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% of care - thoughts

I was wondering what some people's thoughts were on the following. I found it quite hard to read, mainly because I have real empathy for the person who wrote this as it is what I struggle with each fortnight my children and I are forced to travel between 9 and 10 hours to a father who moved away from us and refuses to return to be apart of the children's lives here. My children are missing out on all of those things that I took for granted as a child like regular weekend sport, being with friends at birthday parties. I by no means want to stop my ex-husband from seeing our children (far from - although I do still have concerns over level of care), I just would really like him to be apart of THEIR livesnot just them always having to travel such long distances.

Would love to hear some thoughts.

A recent submission to the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 [Provisions]

I am the result of shared parenting. It was enforced because my parents were told it was the normal
arrangement when they divorced when I was 12. I spent every second weekend (far from the
disgusting 50/50 arrangements some poor children are forced into) travelling for three hours around
trip to spend time with my Dad.
I am left with an anxiety disorder and I will NEVER forgive my father for pushing his desire to see me
over my need for consistency and a normal life.
I was never able to make best friends because I was never around! With one week on and one
weekend off I could never be counted on by my friends. Sleepovers were impossible. I travelled for
hours to see my father, away from my extra curricular activities while his life barely changed at all. I
missed hours and hours of ballet lessons, outings with friends, church and so on.
All this was done after a violence free relationship and fairly amicable split by my parents.
The fathers in Australia can look forward to their children HATING them for what theyve done.
Good on you Mens groups. By the way, do they think their daughters are going to be proud of the fact
their fathers ignored basic evolutionary science (that children need their mother and that mothers are
chemically wired to be the most empathetic and self sacrificing parent) to get his own way?
My father recently expressed sadness that we were forced into such a contact arrangement. I
appreciate that he loves me and did what he thought was best but we both agree that it was the wrong
way to handle the situation. You know what I would have loved? Visits! My dad coming to me! I would
have loved him visiting me, picking me up and taking me shopping, or to the park, or out for lunch, or
to the museum and me not having to miss what all my friends were having (a consistent childhood) in
order to spend time with him.
It was awful, just awful, being without my Mum and so far away from her. Even with a loving father, I
felt like a huge piece of me was missing with out my Mother. I think all children feel the same way
about their mothers (despite what the men's groups are trying to say).
PLEASE! Listen to the children! Please!
I think u have a mental illness or r a fake
I think that kids do enjoy being with both parents and my sons travelled a lot more than 3 hours to be with their father and you know what if they put in a submission I bet it would be exacly the opposite in that they loved time in 2 homes. Sports and parties in either home not missed as we co-parented to allow variation in timeing. Shared parenting can work.
I am sure Shared Parenting can work, especially when there is no history of and/or no current abuse. And my kids DO enjoy visiting with their father. Like I said I do not want to stop them from going to spend time with him ! But I do still have concerns about the distance and the time they spend on the road. I just think it would be really beneficial if their father came to visit THEM some of the time and shared things with them that are a part of their lives.

I am simply wanting to hear others thoughts and experiences.

I would agree, the thought of having to live in two houses be it an adult or a child, I personally think is insane. As an adult would you do it? I sure wouldn't wheres the stability in that. So why do we expect it of our kids?
 Be it they live with there mother or there father I think they are entitled to have one stable home like the majority of the population. How many adults do you know that have this arrangement for themselves? I know of none. Holiday houses maybe thats once or twice a year but not week about, any parent that chooses this for their children is selfish and thinking about their own needs not what is best for their children thats my opinion.
Finding it hard do you have court orders forcing the travel on you both ways? If not then tell the other parent the children are available for collection at your home at the start of time and you will collect at the end of time. This means you are not stopping contact and it also allows the kids to travel with the other parent in the car and this can allow talking to that parent for the kids.
Just a suggestion.
I have court orders which say I have to make the children available at a certain place for pick up. That place is about 2.5 hours from my home. I drive to that point and then return home, I then have to return to that point again on changeover which makes my travel time 10hours over 2 days each fortnight.
Previously I was having to drive to a contact centre which was 5 hours away, but only once per month, my children would then have 2x 2 hour visits with their father, one on Sat and one on Sun. I was having to cover the cost of all transport and accommodation and food. I also was not getting any form of child support as the father was refusing to pay.
Because of the distance the father won't travel here to see the kids, nor will he pick them up or drop them at school.
Finding it hard

You have consistently submitted posts complaining about your arrangements. I have to admit your circumstances, on the face of what you have told us, are quite difficult for you and I am sorry for you that you find it so hard.

However you seem to be drumming up support against shared cared carte blanche. Why is it so?

There will be cases when children are not or have not been happy with their circumstances and there is some research into this. Not as much as there should be and it is often biased, both ways. However most negative outcomes result from the parents not making it work as well as many other influencing factors. It is never as simple as the times spent. Sometimes families living far apart have very happy children and families that live very close make a mess of it. 

