20 Answers

Just wanting to hear how other mummy’s cope with shared custody? In my situation there is nothing legal in place but a mutual agreement that the father will spend 4 afternoons with his son a fortnight. But he so often fails to turn up or cancels last minute and it’s driving me insane. Do you recommend mediation?

Posted anonymously, 1st April 2014

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  • Uh oh. Disappointing for your child and frustrating for you. I would work out a roster. If hubby doesn’t turn up on time, or misses a visit altogether, then it’s his loss. Stress to him the importance of his visits to his child and the importance of turning up when expected for you. If he still stuffs up, mediation for sure

  • This is very disappointing for your child. I really don’t know what the solution is if a parent doesn’t turn up. I hope it has worked out for you and your child over the years.

  • We agreed that parenting is a shared responsibility and we would only fight with each other, not over the children or in front of them.
    If the father is not a responsible parent, I would definitely look at mediation but there is no guarantee he will turn up.

  • Thankfully I have never had to face this situation. Sometimes the mothers of the children can make it very difficult for the fathers by not turning up to arranged meeting too. It works both ways from what I AM TOLD. Try and have a heart to heart with the dad and stress how important it is that the child wants to see daddy. If this does not work you may have to take other measures. Avoid mediation like the plague. It is so unfair most of the time.

  • How heartbreaking – I hate it when grandparents say they will visit and we tell my daughter and then they cancel – but the parent! Deeply disappointing! Hope you were able to resolve this problem? I think legal aid offer free advice

  • I definitely recommend mediation and have some sort of order in place. He is obviously not mature enough to do it as ‘friends’ and needs to know the seriousness of the situation and how this affecting his son.

  • I would definite keep note of that and that is sad for your son, i hope it gets better

  • keep a diary of these times and note the trauma, that way if you ever need to go back to court you have it all documented

  • I think mediation is the way to go. That way, you can speak and voice your concerns with someone else present and see if the situation improves.

  • You need the get this legally done, so if he keeps doing this, you can push for full custody

  • Perhaps mediation may help. In my situation I wish I had had a legal agreement in place from the start. Trying to be nice and not have a legal agreement came back to bite me. 6 years down the track I can’t get legal aide, yet am unable to afford the $20,000 it has cost me in court procedures. I was the one taken to court as my ex recently married and they want to move to another area and take my son overseas. They both earn a combined income of between 100,000- 200,000 if not more, yet I’m single and have a concession card and work full time on a basic wage and still have to get loans and put myself in severe financial hardship to fight for the right to have my son at least half time if not full. It sounds awful but unfortunately people can change or perhaps they always have an ulteriorotive in mind, so I would divorce all emotion from the situation and go down the legal route. It will pay dive meds in the end, as at least everyone knows the expectations and what happens when, so that there is a schedule and everyone is equal and can move on with their lives respectively.

  • Make sure you record all the visits in a diary that way you have everything recorded for if it does go to court and get nasty! Keep a record of EVERYTHING!

  • you can do mediation but this may turn things nasty make sure you do not tell the child he is coming than it’s a nice surprise and bonus when he does. If you have nothing legal in place I hope you know you both have the same rights and because of this he can take the child and does not have to return the child unless you have been to court and you have gotten custody

  • I dont have any experience with this personally but a friend of mine had a friendly agreement with her expartner which suddenly became quite nasty when she got involved with a guy that her daughter adored and i think the father became jealous of this fact and so he ended up taking my friend to court for custody of not only his daughter but also of the older child who was not his but had always called him Dad. Custody was not given to him but it certainly put the wind up everyone and she suddenly wished that she had taken her parents advice and had something legal on paper right from the start.

  • Definitely suggest counselling with a view to mediation. We went through the same thing with my husband’s ex – nothing in writing but verbal agreement that the daughter would spend every weekend with us. Often, without any notice, the ex would change her mind / plans and tell us the daughter was no longer available. We would plan our lives around the visits, only to find out too late that we would not be seeing her at the set times. Bent over backwards to help make sure the daughter would see her father, but were always jerked around by the ex.

    Totally agree with another poster about not saying anything bad about the ex in front of the child – we never once said anything bad about the ex, but the same cannot be said of the other side. We were called every name under the sun, all because we made sure the child had a fun time while she was with us, but also stuck to a strict routine (set bed time, set meal times, set bathing time, punishment if she did something naughty, etc).

    We went to counselling, mediation and then spent thousands and thousands of dollars with solicitors to get something in writing, but you know what? I would have gotten much much much more pleasure flushing the money in $50 bills down the toilet. The pieces of paper that the parenting agreement were written on are worthless, after the ex accused us of mentally and emotionally abusing the daughter – she gleefully told us that the daughter was so traumatised by us that she stated uncertain terms to her father she never wanted to see us or spend time with us again. Our strict routine was cause for them to scream “bullying” – yes, we were accused of bullying the child into going to bed at 8pm (she was 6 at the time), bullying her into having a shower after she’d been running around all day and was all sweaty and dirty, and bullying her into eating delicious food of her choosing that I’d spent hours cooking for her. After 2 years of fighting for his right to see his daughter, only to be rejected by his own flesh and blood, we no longer have any contact with the child.

    So, moral to the story is this – be sure your ex and you are on the same page. Ask him if he can confirm if he wants to see the child by giving you enough notice – it’s not unreasonable to ask if he can confirm his plans 48 hours in advance. If he can’t do that, then carry on your life as you would without him. Go to family counselling and talk through the issues, and how you feel and how it makes your child feel when your ex does not show up as planned. Try your very best not to badmouth your ex in front of your child – that’s what your friends are for – to listen to you and be your support and cheer squad. Don’t, I repeat, DON’T spend money on solicitors to fight for a written agreement – unless you qualify for legal aide, in which case, then it might be worth the extra work, but still, no written piece of paper will FORCE anyone to do what they don’t want to do.

    I choose to believe our story is our happy ending – we don’t have to stress out any more about when we will see the daughter, or if we would inadvertently upset the daughter by breathing (apparently, I also breathed too loudly for her liking). My husband has never been happier, and my older son has stopped having nightmares about her. I must say though that this is far from the ideal solution, but in our case, this is how it all played out.

    I wish you all the luck in the world and hope you get a good solution to your situation.

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