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  1. #1
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    Default Overnights at Dads - how often?

    How often do you think my kids should stay at their Dads? They are 5, 3 and 2 years old. The oldest goes to School so he would probably be ok with 2 nights a week but I’m not sure about my 3 and 2 year olds? I also want at least alternate weekends with me so I can spend time with my eldest on his days off from School. I’ve been told we should probably go to mediation to agree on a parenting plan. What is your experience with this? Oh, and I’ve always been the primary carer but I’m now working 3 days a week. Thanks

  2. #2
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    How often does the Dad want them? My only advice would be to be very open minded because the fall back for the Family Court is now 50/50, as in one week with mum, one week with dad unless you can both agree and get it written down in Consent orders (not parenting plans, make sure it's lodged with a court). Atrocious situation for the children, but the Family Court is not about what is best for the children, children are treated like property to be divided.

  3. #3
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    When my DSS was younger we lived an hour away from his mum and we had every weekend, Friday night to Sunday morning. This started at about 14 months. When he went to school we went to every second weekend, as his mum was no longer getting the one on one time through the week that she got before he went to school. We moved closer at the end of first year at school and went to 50/50 with set days - he is with us Sunday night to Wednesday afternoon and every 2nd Saturday night.

    I find this is less confusing for him than week about, as he knows based on what day of the week it is who is picking him up and where he will be. It also works better with his mums schedule - she works part time on the days he is with us.

    DSS doesn’t know any other life than two houses. Kids are pretty resilient and adjust well. When we went to 50/50 we had just moved house so he had a couple of big changes all at once. Couple of times in the first few weeks he got sad and said that whilst he likes seeing us more, he misses the time with his mum, but that passed in the first month.

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    I should also say that my mil has been emotionally manipulative to me and then started telling the kids they need to make a decision who they will live with! She has been completely inappropriate given they are so young. Also, saying mean things about me to the kids. So, if my ex has the kids too often during the week, unfortunately she will be the one looking after them and I won’t have a say in it. This is exactly what my mil wanted. Me gone and control of the kids. She told me to make a decision whether I’m leaving her son or not. It got to the point where my mental health was suffering and I wanted my kids to be in a happy, relaxed home. My ex and ex mil are now saying in front of my kids that Im making it all about me. I’m so upset when all I have ever thought about is the wellbeing of my kids.

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  6. #5
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    I would suggest getting some advice regarding the MIL from a family lawyer.

    Free options include:

    1. Find a lawyer who offers a free first consult
    2. Relationships Australia offer a free legal service (limited)
    3. Community legal centre
    4. Womens Legal Service (google Womens Legal Service your town / state) for more details.

    From what I understand (and I could be wrong) any DV or emotional cr@p from your ex will be taken into account, but probably not your MIL's. It's my understanding that you can't / it will be difficult for you to prevent him letting the kids spend time with the MIL. (This is my understanding, I could be wrong though. Definitely get legal advice for your own situation.

    In terms of how often he should see the kids. That's a tough one - it really is different for every situation. In my situation I had to take into account I left a DV situation and that really impacted care arrangements. They are teens now and no longer see their father - because the DV did not stop after he left.

    Looking at the ages of your kids, I would suggest your 2 year old in particular should be spending more time with you. There was a body of a research a few years ago looking at care arrangements and ages / stages of children. Results were something along the lines of babies / toddlers / preschoolers were better off (emotionally) spending most of their time with a primary care giver, gradually working to more time with the other parent in the primary school years. Again more time during primary school years should not apply in DV cases.

    ETA I've just reread your post. Definitely speak to a lawyer about your ex and MIL denigrating you in front of the children. I had to put a non denigration clause in our parenting orders. It can't stop it, but at least it put exh on notice.
    Last edited by SSecret Squirrel; 09-03-2020 at 08:41.

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    Thanks. It’s a hard one with the different ages of my kids. I think 2 nights a week is too much for my 2 year old but probably fine for my 5 and 3 year old. My kids have always wanted me. I think it’s because my ex can be confusing. One minute he is great and teaching the kids things, the next he is calling them an idiot for getting toothpaste on their top etc. I haven’t asked my ex what he wants because he can be controlling and will think it’s his choice only but I know I’ll need to discuss it with him ASAP. Will definitely put a few of the clauses in the parenting order. Anyway, I’m hoping by leaving my ex can be a better Dad because he won’t be so miserable!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happymummy5 View Post
    Thanks. It’s a hard one with the different ages of my kids. I think 2 nights a week is too much for my 2 year old but probably fine for my 5 and 3 year old. My kids have always wanted me. I think it’s because my ex can be confusing. One minute he is great and teaching the kids things, the next he is calling them an idiot for getting toothpaste on their top etc. I haven’t asked my ex what he wants because he can be controlling and will think it’s his choice only but I know I’ll need to discuss it with him ASAP. Will definitely put a few of the clauses in the parenting order. Anyway, I’m hoping by leaving my ex can be a better Dad because he won’t be so miserable!
    Make sure you DO get legal advice, seriously, make sure anything you agree upon in a parenting order is lodged to make it a consent order, or he can just decide he wants the kids and not return them one visit and there is NOTHING you will be able to do about it. Also, grandparents now have rights. Get legal advice, I cannot stress this enough.
    I also wouldnt be sending them there until its all legal on paper. Just meet at McDonalds or a park and be in a public place. Especially if he is controlling and has back up from his mother.
    Last edited by Mummamania; 09-03-2020 at 14:18.

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    Hi again, just adding to my post. Now my ex and his Mum are pushing to have the kids every Tuesday and Wednesday and alternate weekends so 3 nights a week. He agreed to 2 nights a week and is now telling me he didn’t agree to it (history of gaslighting in the relationship too). I know this is his Mum in his ear because she will have them 4 days out of the 6 while he’s at work. He doesn’t get home until 6pm so she will have total control over my kids just as she wanted it. She tried to get rid of me a while ago, asking me to decide to leave her son. I think the only thing to do now is go through mediation or see a family lawyer. What’s your experience when you have mediation and can’t agree. Do you immediately file for court? I just feel sick when I know my ex mil is looking after my kids. After everything she said to me and to my kids about me 😡. My counsellor told me she’s a narcissist and needs to be control of everyone and that she’s making me the problem. My son (5 year old) even said ‘Grandma is really nice now. I think it’s because you’ve left the house now Mum’)!!! Thanks

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    I went to mediation twice. Didn't work. Actually they had to ask us to leave because my ex got abusive towards the mediator. She got to experience first hand exactly why I left. Ended up doing lawyer led mediation and converting it to court orders.

    Be careful on the number of nights he has the kids. If he has them more than a certain number of nights per year (124?) he will be able to claim a percentage of any FTB you receive, plus you may find yourself in a position where you are paying him child support. Just something to think about.

    When I went to mediation through Relationships Australia, the wait time was months and months and months. That can work to your advantage, if you want plenty of time for the dust to settle. That way you will have breathing space to have a good think about what is best for the kids and also observe how they are going with the current arrangements. I wouldn't suggest rushing into this. You have the rest of your lives.

    Oh and remember it's NOT about what your ex and MIL want it. It is about what is best for the kids. If she displays toxic behaviour and runs you down behind your back, I would suggest it is not in their best interests to spend much time with her and I would be doing everything in my power to stop that from happening. Remember that her behaviour was a major contributing factor to you walking out the door so it can't be good for the the kids to be around her.
    Last edited by SSecret Squirrel; 28-03-2020 at 08:15.

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