As I see it you have 2 choices. You can make an application to court to try to change your circumstances. If this is not a possibility you must try to make the best of it. Probably not what you want to hear but the only other choice is to dig yourself into a deeper pit of despair, whilst not being able to actually do anything about it.

I would be curious to read your judgement to understand why have are in your situation. I have done quick sums and it seems the father is driving the same distance as you. Is this right?

"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can not hurt you"

Executive of SRL-Resources
My own experience is that one child finds it hard to have too jump between households. We had 50/50 arrangement but one day my son, 15, just said it is too upsetting and too cumbersome to have to do it. He would prefer to have one "home" where he can have all his things. Both households are very stable and caring and he should not have had any issues but he did. He now lives with his father 100% and visitsus whenever he feels the need to do so…he still loves mom's cooking :). He is much better off that way. It breaks my heart, as a mom, too know that I don't see him that often, but he is happier and that is what counts. I treasure the moments that I do get to see him and so does he.
Guest. You are to be commended for considering your child's needs at the expense of your own.

It is off course a different situation for older children as they know what they want and do not mind expressing themselves. At this time good parents will listen and take this into consideration, as if we would have a choice anyway.

From the way you speak it seems that he has benefited from the shared care arrangements up to that point and is happy and has a good relationship with you both.

"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can not hurt you"

Executive of SRL-Resources
I believe the shared care worked well for your son Guest and as he matured he was able to freely express himself. Had shared care not existed then he may never have grown into the confident young man you discribe. Congratulations.

12 yo girl letter

I am sorry this young 12 yo feels this way. I think your issue is unique and has nothing to do with shared care per se. The last paragraph are the seperation from your mother for the weekend was a little "over the top". This part of the letter makes me thing that this letter is not authentic. As for mentioning fathers groups, it seems to be very unusual language for a 12 yo to use here. I just dont buy it.

Persoanlly, I think this 12yo was coached into writing this letter and its a fake written by someone with a political axe to grind.
If this letter is legitimate, then this is a very ungrateful and immature girl. I wish she would spare a thought for her father and how he is coping rather than her self needs.

If this letter is real then I put it down to a spoilt child having a winge. But I have my doubts- I suspect this letter is a fake. I say the 12yo does not exist. The paragraph on missing her mother at the end of the letter seems a little 'over the top'- especially when the rest of the letter bears the themes of missed social activities or church or ballet.

If my hunch is correct, - to whichever mother's rights group is writing this letter pretending to be a 12yo girl- PLEASE STOP THIS LOW ACT-you are not helping the issue and are just manipulating the situation. Whats stopping a mens right group writing a similar submission(pretending to be a 12yo boy) saying how great shared parenting is!

Lets stop the game playing and keep it real.
As to the original post, and the posts of the original poster, I wonder how many of you are actually listening ?? After reading other posts, I can see someone who is really struggling with their situation and gets shot down here and told they are complaining. finding-it-hard obviously shared some of the thoughts of the letter that was posted but did not say it was her thoughts, was agreeing with bits but sounded like to me just wanted a sounding board and helpful thoughts on the topic. But has received little of that. I actually see someone who is crying out for help, not bullets !!

Maybe the letter was written by someone mischieveous wanting to make a point, but how about we give a little constructive critiscism.

How many out there have a GOOD Shared Parenting situation ? Maybe you could describe it and what makes it work ? What is the distance between yourself and the other parent ? Who has a situation that is not working ? why isn't it working ?

I have a situation where we have Shared Parental Responsibility. It barely works but I keep smiling and keep going hoping in the long run that it WILL be the best for the kids ! In the mean time I have tired and cranky kids for almost a week after their visit. I think my situation is very difficult because my ex has a very difficult personality, nothing will change that so we do what the court has ordered, even if it is difficult and maybe not agree with the situation 100%.

I think the letter does outline some interesting points. I know I wouldn't want to have my life split between two households, but then my parents are still together so I do not know how I would feel if I was the child/ren in this situation. I just pray that we are making the best choices for our children and not for ourselves !
finding_it_hard said
A recent submission to the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 [Provisions]
Can you tell me which submission number it is please?

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
The letter is legitimate, I didn't write it but rather read it on the Parliment of Australia: Senate website.

Secretary, it is submission 6.

There are some really good letters included there. I have only read a few but of ones I did I liked the ones which were level headed and didn't profess to support mothers or fathers but rather ones that supported children and gave good supported arguments. I particularly liked 107, from Hawkesbury Nepean Community Legal Centre. If there are others of worthy mention please point them out to me and I will seek them out to read.

The one above does challenge certain views (mine too) but I still do 'empathise' with the letter above but never said I actually wanted to STOP my children from seeing or spending time with their father. I have certain concerns that i think need sorting out but I DON'T want to stop them from seeing their father.

