For me, nothing! The ex is insistent that the children spend time with him and his new wife (whom they like, so no problem there) in their house. It's an ultimatum it seems. Think this problem stems from the last time he took them to his house. My son was upset that he didn't want to go when I got to the meeting point (45 mins nearer to the ex). He was forcibly removed by the ex from my car to his and driven off, very upset. Maybe half hour later, I received a call from the ex asking me to talk to my son who was still crying. When they Skype'd on arrival in Liverpool several hours later, he was STILL crying. Try as I might over a comms link, my son was unconsolable at that time. I think it calmed overnight as I didn't hear from them until they were dropped off again.
The next planned visit was in December when both kids then got upset when we got to the meeting point. They were both forced to get in the car but this time the ex didn't get far before he called me asking me to collect them from him. They were in a real emotional state and took some time for me to calm the situation.
The ex is saying I shouldn't be giving the kids a choice but they have been made to go against their will twice and it doesn't go well.
I really want them to see him and have relationship with him but am at a loss if he can't understand they don't want to make the journey. When he has them local to their home, they go very happily and stay overnight with no problems.
I stop on a VERY regular basis and get them out to walk around. My ex tries to do the whole journey in one go. If I'm honest I think even if he was to try that, there is something more to this than just the journey as I've asked my son whether he would travel up with me. He is happy to do that as long as he doesn't have to stay overnight at his Dad's house. Confusing and worrying as he's happy to stay with his Dad in a hotel down south.
I will do whatever it takes but only if I see something in return from the ex! I think it's only fair he gives a little as he chose to move away from the area in the first place, thus creating the distance issue.
He was living 10 minutes away in the family home when we agreed the Arrangements for the Children and it was agreed then that he'd have them every other weekend.
I would be happy to do the journey on one of the holidays if he came to see them and had them locally on the next, for example. I don't really see why I should foot the bill for petrol and accommodation and have my free time taken up staying somewhere I wouldn't choose to stay as I don't really get a break that way, but I would do it for the kids if they were happy their Dad was making an effort too.
I don't think he'd find this acceptable either though as he will expect the children to stay at his house, particularly if they are near him and like I said, this is causing the problem for some reason.
As he works down south on a fairly regular basis, I have offered to bring the children to him in London, for example, or Swindon but his view is that a few hours with them is not good enough "quality time" whereas putting them in a car for 9 hour round trip does count as "quality time" in his opinion.
I am sorry if it sounds like I'm moaning but this is a stressful situation for me as I'm effectively sat in the middle between him and the kids and to me, any time he can have with them should be taken. Hours of contact must be better than none which is the result of his ultimatum.