Dear Dr. Archer,
I moved out of a dysfunctional home with my children, ages 9 and 6, in order to file for divorce because for over a year my husband refused to leave. Three weeks ago we moved to a neighboring town; one week ago he unexpectedly moved here, too.
I feel they have been through a tremendous upheaval and need to get established in a stable routine in their new home(s). He is insisting on taking them to Florida to see his mom and maybe sisters, whom the children are not close to, for a few days. Then he plans on taking them to Orlando and Disney for four days afterwards.
I think it's too much chaos, too disruptive, tiring and stressful for them during this difficult time. What is your opinion on what's best for the children?
You have not mentioned that your ex was abusive in any way. If he is, then my answer would be a resounding 'NO', as in this story,Should Tina Make Her Daughters Visit Their Dad?
I am going on the assumption that he loves his children and wants to spend time with his family. The only thing that makes me worry is that rather than let the children remain in a home that they already knew, he made you move- selfish to be sure.
The big question is, "What do your two children want to do?" If they do not want to go, then the answer is easy. Talk to your attorney and let him know the reason you want your children to remain in case their dad presses the issue.
If they want to go, then kiss them, tell them you love them and to have a terrific time. Like Portia Doesn't Like Her Daughter's Daddy Calling To Check On Their Baby, you haven't mentioned anything that would warrant your ex be denied his inherent right to be with his children. Plus, the kids would most likely have a wonderful time and get to know his side of the family.
It's always better when a divorce is amicable, so you really have to pick your battles and this one doesn’t seem to be a big issue. This will also give you some time for yourself, which is always valuable. Just make sure you know when they leave, where they're going and when they will be home. You can always call so you can hear their voice.
Bottom line is, if you are certain your children are safe with their father and they want to go, let them go. It could be therapeutic for everyone involved and a great last minute summer vacation before school starts. Good luck!
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