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Handling post-divorce graduations with an ex

Even if you and your co-parent have worked to avoid spending any more time than necessary together since your divorce, a child's graduation is one of those occasions where you'll likely have to be together. You may also have to deal with ex in-laws you may not have seen for a long time or your ex's new significant other.

Of course, high school and college graduations are a big deal. However, these days, middle schoolers all the way down to pre-kindergartners have graduation ceremonies. The point is, you may be dealing with this a lot sooner than you anticipated.

The stress may begin with who is invited if each student gets limited tickets. If there's a limit, divide the tickets between your family and your ex's. If kids are old enough, they should have a say in which family members they'd like to attend.

It's best, of course, if everyone can sit together amicably. If you can't, stake out seats on separate sides of the venue. Figure that out beforehand so there's not a battle at the ceremony,

The primary thing to remember before, during and after the ceremony is that this day is about your graduate. It's not a time to argue over custody or support issues, rehash grievances with your in-laws, your ex or his or her new spouse. It's also not the time for other family members to air their grievances with one another. As one child advocate says, there's one rule at these events — be civil.

The same applies for any family celebrations following graduation. If you have a high school or college graduate who's agreed to attend the party you offered to throw rather than immediately heading off to the coast for a beach trip, consider yourself lucky. If you think that one large family gathering could devolve into a battle, you and your co-parent may want to plan two separate events a day apart for your graduate.

If this year's graduation has already passed or if you haven't had to deal with one yet, keep these things in mind for the next one. Like many post-divorce events involving your children, graduation may require a little extra planning and a healthy dose of self-restraint. You want it to be a happy memory for your child and not something he or she is discussing with a psychologist in a few years.

Source: This Week Community News, "Remember that graduation is about the graduate," Bev Theil, May 05, 2018

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