his ex has a new and irresponsible sounding partner. Thank goodness for Skype, FaceTime etc. I pray all this will be over soon.

eazybee Wed 01-Apr-20 12:36:37

I can see both sides, but for the sake of the children I think your son should continue to visit his children, but see them in their mother's house. For the sake of the children she should allow him in to the house to spend some time with them; these are exceptional times and both must make adjustments. He can't take them out anywhere. She could go out for exercise or do shopping even if the time is reduced.
If she refuses, he needs to make the offer in writing, as she is threatening non-contact, and he may have to prove he wished to maintain contact.
My daughter's partner and his ex-wife have worked out flexible arrangements, even though it was an acrimonious split; both are agreed the children come first, no matter what.