Ex’s bday and time with the child

Posted By: Daniela on 04/04/2023 at 22:08

HI Suzy,
We discussed in the last mediation about time with our child on the parent’s bday. Mom’s bday falls on dad’s time, our son will be at school until 3:30pm, I will be at work until 4pm. Due to pick our child up at 5:30pm ( as a normal pick up day at 5:30pm). So i am not asking for extra time as my time starts at pick up on that day, for 5 days anyway)

This year, ex’s bday falls on my time (Tue- Sun) with our child (a Thursday), 2 days after my bday(the Tue), and it’s also a school day, and continues with my weekend.
I suggested in mediation that dad can have the child after school from 3:30pm till 5:30pm ( normal exchange time).
Dad is refusing saying he wants more time to take our son out for a meal and he won’t have time to return by 5:30pm and he wants to treat the day as a “holiday” and to keep the child overnight and take him to school in the morning, and I will pick up after school the next day.

My reason for sticking to 5:30pm for dad to drop off back to me is:
– it is a normal school day and i need our son back for his supper at 6pm and bedtime at 8pm with me (dad is normally delaying these by at around 1 hr when in his time)
– dad has not made a real effort to stick to the agreement on me picking our son on time, delays by 10min or more if i don’t go to his flat door to knock, and does not have all the things ready that our son needs bring with him, and our son should be dressed and out waiting for me , but he never makes him ready, and does not bring him out and discussed in mediation (i have to go and knock at his door)….
– he can take our son out the weekend after, when it’s dad’s weekend, as it’s not a child’s party….it’s an adult bday and i do not see the benefit of this change to his bedtime time when it’s a school day.
– it’s my time with our son as scheduled, and i think 2 hrs is reasonable for dad to spent time with our son on dad’s bday.
– if I give in for dad to have our son overnight, it might be a ground for dad to break other agreements in the future, or he can say: “If I’ve done it for my bday, I can do it for other occasions too”….

What do you think? What shall i do?
Am i reasonable?

Latest Comments 5

You already have a schedule agreed and you stick to that. If either of you break the schedule - what happens then? Surely you have discussed this? One option is to allow one or two hiccups - and then end the agreement and apply for a defined contact order. Ask the mediators guidance. But you must include in the plan what to do if one parent just takes the piss. Your ex and son will not benefit from no contact until a court decides so messing about is less likely to be the chosen option.

07:03 05/04/2023
suzy Miller

Thanks for the advise. I will try to stick to the schedule. But what if he now says : "No, I want to spend 2 hrs with our son" and he goes to school to pick him up, because it's his bday?

01:17 05/04/2023

I realise that you wanted to be nice, but in fact what you’ve done is just make things more confusing. You really need to just set some clear boundaries for both of you to stick to before you start doing nice little adjustments. You’re just not in that space yet. Keep it simple and straightforward and clear. Every time you offer to change something you’re opening the door for him to do the same. Perhaps you might want to just apologise to him for making things confusing and reiterate that you stick to what you’ve already agreed, and you don’t change it for anything unless there’s something like illness or other circumstances that you have already made provision for. And then agree to come back in a few months time to make any adjustments once you’ve both build that trust together.

00:48 05/04/2023
suzy Miller

We agreed to a schedule for school time and school holidays. And I brought up our bdays as it's at the end of April and i wanted to be nice to him and get him to spend 2 hrs with our son on his bday even though it is my time with our son. But he actually wants more than 2hrs... What shall i do? Shall i not give him any time with our son on that day then? (is that unreasonable from me, because it's his bday?)

00:11 05/04/2023

So it sounds like you’ve agreed a schedule, but because it’s his birthday your ex wants to change the schedule? It sounds very complicated. It makes sense to just stick to the schedule that you agreed and after a period of time with both of you adhering strictly to the schedule and building up trust between you, then maybe you can talk about Additional changes, but for now you just wanna agree on the basics and stick to that. Especially if he’s not been respecting the existing schedule fully. It’s time to complete the mediation and then maybe agree to a further mediation in three months time, whereupon you can see how well he’s been sticking to it before you discuss any other changes? Put in boundaries, and give him the incentive to stick to what he’s agreed to.

23:37 04/04/2023
suzy Miller
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