How do you organise long distance access for young DC?

(12 Posts)

DP has a 4yo DD, he split with her mum when the DD was a baby. He has a contact order for alternate weekends (when he stays in a hotel and pays for flights too) and 50% of school holidays. He pays child support through the CSA without any adjustment for travel expenses. It costs about £400 a month for him to see his DD. In holidays, he collects her by train or plane and brings her back to our home. He also keeps a car at the airport there, parking alone costs £300 a year. We are all in England but about 250 miles apart. A return car journey from home to collect her and come straight back would take about 9 hours so is not feasible.

RainyDaysandMondaysGetMeDown Mon 04-Feb-13 12:54:11

I am in a similar situation, my DS is 14 months and we recently moved 2 hours drive/train away from ExP as I had no family or friends in the area. I only recently split with ExP and we are still trying to figure out contact. I am happy for him to stay here every other weekend and I will stay in my DM's while he is here, but he wants to have DS with him in PIL's where he's staying. I have said I am happy with this for once a month but I am not comfortable with DS having to have a 3 hour return car journey more often than that.

niceupthedance Thu 31-Jan-13 15:14:04

DS's dad has never lived with us. I moved 2hrs away when he was 11mo.

His father used to come once every 3 weeks, and stay in our house. Then he got a girlfriend and has come twice in four months.

I go and visit his mum (and therefore him as he lives at home STILL) twice a year with DS.

I would rather he didn't stay in my house but realise he is laying out the cash for travelling so I put up with it.

I wouldn't let DS go for a weekend as his father is an unreliable alcoholic and in any case he has never brought this up as a suggestion, apart from wanting to take him to the next World Cup hmm

FanFuckingTastic Thu 31-Jan-13 15:05:52

I do it all myself, and badger him for half the costs. This is the only way she gets to see him regularly. I tend to save any maintenance I do get for the purpose of travel.

I tend to do holiday access for him, so she spends a lot of her half terms and half her holidays with dad. It's just not do-able otherwise. Costs me between £20-£50 each visit.

It gives me a rest, which I am infinitely grateful for, hence why I don't complain much. DD has special needs and I am disabled, so the break allows me to have some time alone.

GingerBeer1234 Thu 31-Jan-13 14:58:49

Thanks so much for everyone's replies, it's very much appreciated. I'm going to think about the move as you all make good points about what might be involved and the fact that it could lead to more problems. Still have a gut it's the right thing to do long term but I have enough time to work it out.

Any other practical examples of how people make things work for them ie: regularity of access, how long for, how overnight arrangements work etc would be very helpful.

Thanks again.

Yummymummy555 Wed 30-Jan-13 21:10:40

Hi gingerbeer1234, I have read your post and I am in exactly the same situation. My ExH packed his bags and left me the day after my sons 2nd b'day. We live down south however im from up north, 3.5 hours away. I have made the very difficult decision to relocate myself and my son back to the area i am from. I have a new job and have new childcare in place with the help of my family. I also have the help of extended family and friends. Staying down south i have my ExH and his mother. My ExH and his mother are obviously very angry and upset at my decision. However as i keep trying to tell them, i am unable to support myuself, run a house, work full time and pay nursery fees all on my own. Disregarding the 15% child maintenance, the living costs far out weight what i earn.
We have not spoke for several months, due to the manner in which my ex left and all contact and communication has been until recently going via the mother in law. Today i met him to discuss finances and contact when we move. My exH proposal is my 2 year old stays for 8 days with him every 6 weeks and inbetween this he will come and see him a couple of the weekends. However he can not guarantee he can take time off work so my son will be left with his grandma (instead of going to nursery as he would do if he was with me). I now have to sit down and decide my proposal back to him. I too am wondering what is reasonable? every 8 weeks for 5 days then him visit in between, or try to work to the school holiday timetable so when my son does start school there wont be any huge upheaval in his life!

sillymillyb Wed 30-Jan-13 20:47:40

My situation is very different, as my ds is only 10mo and he has never lived with his dad - but his df lives in Ireland so a flight away.

We have found every 3 weeks to be the best time frame for us, every 2 weeks he felt was too much travelling, and longer was just too long.

