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I have a question about the toll our visitation agreement has on my daughter

Please read and give me some advice. I'm reaching out to anybody in a similar situation. I have physical custody of my daughter and have joint legal custody of her with her father. She is 7-years-old. Currently on paper it states her dad is entitled to have her on his days off (i requested this when I divorced him 3 years ago because he only had two days off at the time and i won by default because he was a no-show to all hearings). Fast forward a few years, now he is off Friday -Sunday, which leaves me with no weekend time with her. Currently we split the week in half, I generally pick her up on Sunday at 4:30 because it is the half day, then have her through Wednesday until they pick her up at 6pm. If Sunday isn't the half day, I pick her up at 6pm Sunday and have her through Thursday evening at 4:30 pm. When she starts school, this means I hardly see her. She has a little brother and sister from myself and her stepdad. She's constantly crying about how she feels like she's with her stepmom and her real dad more than she is with us. I think it's primarily because they have her every single weekend. Her dad refuses to let me have her weekends because those are his days off. Although we have a great relationship and I admire that he wants to spend as much time with her as possible, I'm tired of never having weekends with her. She never gets to go to family outings with us because my husband is only
Off on Sunday's and picking her up at 4:30 or 6pm doesn't give us ample time to really plan something and go have a full on family day. I'm dreading her starting school again because I already know I'm not gonna see her as much as I've been able to over her summer vacation. I've asked him to give me full Sunday's, which would mean id pick her Saturday night at 6 and then have her until half of Wednesday when they'd pick her up at 4:30. But he doesn't wanna give up his Saturday nights, and said if his girlfriend can switch her days off to Wednesday's so she can pick her up from school, then be would possibly consider giving her to me every OTHER Sunday. To me, this isn't enough. I'm considering filing a motion to change the visitation , and am thinking about requesting an alternative weekly schedule (her being with her dad for one full week, then with me, etc) so that way we would each be guaranteed 2 full weeks and two full weekends a month. Is this asking too much? I've brought it up before to her dad but he refused because since him and his girlfriend both work, they'd have to figure out child care for her for a couple hours after school Monday-Thursday. I'm a stay-at-home mom who babysits for a living (my husband works full time) so he doesn't like the fact that is technically see our daughter more since I stay home, and he would see her less since he works. But I can't think of any other way we can come to a compromise so we both have her two weekends out of the month. My daughter does surprisingly well with switching between homes. I'm not concerned with her going a full week here and a full week there because she's use to going back and forth. However it breaks my heart when she cries and tells me she feels like she never sees me. She always use to ask me during the most recent school year why daddy always gets her on "off days" (the weekends) and why I don't. Does anyone have suggestions? Is the alternating week schedule asking too much? Is there another type of weekly schedule that may work better? Thanks so much for reading and responding. I desperately need help.
1 Responses
13167 tn?1327194124
Visitation is almost always difficult,  although children are raised to not complain.  Adults who attempt to live this way - going between two households report that they feel homeless,  they are never "home",  etc.  and their thoughts and patterns become scattered and kind of aimless.  

When you say she's doing "surprisingly well" with the switching of homes,  it seems to me she's not doing well at all.  She's complaining consistently that she's not with you,  that she is mostly with dad.  I would give her satisfaction with the visitation arrangement a 3 out of 10,  at best.

As it is,  it does seem that the one week here one week there might work best,  and my guess is the courts would probably side with you on that - especially considering his history of not bothering to attend hearings.  

As she gets older it will be harder on her to do this visitation - friends have a hard time finding her,  she will want more of her "stuff" - favorite clothes, etc,  with her to go back and forth.

Best wishes.
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13167 tn?1327194124
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