[quote]And who is it that determines whether a child can "handle it" or not? Yours? What if your ex disagreed? [/quote]
If my ex disagreed, we would have gone to court and he would not have prevailed. One thing about being the primary caregiver for the kids is that you get to know the kids better than anyone else. I found that to be true when I was a nanny, I find it to be true with my kids. This isn't to say that their Dad doesn't know the kids, he does. Just not as well as I do. Fortunately for my kids, I live in a state that does not have a presumption of 50/50.
I think the fact that she became a completely different child, and not for the better, when overnights started speaks for itself. And when we backed off to one overnight instead of the whole week-end, she improved drastically speaks for itself.
I think the fact that he had to call me and let her talk to me when he picked her up from childcare in order to marginally calm her down speaks for itself. She did not have this problem when I was the one picking her up.
I think the fact that she literally cried most of the week-end for me speaks for itself. She did not cry for her dad when she was with me.
I think the fact that I was unable to go to any of my older child's games on my ex's week-end because it made it too hard on her when she had to go with him instead of me speaks for itself. This was not a problem when ex came to the games on my week-end.
She's older now and more emotionally mature than she was when she was 4, when the overnights started, and the above are no longer issues. I can't tell you when it started getting better as it was a gradual process, it didn't happen overnight.
I have been the primary caregiver to both of the kids since the day they were born. Getting a divorce didn't change that.
Had they been older when my ex and I split, my youngest may have handled the whole situation better than she did. But that wasn't the case. And fortunately for her, she wasn't forced into a situation that she couldn't handle. Because if she was, she would be having all of those issues that proponents for 50/50 like to claim happens when it isn't 50/50.
If there is to be a presumption, it should be with what it was when the parents were together. During the divorce process, the parents can determine what is best for the kids. Where the problem begins is when one parent decides that they have the right to have their kids half the time and don't even take the kids into consideration.
An example: On another forum that I only lurk on, there was a father with a 2 year old with 50/50 physical who posted about how his daughter was not handling it at all. Never stopped crying for her mom. He wanted to change the parenting plan as the existing one was hurting her. The other posters, all proponents of 50/50 physical, told him not to do it. That she would adjust. It didn't matter that it had already been 7 months and that it wasn't working. To them, it wasn't about the kid at all, but about the father's rights. To he!! with the child.
And on this same forum, there was another poster who also had 50/50 physical since infancy. He posted about how his 4 year old has never really adjusted to the 50/50 physical and that he had wished he had done it differently then. But he didn't change the parenting plan as it stood now. He knew that his son wasn't handling it well, at all. But he didn't make any changes. Why? Because it wasn't about doing what was best for his kid, it was about his rights to be a father.
Then there is this wonderful example of two parents who actually did what was in their kid's best interest. The mother and father had a 2 year old who was not handling the 50/50 physical at all. The parents sat down and decided to change the parenting plan. Since the father was better able to work from home and handle primary care of the child, he became the primary parent and she got EOW. The child did much better after that.