Co-parenting and the challenge of celebrating birthdays

After a Pennsylvania divorce, co-parenting is often one of the biggest challenges that parents face. Along with making decisions about the child’s schooling, medical care, religious upbringing and extracurricular activities, celebrating special events and holidays can be problematic. There are many factors to consider in these circumstances.

Parents may debate the preferable strategy with a child’s birthday party. Some tend to think it is better if the other parent does not come to the party. This is true in difficult relationships where tension would mar the celebration. Others are on reasonably cordial terms, and it is a day for the parents to share with the child.

There are certain key issues to consider, including how old the child is; when the couple parted ways; if there is lingering tension; if there is a chance a dispute will occur; the level of involvement of the other parent; if there will be behavioral changes if the other parent is there; what the child wants; and if other people, like ex-in-laws, would also need to be invited, exacerbating acrimony. For a recent divorce and situations where either or both parties have started new relationships, it might cause too much pain to spend the child’s birthday together. Anger and hurt can result in negative comments and spark an unwanted incident at the party.

The co-parenting agreement could have a basic guideline for how parents will address these aspects of a case. If there is conflict that needs resolution to move forward, a parenting coordinator could be of assistance with discussion, making plans, communicating and more. This will not make legal changes about the order, but it can help with forging a workable agreement. Setting up a consultation regarding a collaborative solution to co-parenting concerns can be beneficial.

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