Custody/Co-parenting?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-07-2014
Custody/Co-parenting?
8
Fri, 03-07-2014 - 11:56am

My ex-husband and I have been divorced for almost 2 years now.  We get along very well and live about 5 minutes away from each.  We have a 9 year old daughter and 5 year old son...who in my opinion seem to have adjusted quite well to the divorce.  We have split custody, so my ex gets the kids Tuesday and Thursday nights and every other weekend.  On the weekends that I have the kids, he gets them Sunday night and vice versa.  Yes, it is a lot of back and forth; during the week, they are pretty much switching homes every other night, which I understand can be very confusing.  However, when we mentioned trying out a schedule of 3-4 days straight with one parent at a time, our daughter was upset and said she doesn't like going that long without seeing one of us.  Also, she has always, on her own, called whichever parent she is not with to tell them goodnight every night.  We have never forced her ot do this, it is just something she has always done (even when she spent the night with friends/family before we were divorced, she would call home to tell us goodnight).

I am dating someone now that has an 8 year old son and lives 45 minutes away from him.  He gets him every other weekend, and very rarely sees/talks to him except for that.  He thinks the way my ex and I co-parent is very odd and "unhealthy and unstable" for our kids.  He believes that the kids should be with me all week and go to their dad's every other weekend, as he and his ex do, because they need the stability of primarily being at one place every night during the week.  He also thinks it's odd that my daughter calls every night and that there should be "separation" to where when they are dad's, they are with dad and no reason to call me unless of an emergency and vice versa.  He thinks it is just too confusing for them and that we've never created a "separation of households" with them. 

To a point, I undertand what he is saying, but this is what we have done since we separated and we believe it works for us and don't see any point in changing something that isn't broken.  As I have told him, I divorced my ex, not my kids and I don't want them to feel like I'm not their parent on the days I am not with them, and same for their father.  I have plenty of friends that have exes that do not want to be involved in their children's lives at all...so I have a really hard time telling my ex that he can't seem them during the week.  However, my new boyfriend seems to think that, as an outsider looking in, that they aren't as well adjusted as I seem to think and that it is only going to cause them damage in the long run because of all of the back and forth confusion. 

So I just want some advice/feedback, especially from parents that have been divorced much longer, as to what custody arrangements you had and how you feel it affected your children. 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Fri, 03-07-2014 - 8:01pm

My SIL is 33, and his parents have been divorced for 30 years.  His family is absolutly one on the best examples of how good co-parenting turns out good kids.  His mother and father both remarried, and both parents, as well as both step parents, were fully involved in raising, and disciplining, the kids.  As were all the various aunts, uncles and grandparents.   They did not live close together geographically, since the step dad is in the Army, but they were constantly in contact, and the kids spent as much time as possible at ALL the various homes and with all the extended family.  All the kids graduated from, or currently are in college.  The graduates all have excellent careers.  At my daughter's recent baby shower, there were OVER 40 people just from her husband's FOUR families, including 2 grandmas and 1 step-grandma, all in their 80's, all in wheelchairs, and all sitting together thick as theives, knocking back mimosas and bloody marys!!

My husband and I are close to our kids, and our families.  We talk to our kids daily to weekly.  We see them and their families constantly.   We are also close to what remains of our extended families.  *MY* sister-in-law (of my deceased brother-in-law), I, and my granddaughter visited my husband's ONE remaining aunt/uncle, monthly, in the nursing home, till she died recently at 96.

My kids felt most comfortable dating, and eventually marrying, people with the same family relationships.  As my younger dd put it, "they get us".

If the man you are dating is not on board with the way you & your husband are raising your children, and if he is not raising his children in a similiar manner, you REALLY need to decide if having a relationship with him is worth RUINING the relationship you have with your kids and your ex. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 03-07-2014 - 8:03pm

I think your BF is the one who is wrong in this situation--wrong not because his custody arrangement is different, but because it's really none of his business what arrangement you & your ex worked out and he shouldn't be interfering in something that is working.  And it must be working because everybody is getting along, your kids aren't in counseling, etc. (I really think you & your ex would be the ones to know if your kids were not well adjusted.)  I wonder if he feels guilty for not spending more time w his kids and he is projecting onto you or being defensive.

I got divorced 17 yrs ago when my kids were 7 & 1--they are now 25 & 18 and I would say they adjusted as well as could be expected to the divorce--not that they never complained but they were never in counseling and I can see as an adult that my dd (the 25 yr old) has a very good relationship w/ both parents.  She lives out of state and when she comes home to visit, she will make sure to spend time w both of us.  I had primary custody because it was not practical for the kids to stay overnight w/ their father during the school week--at first he worked overnight and then he worked all kind of weird hours.  But he lives about 20 mins. away.  He would normally take them 2 nights a week & every other Sat. night (because he usually had to work Fri. nights).  We were always very flexible about changing the schedule if someone needed to.  We always went to any kind of sporting event or school event or parent teacher conf--both of us and if it was a school event , we would sit together (sometimes w/ my ex's new wife or my 2nd DH--we are since divorced).  My kids usually didn't call me when they were at their dad's because they weren't there for that long but if they were home w/ me sometimes they would call him or he would call them--I would never put a stop to that.

