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3 special days when your children will want both parents present

Parents planning a divorce often put a lot of effort and thought into how they want to split up parenting time. From carefully planning the division of responsibilities over the summer to splitting up holidays and other special events preemptively, divorcing parents often work hard to protect the relationship with their children and ensure they have enough time with their kids.

While a good parenting plan will reduce conflict and ensure that you have the right to spend time with your kids on the most important days, you might be overlooking your children's wishes for your own comfort if you insist on only one parent being present at most special events as part of your custody agreement.

For your children, the lack of one parent will likely detract from any special experience they have after the divorce, which should be motive enough for you and your ex to start thinking about when you can both be present for those special days.

Two holiday parties can be a source of stress rather than festivity

If your family celebrates the standard holidays most commonly celebrated across the United States, you may have a plan to alternate holidays so that you take the children for Halloween and Christmas this year, while your ex has them for Thanksgiving and New Years. Next year, you would have the children for the opposite holiday, which may seem like a perfectly viable compromise.

The chances are good that you will still celebrate the holiday with your kids when your parenting time comes. Unfortunately, needing to sit through multiple parties or two Thanksgiving dinners may be less fun than it is a source of stressful social obligation for your children.

Birthdays are supposed to be about the celebrant, not the guests

Alternating birthdays is far from an ideal solution, especially for the child celebrating their natality. They could very well grow to resent the absence of one parent when everyone else sings "Happy Birthday" to them.

If you and your ex can only agree to both be present for one event or day each year, sharing the birthday celebrations of your children is probably the best option, as it lets the kids know that they are the highest priority on that day.

No one wants to celebrate an achievement with only half of their family

As your children go through their adolescent and teen years, they will have many opportunities for success, ranging from track competitions or hockey matches to debates and their performance in a musical or play. Whether your child is engaged in an extracurricular activity or is about to receive an award or reach a major milestone, such as graduation from high school, they want their entire family unit there cheering them on, not just one-half of their parents.

Keeping the focus on your kid can make it easier for you and your ex to sit by one another during a soccer game or cheer together during your child's high school commencement ceremony. Both of you being there together can do a lot to improve your child's sense of a secure family bond after the divorce.

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Mary Kay Kramer, P.C.
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