I am sorry if you feel that I have been continuously complaining. I only wanted to hear other thoughts and points of view as I am struggling with what I am dealing with but I obviously need to do it more quietly. I am certainly not out there compaigning for "Mother's Rights" over father's rights, I again apologise if it seemed that way.

I'm not trying to drum up support for anything, rather wanting to read other thoughts to give me another perspective and balance out my emotions which are still raw to a point of making me physically ill before changeovers because I am still so scared and intimidated by my ex.

Patronus, the father is travelling only about 30-40 less than me, each way. It is really not me that I am worried about (although my health and financial situation does directly impact on the children), I am more worried about the time the children are spending travelling on the road, I think 9-10 hours is excessive for anyone let alone children so young.

Thankyou to those who have shared their views for and against.
Finding it hard

As I mentioned I would be interested in reading your judgement. You have said it is unfair and if you would like I would be able to give better advice if I knew of the circumstances. There are a few things I find confusing several posts you have made. You used a contact centre, which indicates extremely high conflict. However you suggest the father come to visit the children, which I assume could only be at your house. Is this acceptable for you and did you request this in your application? Also you drive 10 hours over 2 days. I assume it is for short times then. Are you suggesting longer time less frequently? Then something like weekends, Friday to Mondays may suit. Again did you request this?

As for shared parenting and if it works. Remember only a small fraction of seperations come before the courts. Most families work it out themselves, which offcourse leads into more co-operative parenting later. The issue of children dividing their time between parents is interesting. Research does indicate children actually want this and the reasons relate to bonds between their parents. How the parents go about this is what is crucial to the outcomes and whether or not it is good for them. However it impossible to speak in general terms as much as it is impossible to generalise about the issue from knowledge of only one case or even a small sample of cases. One thing I can say for certain is the likelyhood of success is directly linked to the parents. If you do submit your situation, or some of which you have heard about, I ask you to consider how the parents are interacting…trully?

Is the problem shared parenting or unco-operative parenting with no reciprical support?

"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can not hurt you"

Executive of SRL-Resources
My daughter is 5 and my son is 16. For the last 3 years we managed shared care with my daughter spending 35% time with her father and 65% with me. My son initially followed the same plan but that changed to a 50/50 when he turned 14. When he turned 15 he opted out of the 50/50 plan and started living with his father most of the time. He wanted it that way because he only wanted one household with one set of rules and where he can make things comfortable for himself. The fact that we lived in the same city and within walking distance made the decision easier. I did not consider him selfish in his decision to stay with his father and at the time tried to see it through his eyes. I would probably have done the same.

I personally do not think that the shared care thing worked for my daughter (we now live interstate and she has not travelled to her father yet). She found it very confusing and troublesome. She, at her age, knew when she was going to be picked up from school by her father (every second Thursday) and those mornings she always struggled to get ready and did not want to go. We talked it up and really tried to get her to respond positively but that did not really help. He loves her and she loves him and there is an excellent bond between them, but that did not appear to make any difference. Whenever she returned from the 5 day stay with him she struggled for a day or two to settle in again. It became so stressfull to her that she started soiling herself again on a regular basis. We have now been away for nearly two months and she is a completely different little girl. Very content and happy. She talks to her father every second day on Skype. He will be visiting her soon during a business trip but that we are keeping as a surprise.
the thing is giving shared care a go gives both parents a chance to parent and yes the child may make a decision as to which parents they prefer to live with be it mum or dad. not a court decision made by a judge who hasnt asked the child nor seen the situation first hand as to whether the child is a mummies boy or daddies girls visa versa
My ex and I have had a very poor post-separation relationship, with her doing her best to minimise the amount of time the kids spend with me and to derail any arrangements that we arrive at. We haven't spoken since a mediation session earlier in the year, during which she (a social worker with a Masters) sat there with her fingers in her ears and I was required to sit so that I wasn't facing her, because every time I did she'd scream at top note "don't you look at me, you're trying to intimidate me", which is to say the least, quite worrying in terms of her mental health. I think it's fair to say that we have no communication whatever, not because I don't want it, but because she simply refuses to respond to even the simplest question about anything.

Nonetheless, after several court matters we have a shared care arrangement and have lived with it for some years now. My children were just starting school when the whole mess started and are now 13  and 15.

My approach to both of them is that they are welcome to stay with whichever parent they wish to, at any time. Over time my daughter ahs come to spend most of her time at Mum's and my son to spend most time at Dad's.  Unfortunately, this seems to be taking a toll on my daughter, with her mother bent on creating what seems to be a co-dependency between the two. My son simply doesn't like spending time there, despite obviously loving his Mum and my daughter doesn't want to upset Mum by spending too much time with Dad.

QAnyway, it's what we've got and it seems to be working as well as could be expected. It's hardly perfect, but what life is?
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