[Solved] Boxing Day Blues
I suspect this post will fall into the 'thinking aloud' rather than 'get solution' tray as I probably know the answer, but it is sometimes useful to air one's problems in adult company.
My son (aged 11) lives with me and with his mother roughly alternate weeks under a SRO (actually very slightly more time with his mother, which is what she would agree to in order to get CM - which seems bizarre under the CSA rules but I dutifully meet my statutory requirements, and that is not the point of the moment). The arrangement works passably well from week to week, and it is certainly better for my son than the alternative of living entirely with his mother.
We are required to sort out a residency schedule between us, I drafted the latest version last summer (going forward to Easter 2016), allowed a month for comment (of which there was none) and published it (to the school &c). My son's mother has respected the schedule until recently (we have even swapped the odd day here and there to suit her). My son is with his mother for Xmas this year (we alternate years) and the scheduled handover date was to be on Boxing Day (exactly 11 days with each of us during the break). Recently she decided that she would keep my son until the 27th, I offered her the chance to come up with a compromise, she offered none, and just says she will retain my son for an extra day (he told me he did not want this before the holidays started, but I'm unable to contact him during the periods he is with his mother).
Like many women, my son's mother just assumes she is able to do whatever she likes with her child, regardless of his wishes or a court's direction, and (unfortunately for my son and I) it seems that she is right. This is a civil matter, so I cannot have the police enforce the schedule, she knows it is not worth taking this back to court for one day (and to be honest that would be a waste of a court's time).
So, what do I do? I've made it clear that I have not agreed to a change in the schedule, I suppose what I do is I turn up (only 4 miles away) to collect my son on Boxing Day and either there will be no one home, or she will not hand him over. I suppose she will probably return my son on the 27th (she probably will not push her luck too far) and will have made her point that she is able to do more or less what she likes (this is a control issue: a demonstration to my son and I). What do I do after that? Well, I suppose I write to my son's mother to record that she has not observed the residency schedule, and tell her that I'll claim an additional holiday day with my son some time in the next year (it is frequently the case that he does not want to go back to his mother's house, so that would not be difficult to justify). What else do I do: just accept it I suppose.
I don't suppose anyone reading will have any answers. The shared residency arrangement we have is about as good as the state will allow any fathers to have, it works passably well from day to day and my son is growing up pretty happy and well adjusted. I get treated like a second class parent all the time, whatever the law says should happen, and I dutifully do what the state tells me I must do (i.e. cough up money).
Best wishes for the New Year to all.
...I think you've more or less summed it up Othen, I don't know that there's anything constructive that I can add.
Your son is getting older and her behaviour will only serve to drive him away inevitably... and as you have shared residency, if he decides he's had enough and wants to live with you, it will be easier to achieve.
I do hope she thinks again and makes him available at the agreed time, but like you I won't hold my breath.
All the best
I was more or less thinking aloud, but it was kind of you to comment and let me know I'm not suffering from the dementia.
If I keep concentrating on being a good dad I hope it will all turn out okay in the end.
You are a great dad, you put your boy first always and do your utmost to keep things on an even keel....I'm sure you will reap the rewards one day and it may be sooner than you think....lets hope so anyway.
... needless to say, there was no one home when I called to collect my son yesterday. Just imagine what would happen if this was mumsnet and a father had not handed over a child on time (I would probably be reading about it in this morning's Telegraph instead of doing the crossword).
Ho hum. I'll write my son's mother a letter to record the facts... that will show her!
...you should have your boy with you by now and can get down to celebrating Christmas, albeit a little late, but I'm sure you will both have a great time.....Enjoy! 🙂
My boy is home until 9 January now 🙂
Excellent it's great you've got him until the 9th I'd just take incidents like her keeping him for a day on the chin and note it down what had happened I find picking my fights serves me well as long as contact is going well just crack on you're son won't be daft and will know whats going on and I'm sure he will vote with his feet like I'm hoping my daughter will in years to come it will defo come back to haunt these crazy mums in the future I'm sure of that 🙂
You are right there Mr Slim.