My two boys want to live with their dad. How do I cope?

Nancy - posted on 06/12/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My ex-husband and I divorced in 2006. My children have been with my ex-husband and then with me on a weekly basis, swapping them each Sunday evening. This has worked well for the past several years. My sons, now 14 and 10 have said that with their schedules at school and with soccer that the constant swapping is stressful. They told me that they preferred living at their dad's house permanently and seeing me as often as I wanted. I really can't explain why they prefer living there, it's more fun, they need their dad as they are growing up, I'm not really sure. These were the things I was told. I agreed to let them do this temporarily during the summer to see how it went and told them that if it effected my relationship with them, effected their attitudes, school, etc, that it would go back to the way it was before, or that they would come live with me. I plan to pick them up 2-3 times a week for dinner, and will see them on weekends, I will continue to take them to practices, games, etc. I think they just want all of their daily stuff in one home.

I also worry that by letting them go live there temporarily, if it ever gets to the point that we have to go to court again, will this decision effect me keeping primary physical custody?

This all happened this week but it's tearing me a part in the mean time. I want what is best for them, but I am so hurt by their decision to do this.

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Kristin - posted on 06/12/2012

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I feel for you, that is definately a hard one to swallow. I do understand their need to have stability and consistency. I think maybe it would be best for you, your kids and your ex husband to sit down and all talk about this calmly and voice your concerns and hear what everyone else has to say. My son who is now 16 wanted to live with his dad at one point as well and he spent one month there before he was begging to come back home (he was 14 at the time) however my son has always lived with me and his dad disappeared from his life for 6 years so for my son having his dad back in his life was major and he had to see if things would be better with his dad, which they weren't. My ex has not played a big part in my sons life and that is also hard. I understand it is hard to let our kids go but eventually we do have to and if you and your ex can have good open comminication to do what best for your kids thats awesome and you never know they may opt to come live with you permanetly after the trial run at their dad's. As for it going to court that does not neccessarily need to happen unless your ex files for different custody and child support should they choose to live there permanantly. Be prepared though that you may have to pay child support if they decide to stay with dad. Try not to take it personally as your kids are boys and al lboys at that age want to be with their dads, but the grass is not always greener on the other side. Good luck

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Shawnn - posted on 07/24/2012

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Ok, one thing you need to keep in mind...once they hit a certain age in the US (not certain about other countries), the courts will allow them to choose the parent they want to live with, so if your 14 YO wants to live at dad's, you legally cannot stop him, unless your ex is abusive, has a drug problem (proven), or is a habitual criminal and a proven bad influence.

So, what are you going to do when the judge tells you: "sorry, ma'am, but the children have requested to live with their father, and legally, he has every right to have them".

Another question: How can you judge by a "temporary" deal in the summer? If their complaint is that their "SCHEDULES AT SCHOOL AND WITH SOCCER" are stressful between trying to go between two parents and households, and you're doing the "trial period" during a time when those particular two activities don't coincide, then you are not making the decision based on their school performance...you're making it based on your feelings.

I know it's difficult, but ultimately, you need to let those boys live with their dad for now. If their schooling/attitudes, etc, have not been negatively affected by all the shuffling back and forth, and if they're still good students, good team players, and good kids, then how is MORE stability going to be a bad thing?

IMO, you picking them up 2-3 times a week for dinner, and seeing them every weekend, would be more than enough, especially if they are not wanting to cut you out.

Amanda, your situation is different. To keep open communication, you need to communicate with your boys. They are both old enough to do that, and to keep up a relationship with their sister. And, they probably will, as long as you don't turn it into a guilt trip for them every time you speak with them. Don't get me wrong, you miss your kids, but they've got to start making some of these choices for themselves. All you can do is guide them.

Angie - posted on 07/24/2012

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Hi, my teenage boys, almost 16 and 13 have said through their dad they want to stay at his house 3 weeks out of 4. Feel so confused with how to handle this , their father has never offered any consistent stability. I am trying to let go and see how it turns out in the meantime their 9 year old sister hasn't seen them for 2 weeks, I worry about her feeling rejected by them.
I don't want to hear sit down and have open communication with their dad, that hasn't worked ever. How do I stay connected to my boys.

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