Set days. Do I have to agree and risk losing my job?

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    I share two children, 10 & 7. I have them 3 nights a week. The 3 nights change week by week. I give as much notice of what I need and also ask if it’s ok. Usually 3 to 4 weeks notice. My job is such that I am in a position of responsibility and authority and cannot be held to a set shift pattern. I work 5 days and 50 hours a week. My ex is now demanding that I agree to set days that would seriously impact my ability to carry on with this job. She has even told me to switch job sites to satisfy this demand. I have already tried to get work to agree to a flexible arrangement so I could have them 50/50 but I was refused. They will also refuse any request to have weekends off. I have the kids over the weekends probably 80% of the time. Including 1 night and most of the next day up until bedtime.

    I pay child support through the CMS. An application I made as she threatened me with it when our 50/50 trial broke down and I had to raise the support again. She would not agree to the amount I had paid for the previous 3 nights, an amount we took advice on, and insisted on getting more advice so she could slightly raise it. She is a determined woman who is flat out emotionally blackmailing me by saying our children will benefit from set days. However the kids have never ever brought up anything before.

    My question is does she have any hope of forcing me to do it? Will I be seen as inflexible by a court or mediation service? Does my job enter any equation when sorting child care?


    Thank you

    #7665 Report


    I can see this from both perspectives.  I work a set 2 days a week however my ex was working a rotating shift pattern so we set up the time with the children so it best covered my work days one of the weeks and the other week i had to rely on them staying over at my parents’ house. They also went to him every other weekend. It meant the children were staying with him, my parents and me on a regular basis.  This worked but i always felt like the kids had too much sleeping out.  It also meant i declined offers of additional sleep overs for them elsewhere.  It gave me flexibility on every other weekends to make plans and get some rest but it was a whole week between visits then several in one week.  He recently changed jobs and now only works Friday and Saturday nights.  I now work 3 days.  This has meant a huge change to the plans.  It’s now more 50/50 split and he sees them weekly and they no longer stay at my parents but his working weekends means he looks after them now on the 3 days i work so i no longer have any weekends to re charge my batteries and socialise without having to ask the parents for sleep overs – which feels like asking permission in my 40s for a social life.  He has a new partner and baby but i’m Still single.  He often changes plans when he needs to work an extra day which clashes with my day so they end up in school clubs.

    I think what i am getting at is that I personally have been flexible to his working pattern.  I have done this to keep things amicable.  I know that many people think i am being soft.  But i personally think that we might as well work around the fact that we have jobs.  I think your ex is being unreasonable to insist on set days when she knows that you work a shift pattern that changes over a few weeks.  This can be really hard to organise child care around ( we tried this before we split up).  3 nights per week is seen as a lot so i’m told.  I have friends who’s children stay at their dad’s one night per fortnight and am often told i am lucky.

    Mediation would be the way forward before to lay your cards on the table.  You can’t be classed as inflexible due to your job.  I have a job that is set (teacher) but i can’t finish early, go in late, take time off like people can in other jobs.  I assume there are other jobs that are also less flexible and the mediation or court could not make you find another job.  Mediation might help her see your side a bit bettter with the help of the mediator explaining why you aren’t unreasonable

    i hope my post doesn’t sound waffly.

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