I take less maintenance to cover his flights, and try to email photos / updates every few days of what ds has been up to.

If I'm honest, I would love to be physically closer to ds's dad for both their sakes, I even considered moving to Ireland as I am desperate for them to have a good relationship.

By being further away, you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself to be totally alone, sole carer - it may seem like you will have more support from family, but it doesn't compare (Imho) to having a partner there (though as a disclaimer, I can only imagine this as I have never had a partner with ds around!)

freemanbatch Wed 30-Jan-13 16:47:12

I'm unsure why it would be unfair to move your son away from his friends but it would be OK to move him away from his dad but I am sure it is something you will have thought long and hard about and something you will discuss a lot with your STBXH before you make a firm decision.

You will need to do most of the running as far as making sure contact happens because you are moving away and that could have a big effect on whether the move is really the change you're after.

good luck with it all.

iwantanafternoonnap Wed 30-Jan-13 14:26:27

My Ex walked out on me when DS was 2 he is now 3. Very acrimonious split though. However, he lives 3 hours away. Contact was sporadic due to his social life being more important but it was supposed to be EOW with him picking DS up. He then stopped contact and then resumed 4 months later to only once a month as he couldn't possibly afford to see DS more than that....yet again holidays etc being a priority to him rather than seeing DS. He now has no contact, again his choice as he can't be arsed and doesn't want to waste his time doing a 6 hour + car journey.

I didn't have the time or money to drive DS and flatly refused to anyway as I wasn't the one to move away with OW and I do the majority of childcare so in my eyes(and that of the court social worker) the least he could do was pick him up.

It might be cheaper where you want to move to and I don't how responsible your OH is towards your DS but be prepared for contact to dwindle. Be prepared for having to pay out about £100 a time in petrol taking your DS to his dads as you are the one moving away and if he wants your DS EOW that's £200 a month. Be prepared for a whole world of crap if your Ex doesn't agree with you moving away so far.

My advice is find somewhere closer so you can both come to terms with splitting and your DS can get used to the fact you have split up but not miss out on seeing his dad too much. Then is a year after you have split you still want to move away discuss it then.

GingerBeer1234 Wed 30-Jan-13 14:21:53

Thanks for your reply freemanbatch. I'm not so much trying to move him away from his dad, although it probably seems like that, more just trying to make a fresh start in a part of the UK I know, have some links with, closer to family, will be able to afford etc. If DS was at school, or older, he'd have his own friends etc it would be much more difficult and unfair on him but he's still so small.
You're quite right about STBXH but I've been open with him about it, and he seems to accept it, so far at least. I don't think he's thought it all through yet though sad

freemanbatch Wed 30-Jan-13 13:36:45

do you have to move such a long distance?

There was quite serious DV involved in my break up and my family live two hours away so I am totally on my own here but the kids see their dad reasonably regularly without too much organisation and they seem happy with how things are. I wouldn't have wanted to move them away from their dad even though I would gladly never see him again ever.

Could you not move a shorter distance so your son can maintain a relationship with his dad?

Have you discussed it with his dad? he may not be prepared just to let you drive away with his child and that could get messy.

GingerBeer1234 Wed 30-Jan-13 11:50:40

Just wondered if anybody could please offer me some advice.

I have a 2 yr old DS and am in the process of separating from DP. Basically I'm not sure the best way to organise access at least in DS's early years. I intend to move to a different part of the country (not for DV reasons, just for a fresh start, cheaper property etc), around a 3 hour drive away, but am anxious to keep things OK for DS.

If you have young DC and live a longish way from your ExP, how do you arrange things? Is it weekend visits every week? Once a month? Do they come to you if the child/ren are young, to make it easier on them? I'm not sure we'll be amicable enough for ExDP to stay over but maybe I need to get real, and this would be the best option. If it's for the best, I will of course do this.

Am worried that if he's not seeing his dad every day, it's unlikely he'll want to go and stay overnight with him on his own, on top of a long car drive etc etc, at least while he's small.

I know everyone's situation is different, but I have no idea what is 'normal' access for such a young kid when a fair distance is involved.

I'm just trying to get ahead and informed. thanks so much for any advice.

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