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Old 15-02-2014, 13:25   #1
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Traveling with Kid's from Previous Relationship

Hello all! My wife & I have both lived aboard & travelled, separately, on sailboats. We long to get back to that "simple" life. We currently live in the Florida Keys & sail quite a bit. Lately, we considered going sailing with the kids. I have one daughter, 2 1/2, with my wife & one daughter, 8, from a previous relationship. I grew up with divorced parents from the age of 4, but when I turned 13, went to live with my Dad full time. By 14 he & my stepmother bought a 50' Prout. I lived aboard with them until 16 then moved back to land to finish school while living at mom's. Our dream is to travel/sail with our daughters while they're still young. The problem is my ex. I've researched the headache of doing what we want & the legal battles I would face. So my question is to any parents or people who know split parents that have made this kind of scenario work? If I had full custody of my oldest, we'd already be gone. We currently have a court-ordered, 50/50 timesharing routine. I racked my brain trying to figure out a way to make it work. The only logical one seems to be giving custody to my ex for most of the school year & getting her the summer to travel/sail. We currently live in the same area, 1 mile apart, & are forbidden from moving more than 50 miles away with our daughter without consent. The hardest part I think would be not seeing my oldest daughter every few days if we were out sailing. We are very close & I can't bare to think of her thinking I've "abandoned" her. So it seems the "summer" schedule is most reasonable. Are there ANY people out there that have gone through this?!? Thanks in advance….
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Old 15-02-2014, 13:48   #2
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Re: Traveling with Kid's from Previous Relationship

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Originally Posted by Mellowsail View Post
Hello all! My wife & I have both lived aboard & travelled, separately, on sailboats. We long to get back to that "simple" life. We currently live in the Florida Keys & sail quite a bit. Lately, we considered going sailing with the kids. I have one daughter, 2 1/2, with my wife & one daughter, 8, from a previous relationship. I grew up with divorced parents from the age of 4, but when I turned 13, went to live with my Dad full time. By 14 he & my stepmother bought a 50' Prout. I lived aboard with them until 16 then moved back to land to finish school while living at mom's. Our dream is to travel/sail with our daughters while they're still young. The problem is my ex. I've researched the headache of doing what we want & the legal battles I would face. So my question is to any parents or people who know split parents that have made this kind of scenario work? If I had full custody of my oldest, we'd already be gone. We currently have a court-ordered, 50/50 timesharing routine. I racked my brain trying to figure out a way to make it work. The only logical one seems to be giving custody to my ex for most of the school year & getting her the summer to travel/sail. We currently live in the same area, 1 mile apart, & are forbidden from moving more than 50 miles away with our daughter without consent. The hardest part I think would be not seeing my oldest daughter every few days if we were out sailing. We are very close & I can't bare to think of her thinking I've "abandoned" her. So it seems the "summer" schedule is most reasonable. Are there ANY people out there that have gone through this?!? Thanks in advance….
So much depends on your relationship with her mother at this point. This is just one of many decisions the two of you will need to make raising her. Hopefully, you can make it amicably and then document it legally through the court rather than having to resort to the court to make it.

Your idea of summer sounds fairly reasonable. Now while I'm typing this two young adults who were children of divorce are sitting here advising me. Their one comment was that at that age 3 months or 9 months is a long long time. So they'd suggest some modification. For instance during the school year you finding some way to see her every couple of months at least and especially for her birthday and Christmas. The effort will be well rewarded. At the same time, her mom needs to see her at least for a weekend or few days perhaps mid summer.

A couple of other comments. For it to go smoothly both parents need to adhere completely to what is agreed. No excuses not to make the trip to see or not to return the child or make the child available per the agreement.

You also have to find ways to balance that the time with you is fun time that her mom can't give her. You need to make sure the rules from home stay in effect and speak well of her mom agreeing to let her spend that time. You both need to speak well of each other as parents and be supportive. So don't use what you have as a bit of an unfair advantage. However, one reason it is very important she get to sail with you is so she doesn't feel like a second class child to your other daughter. She needs to not feel like "the other daughter." Plus with their age differences their relationships could really turn out very well if handled right.

You face a difficult challenge. It's to your credit in searching for a good solution. I hope you're able to find it. One thing my advisers who are guiding this post are pointing out is that wherever your relationship with your ex currently stands it's time for you both to put any negative behind. You are teaching the daughter you share and you can teach her how parents still share a love and maintain a good relationship or you can teach her the bitterness and ugly and hateful side of a divorce or split. You can lead her to believe that she was born out of love or that she's a mistake between two people who hate each other.

