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Previous posting mother and the father continue to work things out - thanks to me! :)


Your Question:
Eric,
I'm a previous writer and I'm hoping that you can share some more great advice with me!

The father and I've come to an agreement, and I think it's best for our child. We decided on every Monday and Wednesday from 2 in the afternoon, till 6 in the evening, and every other weekend. It basically amounts to 50/50 and we both agree it's best for our son.

However, I do have a concern (nothing major) I'm just not sure how I want to bring it up to the father. He intends to take our child to SC for a whole week. He will only be six months old at the time and I'm not sure I feel comfortable for our child being gone for so long. Am I being over protective or cruel? I am not planning any vacations this summer due to our child being so young and would be away from his father for a week. I explained to him that next year he would be older and I would feel more comfortable. Your normally good at telling me if I'm being controlling or what not?

Also, We are serious about what's best for our son now and the child has been spending time at the father's home. Once again, is it to early to start over nights at six months? If so, how do I explain that to the father? If not, I have no problem with that. As long as it's not going to hurt our child.

We decided to share the holiday and switch at 2 in the afternoon. We both would like to see him on each holiday. Does that make it hard on the child, if we are okay with it?

What is the importance of a metiator and what will happen if we go to one? I'm not exactly sure what they help us figure out. How much should we spend on planning until all said and done, with a metiator? Do you know any good ones in York, PA.

Thank you Eric and you've done miracles for our son!

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My Answer:
Hi,

I'm glad you and the father are still working things out.

I'm just going to answer your questions in the order posed.

I think a week is too long for the father to have with a six month old child, and any judge would probably agree. The father shouldn't have any extended time with the child until the child has been accustomed to sleeping for at least several months in the care of the father. Note to readers: this isn't a father vs. mother issue. The logic is that a six-month old would be uncomfortable for a week with ANY parent, if the infant hadn't first gotten accustomed to sleeping with that parent.

If child is already sleeping comfortably with father at that time, I'd suggest that you may want to find out what's most important to the father about that trip, and try to come up with a way that addresses your concern, while meeting most/all of the father's desire.

For example, if the father bought you an airline ticket and a night in a hotel, you can travel to SC and have the child for maybe 30 hours in the middle of the week. Dad can have 3 days prior to that, 3 days after that, and baby gets a nice reconnection with mom in the middle. If dad isn't doing overnights yet at that point, then let him pay your ticket plus 6 nights in a hotel, so he can have child from 9am to 4pm all week, while child is with you at night. You previously said that you don't work, so your schedule seems pretty open. So what I propose is a win-win.

Else, if those approaches don't appeal to father, ask him for a suggestion that addresses your concerns.

Most of all, think about options, rather than YES or NO. You two may want to (at some point) take a communication class together. It's important to hear desires while also stating concerns and vice versa. Else, it's always going to be a stalemate.

Regarding overnights, I forget exactly how old your infant is. I think overnights can begin after a few months of good, frequent bonding. I've previously addressed ways to help your baby transition into it, so I won't elaborate. I want you to think about when in a marriage, with infants, sometimes one of the parents isn't available at bedtime. But the babies do fine. Most of all, EXPECT that there may be a bit of stress on the child at the onset of ANY change... and that would occur at any age, not just infancy. (But are you going to stop your kid from going to school because the first day is stressful, or are you going to support your kid as best you can with what you know is an okay change?!)

Do whatever works for your holiday schedule. But I guarantee that when the child gets older, and you each want to travel to be with family on special holidays, you're going to have to re-examine it. Or on things like trick-or-treating, it's not feasible for you each to take the child in the same night (i.e., child's energy won't handle it).

A mediator is a neutral party trained to help people in conflict to come to middle grounds that are acceptable to everyone. If you're not arguing about much, you don't need a mediator. In my area, mediators are $150 to $300 per hour. I don't know anyone in York, PA, let alone any mediators.

Good luck. Keep the attitude that the parenting plan is a living, breathing document that will need adjustments as your child grows. If you and the father agree that every January (for example), you'll look at what works, what doesn't work, and make some changes; it won't feel so permanent.

And if there is something major about which you disagree, that's when you go to a mediator.

Eric





This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.


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