I am a divorce lawyer and with all the nonsense I've seen, I think you & your ex are handling things the right way.  The only way that kids are confused is if the divorced parents go back & forth about being together or if your ex started sleeping over your house or something odd like that.  I can't emphasize enough that what you are doing--getting along and making sure the kids have a relationship w both of you--is going to make for healthy kids.  (I don't blame people whose exes are unreasonable and they can't do this.)  I can't imagine being a father who goes 12 days w/o seeing his kids who doesn't call them during the week.  45 mins. isn't that far that he couldn't at least visit for dinner during the week that he doesn't have them overnight.  I'd start wondering why he doesn't see his kids more.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Fri, 03-07-2014 - 11:18pm

I agree with the others.  This isn't a problem for you, your children or your ex husband.  The problem is the boyfriend who needs to keep his opinions to himself.  Just because his arrangements are different than yours, doesn't make him "right" and yours are "unhealthy and unstable".  Your children are doing fine, you and your ex get along, and he's the odd one out.  I see no future with this guy for you.  He's trying to tear down the relationship that you & your ex & your kids have......he's probably jealous that you get to see them more often than he sees his child, and the child doesn't even call him when he's with the Mother.  This man is critical of something so important NOW, just imagine how he'll be if you take the relationship to the next level.  I say dump him and find a man who accepts you and your arrangements as what you and your family have worked out, and are thriving with.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Fri, 03-07-2014 - 11:19pm

I agree with the others.  This isn't a problem for you, your children or your ex husband.  The problem is the boyfriend who needs to keep his opinions to himself.  Just because his arrangements are different than yours, doesn't make him "right" and yours are "unhealthy and unstable".  Your children are doing fine, you and your ex get along, and he's the odd one out.  I see no future with this guy for you.  He's trying to tear down the relationship that you & your ex & your kids have......he's probably jealous that you get to see them more often than he sees his child, and the child doesn't even call him when he's with the Mother.  This man is critical of something so important NOW, just imagine how he'll be if you take the relationship to the next level.  I say dump him and find a man who accepts you and your arrangements as what you and your family have worked out, and are thriving with.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 03-08-2014 - 12:02pm

I'm sorry to keep blabbing on here, but I do have more to add.  My 2nd DH was a widower so he had no experience dealing with an ex.  He would make comments about what he thought my ex & I should be doing--we used to share the pickup and dropoff duties and he'd say why isn't your ex driving all the time or something like that?  Well we were doing this for years befofe the new guy got in the picture and no one was asking him to drive, so why not just stay out of it?  Or another time, my son, who was young then, invited his dad to play basketball with him in the backyard.  My 2nd DH was irritated at that because it was not "his house any more."  Well it wasn't like he was inside the house snooping around in our things.  So of couse my son heard this argument and his response to me later was "Why does K (2nd DH) hate dad?"  So I agree that you need to be very cautious about someone who will not just accept that you know what is best for your kids and who seems to want to interfere with the good relationship you have with your ex.  Now my 1st DH remarried a long time ago and I have never had any problems with his DW. It's not like we are best friends but I appreciate that she has always been nice to my kids.  In fact, my son is 18 now and his dad was out of state for a few weeks recently--he still went over to see his SM a couple of times.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Sun, 03-09-2014 - 12:28pm

I'm a big fan of Dr.Phil because he "tells it like it is"!  I've studied some psychology, and can read people pretty well.  I thought of you llast week when Dr.Phil had a repeat show on.  It was a divorced couple who were constantly fighting about who gets the kids and when, and then the father was telling the kids that Mom uses drugs, all kinds of bad things.  Even HIS Mother sided with his ex-wife.  So far, not the problems you have........but towards the end of the show, his new fiancee joined in.  She started putting her two cents worth in, obviously coached by the b/f, and Dr.Phil looked at her and told her to "mind her own d....med business".  He said how those two handle (or don't handle) their children had nothing to do with her.  I'm telling you this to reiterate what I said in my first post.........your b/f needs to butt out because what you and your ex are doing works for YOU and for your kids, and he can like it or not like it, but it is NOT HIS BUSINESS!  I don't see a good future with him because he's so opinionated about YOUR business.  If he's that way now, it will get worse as your relationship goes on.  Good Luck. 

Community Leader
Registered: 09-25-2003
Mon, 03-10-2014 - 8:03am

I would be concerened because your bf is more concerned about himself that your children...that's a red flag, that I guarantee you, will become a bigger and bigger issue if the relationship continues.  It sounds like your boyfriend wants you all to himself and doesn't want to share you with your children.  Your first responsibility is to those children and there well being.  And I am venturing to guess that your bf does NOT like you are handling this well with your ex.  Another red flag is that your bf lives so far away from his children and sees them every other weekend.  The two of you are obviously on "different pages" when it comes to parenting.  He knows very little about what is healthy for children, and that fact alone, is very damaging to not only his own child, but to yours.  OUr children learn from our own actions, and if he has already verbalized his thoughts to you, that same attitude is already being communicated to your children....that will become louder and clearer to your children as time goes on.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2014
Sat, 03-15-2014 - 11:47pm

Thank you very much Priest Ajigar for i never thought any thing could make my husband come back to me as his wife again after he broke up with me and left to settle down with another woman who never Knew how we both suffered and share feelings together in USA but thank God today i was lucky to see this great spell caster on a site after seeing a lots of testimony and good work he have done in the lives of people helping them to get their ex,husbands and wife renewing their relationship i was convinced and i contacted him and just in 3 days after the spell was casted my beloved husband came looking for me and right now we are together again and he is taking care of me and the little kids as his responsibilities and family.I advice today if you are looking for a real and powerful spell caster just know that Priest Ajigar is a very powerful and a genuine spell caster and he don't do dark or black magic here is his email(priestajigarspells@live.com)