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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my ex used to have regularly scheduled daytime visits on Sundays every other week, but now that he works retail (he was unemployed for a year), the timing of visits is a little more up-in-the-air and changes from visit to visit (both in the length of time and the day of the week). When ex's schedule changed, I told him that weekends were still preferable, so as to not interfere with DD's school. DD is almost 4 and goes to preschool Monday through Friday, full day. For the most part, that has worked out to keep visits on weekend days, but he just sent me an email saying that either Wednesday or Friday of next week would work, so I'm assuming that he's working the whole weekend.

Is it reasonable to ask him to find a time on the weekend when DD isn't in preschool? On one hand, it is school time, but on the other hand, it's just preschool. I also don't necessarily want to set a precedent of compromising on school-related things because of ex.

Thoughts?
 

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What if he just picks her up from preschool and you pick her up from him after dinner?

It's reasonable to assume her regular day shouldn't be canceled. The break in schedule could get confusing.
 

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I wouldn't cancel any kind of school for parental visitation. Not a good president to set. He can pick her up after preschool and return her in the evening.
 

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I agree with PP's. Standard visitation for non custodial parent is usually something like EOW plus a midweek dinner or midweek overnight. I think it's good to be flexible sometimes....but for a preschool age child who is starting to learn about the days of the week, it is best to have a predictable schedule so she knows that Wednesdays (or whatever day you can agree on) are her Daddy day. I assume he is not working ALL day 16 hours in retail on Sundays.....so is there a way to just modify the time of day on Sunday, but keep it consistent to every other Sunday, plus a midweek dinner/evening?
 

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in my situation my ex has tuesdays as his weekend Sometimes changes to wednesdays but not often. That is his day with the kids. Ds is in elementary school and he just gets him when school is over. I would suggest that as well. I also had to fight hard with my ex, which means he had to lay down the law at work as well, to have the exact same day off. In the starting he was switching his days off and it really, really upset the kids. And now if he does have a change in schedule it throws everything off for the kids. If there is anyone to keep a set day try to do it. I have seen my kids do well with the tuesday day/evening overnight and friday overnight, for about 2 years now. Good luck!
 

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...so as to not interfere with DD's school.
Generally, I agree with PPs that once a child starts school, parenting time schedules need to work around it, not vice-versa.

Two "but"s, though...

1) Having taught 4-year-olds in preschool off and on over the course of 25 years, my firm but sometimes unpopular opinion is that full-time, 5-day/week preschool and even kindergarten are not developmentally appropriate, but are chosen either as necessities for working parents; or by parents who are sadly pushed to fear their child won't be academically competitive, if he/she is allowed to enjoy a developmentally appropriate amount of unstructured play during the first six or so years.**

"Full-time" school = about 7 hrs./day (8-3). "Full-time" preschools/kindergartens/grade schools which exceed this - exceed the hours many teenagers spend in school - (like 7-4, or 6-to-6 programs) provide childcare, regardless what terms ("extended day" or "after-school enrichment") they may use to avoid the term "daycare". To deny this is intellectually dishonest.

Childcare should not take precedence over parenting. So, if your DD's "full days" mean standard school hours plus some type of "extended day" with classes or activities to fill her time until you get off work, then your ex should be able to pick her up after the standard school program. She shouldn't have to attend the portion that is realistically daycare, just because she needs that on your parenting time days. That would be just as wrong as your ex making her skip actual preschool, or weekday ballet lessons, because his schedule prevents weekend visits.

Less clear, but along the same lines, is the concept that if your DD really only needs part-time school at age 4 - but she's enrolled full-time to accommodate your work schedule - then maybe letting her sit out 1-2 days/week so she can spend ample and meaningful time with her father (who, if he's going to provide financial support as he should, cannot at present see her on weekends) is the right thing to do, albeit unconventional. By 1st grade, this would no longer be appropriate. But maybe by then his work schedule will have changed.

2) We're assuming your ex is requesting (and you are objecting to) letting her skip school for his parenting time. If, however, he simply wants to be the one dropping her off, picking her up, and keeping her after school this Wed. or Fri. - and you feel that "interferes with her school" because you normally do those things - then I disagree.

If a kid is expected to adjust to divorce, then she can be expected to adjust to minor things like Mom picking her up after school some days and Dad, other days. If the non-custodial parent is willing and able to participate in her life beyond just visiting, then rigid adherence to routines and schedules which teach her that only mothers can parent, while fathers are only good for money and visits is not in her best interest.