My best of wishes to you. While talking to other parents will be helpful, I also strongly suggest talking to other children of split relationships. Then think back to your childhood since you've been there and how it went, all the good feelings and the bad ones. All five of us sitting here are wishing you all the best.
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Old 15-02-2014, 13:57   #3
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Re: Traveling with Kid's from Previous Relationship

Your girl is eight and that's a long long time to be away and essentially abandoned by YOU with your current honey and the new baby. I cannot imagine her hurt.

And I'm not against raising children aboard -- I was!

But you and the mom need to come to an agreement and I'm not certain I'd let you take my child in a boat for three months. There would have to be a level of trust and I'm not certain you've proven trustworthy.
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Old 15-02-2014, 14:34   #4
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Re: Traveling with Kid's from Previous Relationship

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Your girl is eight and that's a long long time to be away and essentially abandoned by YOU with your current honey and the new baby. I cannot imagine her hurt.

And I'm not against raising children aboard -- I was!

But you and the mom need to come to an agreement and I'm not certain I'd let you take my child in a boat for three months. There would have to be a level of trust and I'm not certain you've proven trustworthy.
That was the concern of my advisers, as to length of time away from either parent being a concern. Kids don't have a good concept yet of time. Take a road trip and tell one it will be two hours and fifteen minutes later they ask if we're about there. Waiting two weeks or a month to see a parent can sometimes seem like an eternity. So I think you have to find ways of reducing the time apart from either of you. Someone here just suggested letting her cruise with you a third of the summer, go to her mom's a third, back to cruise the last third. Then perhaps joins you for one week of Christmas. Plus you work in some trips to see her. There is also an unfairness to her mom that needs to be considered. Cruising is fun or should be. She might wish she could do that all the time. That can't be allowed to surface to make the mom look bad or make her resent living with her mom because she can't provide it. This is a common issue in splits where perhaps the mom is a working poor single mom and the father lives in a mansion with pool and all the amenities of wealth.
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Old 15-02-2014, 15:38   #5
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Re: Traveling with Kid's from Previous Relationship

Thanks for the quick & thoughtful replies! My ex & I have been split since 2007. All was fine with the co-parenting until my second daughter was born. She then started saying negative things about me to our daughter & then tried to take her away from me except every other weekend. Because I didn't think that was right, I ended up after many mediations, taking her to court to keep the 50/50 we had been adhering to the previous 4 years. It cost me $20k+ & 2 years of our life all to end up with the judge siding with me & her getting less $$$ than I had been giving her the entire time previous. My oldest LOVES her little sister & we enjoy our times together. I also thought of how she would feel if her little sister got to do all the things she wasn't able to because of the split. I remember a lot from my childhood & the bitterness between my parents. I will not tolerate it with my daughter. Although my daughter tells me the things her mother says about me, I leave it alone & never speak about her mother. I've tried talking to her mother about this, but she's bitter & hurt. I understand this, but at the same time do not believe in the concept of "drinking the poison & expecting everyone else to die". My wife & 2 daughters do lots of sailing & overnighters on our boat. They both love it & ,as you can expect living in the Keys, love the ocean!. My oldest love the idea of living on a sailboat. I don't know if discussing this with my ex will help anytime soon. She still won't even let me get her passport to even go on a cruise or to our annual trip to Costa Rica. I've spoke with an attorney about this & was assured that for about $500 & court costs, she can be ordered to sign since I am established in the community & not a flight risk. The cruising thing is a whole other breed, I'm afraid.
I do like the idea of breaking up the summer cruise for a couple weekends. I also find the concept of sailing & coming back for a few days a month. Although, I am interested in her school & activities. I currently serve on her charter school board. My fear is that, because of her mother's bitterness, neither one of my daughters will get to experience such a wonderful way of growing up while they are young & "sponges". The traveling I did with my father was the most rewarding time of my life. I hope to be able to share it with both of my daughters. I'm currently 38, so I guess I shouldn't be too impatient. My dad was almost 50 when we took off! I just am one to realize that we're not guaranteed tomorrow…..
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Old 15-02-2014, 16:03   #6
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Re: Traveling with Kid's from Previous Relationship

Funny how we hear often of "Marriage Counseling" but there should be far more "Divorce Counseling." Especially where kids are involved.

I'm saying that as just an idea that you try to talk to her mom very seriously and sincerely about the issue. Find a way to compliment her on some things too. Think of something extra you could help her do with your daughter. For instance, you pay for them a weekend at Disneyworld to offset her going with you to the Bahamas or somewhere. Then maybe you ask her if she'd be willing to meet with a counselor with you to help the two of you find the solution best for your daughter. I don't know. Maybe none of it will work. But all the other ways are difficult, expensive and questionable as to being possible and they also are not in your daughter's best interest. Maybe remind your ex how grateful you'll always be for her giving you such a wonderful daughter.

