If you and your co-parent are divorcing, you’ll likely be including holidays in your custody agreement and parenting plan. Kids need to know where they’ll be spending Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and other big days.
Once children are old enough to understand what their birthday means, that becomes a big day for them. They usually want their parents there to shower them with gifts, cake, attention and special activities -– at least until they’re in their teens and would rather celebrate with their friends.
If your kids are still young enough to need and want parental involvement in their birthdays, it’s important for you and your co-parent to work out how you’ll co-parent through these occasions.
Do you have one celebration or two?
If you and your co-parent aren’t in a place yet where you can organize a party together or even be at the same party, separate events may be necessary. Just make sure that your kids are old enough to realize that having two parties doesn’t mean they’re two years older. Very young children often don’t grasp that concept.
If you do each have a birthday party, don’t make it a competition -– like one of you taking the birthday child and their friends to the San Diego Zoo while the other one can only afford a bounce house in the backyard. It’s best if you can agree on an amount to spend on each party and presents.
If you can throw a party jointly, your child will probably appreciate it. Just work out things like how the cost will be split, who’s in charge of doing what and other details that can become points of contention if they’re not settled ahead of time.
Whatever you decide to do and however it works out, the important thing is that your child enjoys it. Just seeing how much thought and effort you put into making it a special event can make your child feel special. Maybe just showing up at the party your co-parent organized and getting along with them for an hour or so is more important to your child than anything you could buy them.
Can you mention birthdays in your parenting plan?
It’s a good idea to address birthday parties in your parenting plan so that you have something to refer to when the next one rolls around. With some experienced legal guidance, you can find a solution that will work best for your family,