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  1. #1
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    Dealing with parents in an ugly divorce

    Hi, I am looking for advice on how to deal with two parents in an ugly divorce who both have 50/50 custody. I watch their two girls age 4 and 6. The parents were neighbours of ours until they separated so I know them personally as well. When they contacted me to watched their girls they were in a pinch because the previous day home asked them to leave. The mother made the arrangements and provided me with a contact list for both parents and the grandmother as the emergency contact person. To my understanding this is what has always been provided to day homes and schools.

    One day at pick up the dad informed me that his new girlfriend would be picking up the girls. The next day mom request that I not allow the girlfriend to pick up and she will pick up if the dad can't. Then the next day dad says that grandma is no longer allowed to pick up and I am to call him if she shows up (at this point the grandma/emergency contact only picked up one time because mom was moving and dd said he couldn't)

    So now it has been four months of back and forth and every time I've said to figure it out and contact information will not change until I have a mutual agreement signed by both.

    The dad is now accusing me of taking the mothers side because he claims he didn't agree to the contact form and mom says the opposite. The dad says he need his girlfriend to be an emergency contact but then he says she's going to do the regular pick up and drop off because dad wants to take an evening job or go to school, not quite sure as his reason changes daily. She is now currently dropping the kids off every day of the week on his weeks but he keeps fighting with me to let the girls go with her at pick up as well.

    Moms request is that she be the pick up person if he is not able which is why she wants a call if the girlfriend shows up.

    What do I do??

    I've suspended service after an argument with the dad because of his accusations but he then later begged me to take them back.

    I took them back on the condition that the two figure it out and give me a mutual agreement. I feel this is not fair to the girls who live out of a suitcase and get shuffled around between houses week to week. My home is pretty much the only stable place in their lives and I wouldn't want to take that away from them. The older one has had a really difficult time with the divorce and has gone to counselling. After being in my care she has opened up and seems to be doing much better.

    The father now shows up daily stating "he has a piece of paper" that says mom can't do this but anything I have read is open to interpretation. Mom on the other hand says the same thing but with her view point. I've asked both parents to not discuss this dispute with me unless it is to give me a mutual agreement.

    Help!! Am I going about this the wrong way?

    What would you do if you were me in this situation?

  2. #2
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    Give them notice. It's a train wreck and it's not going to get any better. You can't rescue everyone. Don't get caught up in it.

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  4. #3
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    I agree with Rachael. I feel terrible for those little girls. If you must keep them in your care (out of guilt or any other reason) I would keep them on the condition that ONLY the parents can drop off and pick up until they can figure and work out a healthy situation for those girls. If they cant agree to your conditions then I would terminate. As Rachael noted, it wont get any better.

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  6. #4
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    :-(

    Such a difficult situation, for you and the kids.

    If you truly wish to continue, if caring for the children (outside of the parents drama) is enjoyable and is something you wish to do then I would tend to agree with the idea that you let the parents know that they are not to involve you in anything. That you are giving notice of termination but that you will tentatively proceed with care if both parents agree that they and only they will do drop offs and pick ups (meaning you will never see a boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, grandma, aunt or who ever).

    This will mean you are directly removed from the childish behavior of the mother and father trying to hurt each other by sending people or refusing people to pick up the girls.

    If either parents attempts to pull you in to this battle again or if either parent sends someone else for pick up that will be your last day of care.

    This means the parents need to step up and put the children first. If either of them cannot pick the girls up on their given day THEY have to call the other parent to have them do pick up. You will only see mom or dad.

    I would HOPE that by making it clear to them that you WANT to continue care, that you want to be that stable ground for the girls but cannot do this if the Mom and Dad do not let you (by leaving you out of the bickering) they might step back, see what they are doing and make some changes.

    Hope they pull their act together for the girls sake!!

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee-Bee View Post
    :-(

    That you are giving notice of termination but that you will tentatively proceed with care if both parents agree that they and only they will do drop offs and pick ups (meaning you will never see a boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, grandma, aunt or who ever).

    If either parents attempts to pull you in to this battle again or if either parent sends someone else for pick up that will be your last day of care.
    I agree with this.

    Put it in writing. Make BOTH parents initial ALL copies to demonstrate that they have read and understood.

    I would also have a letter ready to provide at a moment's notice that you are terminating care due to not following the agreement. Then you don't have to worry about verbally terminating and giving them time to argue or beg for another chance.

  9. #6
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    Honestly if the parents have a 50/50 agreement, than on Mom's week you contact her and than Grandma when the need arises she can decide who picks up and drops off, than on Dad weeks its Dad than girlfriend and he can decide who picks up and drops off. What Dad does on his weeks is his choice and vice versa.

  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by momplus6 View Post
    Honestly if the parents have a 50/50 agreement, than on Mom's week you contact her and than Grandma when the need arises she can decide who picks up and drops off, than on Dad weeks its Dad than girlfriend and he can decide who picks up and drops off. What Dad does on his weeks is his choice and vice versa.
    I don't think shared custody works quite like that. You do whatever the hell you like on your week and vice versa. It's shared care with them sharing custody 50/50. Decision making should still be a collaborative thing where each party is in agreement with all aspects of raising the kids regardless of whose house they are sleeping at. Best to sign an agreement stating only the parents may pick up and for emergency contacts have both parents sign to agree they are both comfortable with them but making it clear that is in emergency situations only, not a matter of convenience.

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by momplus6 View Post
    Honestly if the parents have a 50/50 agreement, than on Mom's week you contact her and than Grandma when the need arises she can decide who picks up and drops off, than on Dad weeks its Dad than girlfriend and he can decide who picks up and drops off. What Dad does on his weeks is his choice and vice versa.
    Doesn't work that way. In shared custody cases both parents have the rights of parental decision 100% of the time. It's only the physical custody which is 50/50.

    That said. neither parent can object to new partners and their involvement with the child, because an ex has the right to a new life.

    If you are going to care for a child/children in this situation where parents share custody, you need a universal document from both parents with clear rules because without it, especially in the early days when there game playing/point scoring/intent to cause hurt/difficulty/etc due to anger of a fresh break. As a carer you don't want to be in the center where your action can be the "wrong" one and where you can be blamed, however unfairly, for anything. This is your business and you need to protect your rep.

  12. #9
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    Get rid of them....been there...done it....soooooo not worth the b.s. Will never get involved or caught in the middle again.....

  13. #10
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    So if I have the kids on my week I need to clarify with the other parent before I say go on a date and leave the kids with a babysitter. Or go to my Mom's for the weekend etc... Of course anything major like schooling/doctor/dental would be shared, but even getting my buddy joe to pick the kids up really don't think I need to clear that with the x either.

    I could be wrong I've never heard of shared custody arrangements of 50/50 where the kid is with parent A having the parents calling to let them know the plan of said day, the fact is its that parents week and they are the parent so in fact they should be able to dictate who picks their child up.

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