For children, birthdays are some of the most exciting days of the year. They are the focus of everyone’s attention. They get to have gifts and cake, maybe even a party. They will look forward to their birthday for weeks and want to involve everyone they love in the celebration.
The joy your child experiences on their birthday could be one of the collateral losses your family suffers after a divorce. Parenting across two households does not have to make birthdays difficult, but it often does. The way that you and your ex handle birthday celebrations can have a big impact on how your kids feel about their special day in the future.
What are the common approaches for sharing birthdays?
Clearly, every child in your family only has one birthday a year, which means that if you alternate who spends the day with the child, that will mean going every other year without seeing your child on their birthday. For some families with high levels of conflict, that is the only approach that will work.
For other families, it may be possible to split birthdays. The children may spend the day before their birthday and the morning of their birthday with one parent and then their birthday evening and the next day with the other parent.
In scenarios with low levels of conflict, parents could also agree to share the children’s birthdays. They may alternate which parent hosts, but they will both be present for birthday celebrations together. If you were to ask the children in your family, provided there is no distracting conflict, the third option is often what they would prefer.
Thinking about all the different ways you can share child custody on important days will help you create a good parenting plan for your family.