If neither of these two "but"s is a factor in your case, then forget all I said. I have been deeply affected by my DH's ex insisting that any deviation from the routine of her exclusive involvement in their son's education would be "disruptive"; and resisting DH's desire to parent their son before and after school, by complaining that DH wanted their son to "skip part of his extended school day".

While I do think my husband's ex was malicious, I think in the heat of divorce, it is possible for a well-intentioned mother to get caught up in the positive-sounding priorities of a "consistent schedule and routines", or "good school attendance", without recognizing the hostility toward her ex that may underpin her rigid stances.

If you're sure these concerns don't apply to you, then no - generally - a NCP shouldn't have a kid skip school to make up for him not being able to exercise weekend visitation. He should visit during whatever time the child has outside school, on some weekdays.

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** http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/opinion/sunday/let-the-kids-learn-through-play.html?smid=nytcore-iphone-share&smprod=nytcore-iphone&_r=0
 

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I think Vocal Minority makes some good points about how some ex's can obfuscate the other parent's involvement, maybe without meaning to.
And also some good points about preschool. Personally my dd's preschool is excellent, play-based, they do environmental education, empathy education. I would not choose to enrol her full time though...because i feel that time with a parent is preferable to third party care.

But if its required for work purposes, then it can be considered child care , and it would be reasonable to give the other parent the opportunity to see the children rather than be in third party care (***caveat: some manipulative non custodial parents will use a right of first refusal for selfish purposes to try to pad their parenting time hours to reduce support obligations***). But if you know your ex's actions consistently indicate that he puts the kids first, not his own power/control agenda, then I think it is important to try to facilitate opportunities for him to be involved in schooling. But I would be firm in nailing down a midweek day and sticking to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks for the responses. He was asking for a full day, rather than after school. When I emailed him about the timing, his response sounded like an after-school thing may be ok.

DD's preschool does a combo of play and learning. It does coincide with my work schedule, so it's sort of a middle ground between school and daycare. Based on DD's intellectual development, I prefer to have her in school 4 or 5 days, since she's already starting to read and write, and her school is very supportive. When she visits ex, she mostly just watches movies, is what she tells me (she's able to list off the movies she watched that day and say something about each one)

Also, the thing about financial support and his involvement: he doesn't pay any currently, so it's not that his work schedule is helping DD in any way. The last regular payment was about 1.3 years ago when he was 6+ months behind, and he's made two or three smaller payments since then. I've also had to pay his gas before so that he wouldn't cancel visitation. He's been almost as inconsistent with visitation as he has with support. He's canceled visits with little/no notice more times than I can easily count, and occasionally he just decides that visitation isn't working, so he will indefinitely cancel visitation for a month or two, or sometimes longer. He also brings DD back early often. I accommodate as far as I can.

I emailed him today saying that school days were not my preference for visits because it got in the way of DD's school schedule, and he sent back a somewhat angry email saying that he didn't know when her school was (I had previously told him that Fri, Sat, or Sun were better for DD's school schedule). He did sound somewhat agreeable with after school visits. So, it sounds like moving forward, after school visits every other week may be the thing. I don't think he'll be able to set the same day of the week each time, but I'll probably try asking.
 

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I think that all sounds very reasonable. That must be so difficult for your dd, him fading in and out of his own choosing. At least her preschool teachers, and of course you, are a consistent and loving presence in her life.
 

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How well does she handle schedule changes and transitions? With one of my children, schedule changes are a nightmare, and with the other, not so bad.

VM's thoughts seem very valid, but then, given that he has a history of being unreliable, I might lean toward keeping her school schedule reliable, and asking him to pick her up after school--or at least in the afternoon after some school, so her regular, predicted schedule is at least partially intact--and drop her off again by bedtime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
When she was younger and didn't have much of an idea for what day it was, it didn't bother her when her schedule changed. But now that she's getting older, she asks almost every day what day it is, if it's a school day, what she's going to do that day, etc. So consistency is getting more important.

On the other hand, a consistent day is just not going to be possible, even as far as after-school visits go, I think.

He and I are also trying to get a first overnight worked out (he first asked for overnights more than a year ago, then apparently forgot and never asked again until just this week, http://www.mothering.com/forum/234-...isitation-change-let-him-continue-forget.html). We agreed that a non-school night was reasonable for that but he said he didn't know when it was going to happen. So, eh, we'll see.
 
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