One of the first big event-related challenges that newly separated or divorced parents often face is a child’s birthday party. If you’re sharing custody of your child and live near each other, throwing one party rather than two and hosting it together is typically the best option for the child.
Here are just a few of the reasons why this is preferable for everyone:
- Your child can see their parents working together and getting along on a special day for them.
- It’s less expensive to have one party than two.
- Having two adult hosts can make it easier to corral the kids. It can also help you be able to take turns just enjoying the party.
- Parents of your child’s friends don’t have to choose which party to let their child attend or feel obligated to bring them to both (along with a present for each one).
There are some circumstances in which one birthday party hosted jointly by co-parents isn’t feasible. If you live some distance apart, two parties may be a better option. However, if your child doesn’t yet have friends who live near one of their parents, they may not want to have a party at that parent’s home. Maybe taking in a game, a movie or just dinner at a favorite restaurant could be preferable.
If you and your co-parent can’t agree on the size, location, cost, theme or other details surrounding the party, it may be better for everyone not to engage in this joint venture — at least not this year. It may be better not to try than to risk a series of battles that will only upset everyone — most importantly, your child.
Birthdays are important for kids. If you anticipate that your child’s birthday may be a source of conflict over things like parties, gifts, where your child will spend their special day and so forth, it may be wise to include some provisions around birthdays in your parenting plan. Your family law attorney can offer some guidance of how best to do this.