Child Care: mom or day care? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 10-19-2006, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a 7 year old step daughter who is a really great kid. Unfortunately our relationship with biomom is not that great, as she and my husband have never managed to stop speaking to each other like people in the midst of a breakup (even though it's been 5 years). Every conversation is accusatory in nature.

Anyway, we would really like to have more time with DSD. We currently have around 8 to 10 nights per month. BM flipped out in the summertime when we asked for a very minor schedule change that would result in us having DSD for an extra day or two each month. We had wanted to ask for 2 extra weeks in the summer, but didn't end up doing it because BM said we were trying to "steal her child" over an extra day! We've actually had DSD LESS since that conversation, as BM has become very difficult.

My husband has NO custody agreement, nothing on paper at all, but does pay child support (more than the amount legally required.) I think it's high time that they file paperwork with the courts. We would love to get 40% time with DSD, but i'm wondering about child care.

Right now we have DSD on one weekday, and we don't generally need child care that day due to our work schedules, but if we had her more weekdays we would need it from 3 pm to 5:30 pm. BM does not have a job, so is available after school each day. Would we be required to let BM care for her during these hours? I just don't feel it's fair to DSD to send her to her mom's house for a couple of hours and then be dragged over to our house. Of course, BM is the type that would make this harder, saying things like "oh, it's too bad you have to go to your dad's house and miss your favorite dinner/new video/play date etc... we're really going to miss you" - this is something she does already. It's brutal. At least I have managed not to use these kinds of tactics, but it's really hard.

Sorry this is so long - I'm just wondering, would child care on "our" days be our responsibility, or would we have to give BM "first dibs." This is a hard question for me, as I really feel kids belong with their parents as much as possible, but I also feel like her dad has a right to spend more time with her.

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#2 of 7 Old 10-19-2006, 05:44 PM
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You should get paper work ASAP. You shouldn't have to "ask" for more time, you should work toward a compromise. We used mediation. (We also don't have an agreement-- well we have one from when dss was 3 -- now he's 11-- so it says things like pick up from preschool, etc) but we have a pretty easy relationship these days. Most custody agreements deal with the situation you spell out. I think it's called "right of first refusal" which means even if you needed a babysitter for an hour randomly, you have to offer that time to the mom first (and she you). So, she would probably go to her mom's after school, which I think is generally better than any daycare except in very extreme situations. We actually do this because dss rides the bus home to our house and his mom's boyfriend gets off work around an hour later. So he comes in, gets a snack, etc. then gets picked up.

It really does feel like someone is "stealing your child" when you are in the other shoes. We've had dss forever and when his mom moved back to town, it was heartbreaking for us. We had done everything right for him, and yet each year we were getting less and less time with him. It was the right thing to do, to move towards more balanced custody, but it did hurt.
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#3 of 7 Old 10-21-2006, 10:22 AM
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Going to the courts to get a schedule in writing is definitely a must. Being that the BM is giving you a hard time, I think its a must to get something legal.

As for childcare, I would say that it would be your responsibility. It would benefit you and your DH in that your dsd wouldnt be subjected to the "youll miss your..." lines from bm and it would cut out on the uncomfortable pick up things. I can see how some BM's could use the "babysitter" role to their advantage in some way shape or form later.

Good luck.
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#4 of 7 Old 10-24-2006, 01:15 PM
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I agree wit PPs that you should get a custody arrangement in writing from the court. Does this mean sthat you do not have child support in writing from the court either? If your DH is just writing checks every month then he could technically be responsible for back child support. I don't know, but get a good lawyer to help if that is the case.

To answer your question about child care. My DH and I do not go to BM for child care. If neither one of us can watch DSD we don't have her that day. We have used summer camps during the summer that we pay for on the time we have her. We also use the daycare that BM pays for during the school year and the daycamps that BM pays for during the summer weeks that is her time. We have a much better relationship with BM than it sounds like you do.

Hugs to you momma! I hope you work it all out soon and for the best!
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#5 of 7 Old 10-30-2006, 06:26 PM
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We've always made our time our responsibility. It was just easier for us. It wasnt always, however.

Years ago, when our kids lived with their mom we'd get crap for finding care for them ("if they're not with you, they should be with me") but then we'd get crap for calling to say we cant take them. ("its your responsibility"). I felt like that guy in the oatmeal commercial - Make up your Mind!

I say, make it your responsibility.

Hang in there. It will all work out.

ETA: you're right, your dh does have a right to spend more time with his daughter, and his daughter has a right to spend more time with her dad.
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#6 of 7 Old 10-30-2006, 11:30 PM
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our judge favors a 50/50 split with parents where possible. research is showing that kids do better with this than just on weekends. he said if the parent asks and there is no reason why he shouldn't rule in favor, then it is in the child's best interest. i do agree it is really hard to give up more time.
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#7 of 7 Old 10-31-2006, 05:53 PM
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While it is easier to deal with your own childcare arraingments, she may ask for "right of first refusal." You might ask for it as well. It is not in our agreement, but I've heard it is in many agreements.
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