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Looking for advice on visitation/joint custody

My stepson lives primarily with us. During the school year, he spends every weekend with him mom from 5 pm Friday to 5 pm Sunday. During the summer he spends Friday after noon through Tuesday afternoon every other week with his mom. Recently, his mother asked for 50/50 time. We had a lot, lot, lot, lot of problems in the past with her being inconsistent, leaving him with other people while she went out, emotional and verbal abuse, and just a general feeling of "not wanting to participate as a parent". However, over the past year or so, she has dramatically improved. We still are not comfortable with 50/50 but we are trying to negotiate this without the use of a courtroom. I am thinking the alternate Tuesdays while he is at home, she can have him all day that day so that it shortens her time between visits, but isn't too much of a strain. He is 9, and has said he really doesn't want to go more, but his mom tells him he should ask for more time with her. So he feels torn I think. I want his input, but his honest input. I should maybe mention that I have been with his dad since he was 1, and his mom didn't really reappear in his life until about age 4-5. Hopefully some of you have found some arrangements that work for your children or worked well for you as a child. I love the idea of nesting, but we have a 3 year old daughter so that wouldn't really work in our situation.

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Asked by Mom1Stepmom1 at 2:32 PM on Jun. 8, 2011 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 14 (1,498 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • At 9 I'd pretty much let him make that decision. He's old enough to know where he is better off and which home has his best interest at heart.

    Answer by meooma at 2:41 PM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • Honestly I would try what she is suggesting but put it in writing it is only temp to see how it goes. Now hear me out on why. Kids are torn, he probably wants to be with you both. He loves you both. He wont be 100% honest with either of you because he doesnt know whats best for him. Thats why we go to court and have lawyers. However you yourself said she had made improvements. To save court costs and money I would go this route. Then if she does mess up you can revert to what you had before.

    Answer by gemgem at 2:42 PM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • If he is home on tuesday then I would go with what you said...tell his mom that you dont want to mess with the schedule to much right away and ease into it so it is a smooth transfer. If he is in school right now changing it up to much will make things hard because being that young you tend to forget things like school books at the other parents house. That happened a lot with me and my sister when we were doing the 50/50 thing with our parents. Good luck and I hope you figure things out where everyone is happy.

    Answer by Shelii at 2:43 PM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • At 9 years old he's no dummy. Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. You, his dad, and him need to sit down, soon, and talk about this. Let him know that no matter what he decides you both will still love him just as much as you love him now. Ask for honest opinions and preferences, and reasons if he can give them.

    He's already said he doesn't really want to spend more time with her, see if he can give you some reasoning as to WHY. Not just "because I don't want to", but that should be accepted too. It sounds to me like he's torn because he's already made his preferences known, but is being pressured to do something he doesn't want to do.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 3:03 PM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • its up to him but i would just give things a trial run to see how it goes..split the time with her for a few weeks..and see how she takes it..matter of fact do it for longer than a few weeks a month or so and see if it continues without issues..your ss could just be scared of a change in his routine at that age..but before i dont anything i would be sure both sides understood that it was a trial and that it was subject to change at any point based on how you think things are going..then after time passes if all goes well change your court papers

    Answer by jorjiegirl at 3:07 PM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • My stepsons are 10 and 9. During the summer we stick to the same school year visitation. Granted their mom has SUPERVISED visits so its not like she deserves more time, she hasn't improved at all. They go once a week for 3hrs and eow. In the summer dh gives her 2 non-consecutive weeks vacation time. That's it ! if the kids wanted to go more or at all for that matter dh would give more time.

    Answer by Genice6 at 9:53 AM on Jun. 9, 2011

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