Posted by: Anon parent | 2009/11/02

Extra visitation rights detrimental to children?

My ex wants to add weekly schoolnight sleepovers for my primary children in addition to the existing one weekday evening and every 2nd weekend overnight visitation rights they already have. I am against this as I feel that it would be detrimental to my kids schooling with the disruptive week. My one child is ADD. They are the type of kids that thrive on routine to do well and when this routine is broken I can see the negative impact in their behaviour and work. My ex wants to take me to court. In addition to the existing visitation rights my ex already has, my children already spend half holidays with my ex which I have no issue with. It is only the school nights I disagree with. I have sole custody of my children. My ex says its their right. Surely it should be what is best for the child and not a right? What are my rights and what is the courts view on this sort of request?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDivorce support expert

Dear Parent,

It sounds like their father enjoys being with his children and the visitation arrangements are thus not satisfactory. You are very right to be concerned about what is best for your children and wanting to maintain a routine which is detrimental to their wellbeing. Children thrive on routines, however, routines can be redefined if it means splitting their time between their parents.
What you must trust in, although needing a time of adjustments, to have x days with their dad will become their new routine.
What you need to objectively look at is what is best for them. Do they want more time with their dad? that is in fact their right if they do. They shouldn't have to choose and should have the right to love both parents just as they should be loved by both parents.
The arrangements can revised that it remains the least disruptive to the children and that everyone wins with the new arrangements.
A parenting plan could be beneficial and some co-parenting coaching would be of value to both you and their father.
What is above all best for your children is that you and their father are able to communicate about this issue in a civil manner, keeping conflicts away and truly putting the children's needs first.

Should all of the above still be not possible, you may contact me directly for a legal referral.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: G-Dad | 2009/11/27

It all depends on the relationship between father and child, my one sister do not feel upset and get angry every time her kids father want to spend extra time with them, I have seen this only benefit the children, in her case the father pick them up after school and help them with their homework and they are doing very well, the kids still sleep at home with my sister but the mindset was right.

I suggest that you change your mindset, it is not about the kids currently but anger feelings you still have, if you did not divorce their father then you would not have had any problems with that.

Think what is best for the kids they do not have to sleep over but spend more time with their father, if you can reach such an agreement to will suit everybody then it can only be to the benefit to the kids, here it is what is in the best interest of the kids, specially the ADD child need both parents now more than ever, every bit of stimulation the child get will only be to their benefit, my son also has ADD and I promise you if it was at all possible for my son to be with both parents and it is peaceful then it would not have been such a battle when he was smaller, obviously my kids have adapted living with me only but it took a few stressful years, it is very important to have a stable environment for kids as well, if you and the kids father can get into a routine and stick to that then you will see the kids have a normal life and they will do good.

It is possible for him to go to court to ask for extended access, but I strongly suggest you find a suitable solution, my ex tried everything in the book to get custody which mean that I have been constantly troubled by the SAPS, false claims and courts which drained my financially and emotionally, if she was more mature then it could have only benefit the kids, it sound in your case he does not want custody but just more access.

In some cases both parents has shared residence and have the kids alternating weeks, in the beginning it was a bit disruptive for the kids until they have adjusted to their new life.

Reply to G-Dad
Posted by: C | 2009/11/16

PLEASE DON' T DO IT - I divorced my husband a year ago and he has been going on and on like a stuck record for the past year that he wants our son every second weekend and two nights during the week. My little one is only 4. I regret even giving him 1 night during the week. Which will be changed shortly. But my point. This is about your children needs - NOT HIS. They are there forever, their sense of security, self worth etc is more important. Every bit of homework I have done around children, every expert I have spoken to or read about. Routine, routine, routine and they must have one base.

Reply to C

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