My ex and I cannot agree on the little things – what can I do?
My partner and I separated a year ago. We have two girls, aged 5 and 7. Our separation was tricky and now we are having trouble sorting out some of the smaller points regarding the children. By and large we are agreed on how their time will be divided but we can’t seem to agree on the little things. We are currently stuck on where handover takes place – it feels pretty silly! The issue is where on the road I live, pick-up should take place. We are arguing about 500 yards and even though I have suggested we meet halfway, my husband is insisting it is ‘his’ end of the road.
Can you help?
Thank you for your e-mail.
It seems that you have done well in sorting out how the girls' time is divided, but like a lot of parents you have come unstuck on handovers. These handovers can be really tricky for everyone concerned. Without going into the details, I am left wondering why there is a disagreement about the 500 yards and is symbolic of something else. Perhaps you have both used up all your compromises in getting to your current arrangements?
Children find handovers a stressful time. They will be worried how you interact with each other and will feel the tension between you. They will be on the lookout for clues as to how to react, are Mum and Dad sad, happy, anxious, will they be alright, lonely without me... etc? The Gold Standard of handovers is to be polite and respectful towards each other and have a few words together to let the other parent know what has been going on, sharing news so that the children will feel that their time with both parents is really important to you both. Children need to feel that Mum and Dad are a united front where they are concerned. Health Warning - as they grow into teenage years any anticipated division between you will be exploited by them! You are living separately now but they need you to have a joined-up approach regarding them.
The reality is, I expect your girls won’t care where on the road they get to meet the other parent.