Scheduling activities during ex-spouse's time


mostly just venting…about 5 weeks ago my husband’s ex sent an e-mail about a weekend retreat that she wanted his son to go on. Since it was our custody weekend Husband said “please don’t sign him up for any activities during our weekends w/o notifying us” . Checked w/ son who said he would rather attend a team sporting event. Conveyed this to ex…now, 3 days before the event we find out she did sign him up! We had no idea so this would also mean she has not told us about departure and return times etc. Nor had she informed coach of team.
Son is tween so is sort of oblvious to many plans so we can’t really blame him for not telling us. We typically keep him informed about activities and events, mom not as much.
Husband wrote her and said son is not going as he is still telling us he prefers to attend game w/ his team.


just venting to : but Mal, I am right there with you…Child is 12 years old…my husbands ex sign their son up for football thru the parks and recs dept in their county. Which is 2 counties from us…now he has ball games coming up on 2 or our weekends coming up… we never were given a schedule of these games and just informed on these date just this Thursday. His son or the ex never provided a schedule to us…we didn’t even know who it was thru until this week when I was inquiring of when his games were thru the school and found out it was not even thru the school. Now, if we go…it will take most of the day with travel and the actual game…and his mom will be there on our time to spend with him. We never get that opportunity with him on her time…she seems to steal out time away from us and we never get any extra time to make it up. It is like out plans go out the window if we take him to this game that we were never informed of…this is just some of the many things that happen in our situation.


I’m sorry to hear about these stories. I’m not in your situation yet, but am headed that way. I’ll probably be supporting a spouse who thinks kids need to be super active to be well rounded persons. As such, I could see my every other weekend getting compromised quite frequently, as what is happening to you–mal/mcmom06. What advice would you give me, who has not yet documented a SA or agreed to a visitation schedule, on how to protect my precious little time with my kids? Thanks


you are within your rights to refuse to pay for or permit activities that the other spouse schedules without your permission during your custodial time. You may want to start with a reasonable approach…i.e. let’s respect each other’s custodial time and make sure we talk about activities that the kids want to get involved in first before agreeing to or paying for something. This is the type of language I would have spelled out or written into a custody agreement - we finally had to.
The big picture is that you both should want what is best for the kids and to get joint custody if at all possible so you share parenting and time with the children.
There are few sports that are every other weekend so for kids to get involved in little league baseball/soccer/dance etc both parents must be able to agree. This becomes tricky if you live any distance from your children and then seeing them may mean they miss an activity/game in order to spend time with you and this could create issues with the kids.
I think it is important to anticipate this and spell things out now rather than to run into problems later. We used to continually have problems with the ex signing kids up for expensive school and church trips and telling us after the fact “you owe ____” . We finally talked to the kids when they were old enough and told them they would need to pass along info to us and to the ex spouse we refused to pay for events unless we were notified and agreed to them first. Most recently we had to refuse to let the child go on an activity until a compromise could be reached and he could attend both activities.
For many this is a struggle of power and control. The one parent using this as a means of depriving other parent of time with a child or wanting to be seen as the “better parent”.


Thanks Mal. The economic consequences are one thing, but the lack of respect for ones time with his/her kids is what would frost me. I appreciate your suggestions on how to adequately prepare for this.