My ex’s girlfriend is picking my daughter up from school – should I say or do something?

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Dear Sheila

I have a lovely 10-year-old daughter with my ex. We divorced 3 years ago. It was a really difficult time and we had to go to court to sort out the childcare arrangements. He has her 30% of the time and the arrangement is that he picks her up from school on his days.

My daughter tells me that he has been sending his girlfriend to pick her up from school. This has happened several times. I wouldn’t mind if it was a one-off, but knowing my ex, he probably thinks there is nothing wrong with this and finds it to be a more convenient arrangement for him. I don’t like his girlfriend – I’ll admit – but that has nothing to do with it. How can I be sure my daughter is safe with her? I want this to stop but I know my ex will just think I’m doing this out of spite. It also bothers me that I had to go to court to sort out the childcare arrangements and now he can’t even be bothered to pick his daughter up from school.

How do you think I should approach this?

Yours, Jenny (Surrey)

Dear Jenny

Thank you for your e-mail regarding your daughter/Dad pick up from school.  I appreciate how hard it is when you have survived the bruising court process and sorted out the Children Arrangements to find your ex does not seem to value the time he has been allocated with your daughter.

You don’t say how many days Dad picks up from school or if your daughter was upset or not bothered that his girlfriend steps in to do that pick up.

You mention you don’t really like your ex’s girlfriend, and are worried that your daughter might not be safe with her, is there anything that has happened to make you feel like this?   It might help if you ask yourself, “does Dad love our daughter”, I expect the answer is yes and hopefully that means that her safety is paramount to him, as it is to you, I anticipate he would make sure that whoever picks her up from school is up to the job.  However, this does not deal with your sense of injustice.  As a co-parent your focus is on your child enjoying the time with their other parent and not displacing your own frustration onto that relationship, I admit this can be difficult, but is absolutely the best for your daughter.

You have asked me how to approach this, I am not sure you will help your co-parenting relationship if you say you are unhappy about it.  The time that your daughter spends with her Dad is his time and providing there are no child safety issues, there is not a lot you can do.  Rather like the time your daughter is with you, is your time and you will be the parent in charge.  A different matter if your daughter is upset by it, but I don’t know if that is the case.  Please remember that your co-parenting relationship is SO important to your daughter’s wellbeing, she needs to know that her parents love her enough to get along with her other parent.  Parental conflict is so damaging to her.

I hope that helps,


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