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Incorporating birthday celebrations into your parenting plan

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2021 | Divorce |

You don’t want to miss out on your child’s birthday. It’s a very special time that marks the march of the years. Every birthday is a milestone. Plus, you want to see if they love their gifts as much as you hope.

After a divorce, you will have to determine how birthdays will be handled. Should they go to the parent who already has parenting time on that day? Or do you need to make special arrangements?

In some situations, you may be able to share your kids’ birthdays completely. For example, if you have had a relatively amicable divorce, it may be possible to invite the other parent to the child’s birthday party. If that is not for you, you will need to come up with another solution.

Here are three examples of ways you can divide your kids’ birthdays. As always, the focus should be on your children’s needs.

Division 1: Give each parent half of the birthday

Treat the birthday as a holiday, which overrides the usual parenting schedule. The child can spend the morning of their birthday with one parent and the evening with the other. This works best when the birthday isn’t on a school day. If it is, you could allocate the birthday to one parent but give the other parent a couple of hours with the child, such as a dinner.

Division 2: Each parent gets to give a party on different days

One parent could have the child on their actual birthday, whether that is a school day or a weekend day and the other parent could schedule a birthday party the following weekend.

There is a lot of flexibility available here. You can treat the birthday as a holiday and assign it to each parent in alternating years, but give the weekend following the birthday to the other parent. The advantage is that the child gets a birthday party with each of their parents or a special weekend with each.

The downside is that your child’s friends probably won’t come to both parties. That could give one parent the “real” birthday with friends and gifts, while the other is relegated to having the “extra” party.

Division 3: Alternate years

It may be that the best arrangement for you is to alternate years altogether. Mom gets the kids’ birthdays one year and dad the next, for example. Or, if you have more than one child, you could divide your time so that each parent gets at least one child’s birthday each year.

If you plan to alternate years, consider setting up start and end times. For example, if you want to have the whole day with your child, you could set it up so that the child gets the evening before their birthday and all the way through their birthday with one parent. The next year, they get the entire period with the other parent.

If one parent will not be with their child at all on the birthday, be sure and allow for a phone visit so they aren’t left out entirely. And, you may want to arrange it so that the parent who does not get the birthday in a particular year does get another major holiday with the children.

There is a lot to think about. These are not the only options available. You may be able to negotiate a division that works better for your family than any of these scenarios.


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