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Celebrating Your Child’s Birthday in Post-Divorce Life

When the dust from marriage dissolution proceedings settle, people may find themselves facing some challenges that might not have been on their radar during a divorce. This may particularly be the case when a newly divorced couple has children. One issue that might arise in post-divorce life is how parents can go about celebrating a child’s birthday. There are several different considerations to bear in mind when a child’s birthday celebration is on the horizon

Joint Birthday Celebration

Many professionals with a background in working with families during divorces believe that a joint birthday celebration involving both parties jointly organizing an event is the preferable strategy during and even in post-divorce life:

Therapists and counselors often suggest that if possible, a birthday celebration involving both parents is preferable because it provides at least some element of post-divorce family cohesion or unity. Parents might not be together and yet the family can come together for important events.

There is a major caveat to the concept of a child’s birthday jointly organized or attended by both parents. In a good number of divorce and post-divorce situations, parents cannot get along with each other for much beyond a short period of time – or for no time at all. This reality brings us to the next scenario of separate birthday gatherings for a child during post-divorce life.

Separate Birthday Parties

As was noted a moment ago, there are many situations in which divorced parents simply cannot effectively and civilly jointly participate in one birthday event for their child. Before diving a bit deeper into this type of situation, this state of affairs is not something for a parent to feel ashamed about. (There can be caveats to this statement about shame in situations in which a parent engages in conduct like actively attempting to undermine the relationship a child has with the other parent.)

In the final analysis, it is a far, far better thing for each parent to have separate birthday celebrations for a child than it is to jointly stage a party or attend the same party with the foreknowledge that things will decay badly in no time at all.

Input From a Child

Depending on the circumstances, obtaining input from a child in regard to a birthday party is recommended (and oftentimes a natural course of action). Of course, there can be an exception if a surprise party is the desired celebration.

Part of the discussion of celebrating a child’s birthday with a child can include a discussion of the prospect of two parties, if parents believe that is the desirable course. The fact is that approaching a child about the prospect for a pair of parties most definitely does not need to be a negative idea for a young person. A child might be quite pleased with the prospect of two birthday celebrations (assuming the prospect for such a course is properly presented to a child).

A cautionary note is important. In embarking on this type of discussion with a child, care must be taken so that a young person doesn’t end up as being some sort of pawn in a divorce or in post-divorce life. Extreme care must always be taken to ensure that a child never ends up in this type of position. Such a situation can prove to be highly harmful to a child or any age.

Party Planning and an Extended Family

There are also situations in which conflicts may not so much exist between a child’s parents following a divorce but between each of the parent’s respective families. Consideration regarding the prospect for separate celebrations may arise out of a consideration of the ability of both extended families to civilly come together for a birthday celebration.

Protecting Your Legal Rights in a New Jersey Divorce Case

If you are considering a divorce or if you find yourself with some type of post-divorce issue or issues, the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen is here for you. You can schedule an appointment by calling our firm at (201) 845-7400.

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