I also ask how are things between her and your current wife?
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Old 15-02-2014, 16:11   #7
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Re: Traveling with Kid's from Previous Relationship

I think you need to work hard on your relationship with your old wife and NOT mention what you would like to do until she and you get on like a house on fire.
from memory, it's the Haig Convention that makes it a major felony to try and take a child to another country without written agreement drawn up by a lawyer or court order.
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Old 15-02-2014, 16:12   #8
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Re: Traveling with Kid's from Previous Relationship

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...and I'm not certain you've proven trustworthy.
I'm not quite sure where this came from. It sounds to me like Sidney's pretty upright, although the more detailed part of the beginning of the ex's bitterness was posted after Janice wrote this.

He sure sounds like a sensitive, together kinda man.

My ex took my 8 year old daughter, when we lived only seven blocks away from each other, all the way hell and gone back to the East Coast! I didn't have any recourse. I was not amused.

It sounds like the ex is p-oe'd because of the new child. Gee, what's it off her nose? Too bad, in a few ways.

Sidney, perhaps you may want to consider NOT doing this:

Maybe wait a year or two, split the summertime stuff and see if the ex ever chills out. Maybe she'll get over it.

As your 8 year old gets older, maybe she can "find" her own passport!

I suggest staying local for a while and see how it goes.

All the best.

If worst comes to worst, there's always the Sterling Hayden model.

Good luck, keep the faith, it's hard and trying, but you really sound smart and caring.
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Old 15-02-2014, 16:43   #9
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Re: Traveling with Kid's from Previous Relationship

Thanks. I'm a very positive person. My ex got along with my wife (as much as 2 women who've been with the same man can) during the 4 years after our split. Between paying half her rent, school, & giving her money when she was in a bind, I gave her almost $1000/month (not even court ordered). I've always determined, what's good for her is good for my daughter. I always made sure they had what they needed. The bitterness started after my wife got pregnant 4 years later. We thought about having a child 2 years after the breakup, as we started dating 6 month after the split. But I thought this was too soon and would be a slap to her face. After 4 years, I thought we were in the clear. After the judges final orders, we even went to a parenting coordinator for 3 months @ $150/week. This was ordered by the judge after she took me back to court after I had 4 more days than her the first summer. I offered her a week to make it up, but she insisted on taking me back to court. We discussed traveling in those counseling sessions. She was adamant about not letting her get a passport. The counselor even suggested that this was not a war she needed to fight because the judge would order the passport, given the circumstances. Our parenting plan even states she can travel abroad with 2 weeks notice & itinerary. The catch 22 is that she has to sign the passport application. And yes, the Haig Convention is very important. All the countries I've wanted to travel with my family signed the treaty. Sorry to be so long winded, but I really would like to give as much background as possible in order for people to understand my situation. I also hope to connect with others on here that have had similar dilemmas.
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Old 15-02-2014, 23:14   #10
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Re: Traveling with Kid's from Previous Relationship

Sidney, have you considered joining a forum that discusses these type of ex-relationships? If you substitute "automobile" for sailboat, then it becomes a "who gets the child?" story.

Good luck.
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Old 15-02-2014, 23:28   #11
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Re: Traveling with Kid's from Previous Relationship

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Sidney, have you considered joining a forum that discusses these type of ex-relationships? If you substitute "automobile" for sailboat, then it becomes a "who gets the child?" story.

Good luck.
It's that plus some. It's that plus out of the country. And almost like moving out of the country as the sailboat can be a home. It would take a tremendous level of trust for a parent to allow that. Even though the majority of parents can be trusted in such situations, most people have also seen and read the news stories of those who can't be.
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Old 16-02-2014, 05:44   #12
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Re: Traveling with Kid's from Previous Relationship

Again, I understand the problems & worries that can come with this type of thing. My original post was because I'd like to hear from other parents who have faced these challenges in the sailing/cruising community. I'd like to know what worked & didn't work in their particular situation. I'm quite aware of the challenges & hurdles my situation face in not just cruising, but day to day life ashore. Like I said before, I'm not trying to run away with my daughter. I fought for 2 years so that my daughter would be able to see her mother & father equally. I think that's important. My question is to people who have made this work (or failed) while sailing. I really appreciate all of your replies. This day & age is very special, in that it allows such a diverse group of people, like ourselves, to even have these types of discussions on such a great site/forum. Thanks again...
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