Divorce and child custody matters in general often address holidays, time sharing and vacations with children. You should be sure to remember to address your child(ren)’s birthday in addition to the other holidays and discuss your options with your child custody or divorce attorney. In my practice in Florida, my clients have opted to handle the children’s birthdays in a number of ways. Common methods have included alternating the child’s birthday in even and odd years, splitting the day in half, and even sharing the day together.
Share Important Days
Understand that sharing important days in your child’s life is part of co-parenting. There will be graduations, weddings, and other events that both of you will most likely be attending. Birthdays are a good opportunity to work on supporting your child and having a good relationship with the other parent for other events at an early age. If it is possible, consider sharing the birthday and having a joint birthday party, or invite the other parent, which includes the child’s immediate family members and friends. Most children love having both parents present and this will afford such an opportunity.
Can You Get Along?
A joint birthday party only works if you can be nice to one another and not argue openly in front of your child and your guests. If there are issues of domestic violence or abuse, a joint party or inviting the other parent may not be appropriate. Take these things into consideration prior to planning the party and including the other parent. Children’s birthday parties are about your children and should be focused on their best interest. So, include the other parent if appropriate.
It is probably best to have the party in a neutral setting. A neutral spot is not your home but a public place.
You should include other family members such as the paternal and maternal grandparents. This is assuming that everyone can maintain a civil relationship. Again, if there are issues of abuse or concerns that an argument could erupt publically, these may not be the best guests. Exercise your own judgment and caution, but if possible include those family members special to your child.
Consider getting input from the other parent on items such as the cake, a joint present or other details associated with the party. By just including the other parent, you are reaching out and giving yourselves an opportunity to perhaps have a positive interaction. Even if you don’t agree with a suggestion from the other parent, let them know you appreciate their input.
Most of all, have fun. Birthdays are special days and should be a time to celebrate. Know that by including the other parent, your child’s day may be extra special, especially if it is an opportunity to see you and the other parent working together and getting along.
This article is not meant to all inclusive or a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your own jurisdiction. If you have been subpoenaed as a witness in a legal matter and have questions, you should contact a competent attorney in your own jurisdiction.
K. Beth Luna, Esq. is licensed in Tennessee, Florida and Nevada. The information provided is based upon Nevada law only. If you are looking for information for another jurisdiction, please contact an attorney in that area. The Luna Law Firm handles child custody matters on a regular basis in the Reno, Carson, Nevada area.
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