Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Trying to Keep Out of It

My guyfriend started the new visitation schedule with his son today. Here it is: Since the ex-wife now lives six hours away in another state, every other weekend, both she and my guyfriend will drive three hours to a meeting point halfway, which is the Wisconsin Dells. Once there, the 11-year-old will then go with his dad for his weekend visit. The drive home to the Chicago area will be three hours. The ex-wife will turn around and then drive the three-hour ride back to her new home, life and husband. This is supposed to happen Friday evenings but could occur on Saturday mornings. Either way, come Sunday afternoon, my guyfriend will drive the three hours to take his son to the Dells to meet his mom. They'll do the exchange and then he'll drive the three hours home with an empty car while she'll take the boy back to his custodial residence.

That is 12 hours of driving within two days for the parents as well as this child! So far, none of the people I've mentioned this arrangement to have found it favorable. One of my friends asked, "How did the Judge ever approve of this?" Another responded with, "That's not going to last!" Still another, said my friend should be the one driving to the new town his son is living in, rent a motel and visit him there. The weather in the Dells during winter can be very snowy and icy so some of the weekends when it is cold might not pan out if storms are in the forecast.

It's funny how everyone but those involved can see the reality of the situation. My friend justifies the arrangement by saying he'll have his son on Mondays when there are holidays or school institute days. He was laid off from his job and cannot afford the expense of a motel at this time.

It is hard for me to keep my mouth shut on this matter but I am trying to refrain from being negative because I know my guyfriend is very upset over the loss of his daily contact with his boy. I cannot help but feel irritated at the ex-wife who assured my friend in March that she had no intention of remarrying soon and disrupting her son's life until he was through Junior High.

I know how hard it is to try and navigate the waters after a divorce. Onc of the positive reasons my second husband cited for being involved with a widow was that there is no ex-spouse in the picture!


  1. The one upside I can see is that all the driving will give each parent some good, focused talking time with their son. I enjoy car trips with my daughter, who is about the same age, because we usually have our best conversations then. On the other hand, I can also see it becoming torture for the son if Mom and Dad use that time to grill him about the other parent -- is Dad dating anyone? what's Mom's new husband like? yadda, yadda.

    Either way, it's a hell of a lot of driving for everyone. My parents' divorce back in the 80s was about as bitter as they come, but they did at least manage to stay within 50 miles of each other so my younger brother could travel between them easily. (I was in my late teens and could choose to visit or not visit.) No point in making a hard situation even harder on the kids.

  2. Vanessa -

    Thanks for the feedback. There isn't any grilling of the son but it seems as though he uses the drive time to mainly play video games or sleep. Anyway, most adults would even find a total of six hours drive time tough to talk through with anyone!