Mother’s Day can be difficult for divorced parents, especially mothers. Our society places a heavy emphasis on family, togetherness, and love on Mother’s Day, but a looming sense of anxiety or sadness may be present for newly divorced parents. How can parents work together to make Mother’s Day enjoyable for the whole family?
Adjust Visitation Schedules
An ideal child custody and visitation agreement should state that children spend Mother’s Day with mom, and Father’s Day with dad. However, some couples neglect to put this stipulation in their agreements. When this happens, it is best to be flexible with visitation times and schedules. Being flexible and adapting to changed plans is easy when parents live within driving distance of each other, but it becomes much more complicated if they are further apart.
If a child is not able to be with their mom on Mother’s Day, then it becomes the father’s responsibility to facilitate communication. Dad should arrange for the child to speak with their mother over the phone, or video chat on Skype or Facetime. The gesture may seem small, but it will mean so much to mom to speak with her child on Mother’s Day.
Be Cordial and Thoughtful
Children are intuitive and can sense when there is tension between their parents. This tension can cause the child anxiety, so it is recommended that parents make an effort to be cordial towards each other on holidays. Acting friendly towards the other parent is not only the nice thing to do, it is the right thing to do.
Recently divorced couples often have a difficult time on their first Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. They don’t know how to approach gift giving or event planning, as they have yet to get use to their role as a single parent. Depending on the age of the child, a parent can help with crafting a gift for their ex-spouse, or make a reservation at their favorite restaurant for brunch. Not only will the other parent be touched and appreciate the effort, but children will enjoy working with their dad to plan a fun activity for mom.
Communication is Key
Communication problems are one of the top reasons why couples divorce. Learning how to communicate well with an ex-spouse can become even more difficult and stressful when it comes to making plans for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and other special events. This is why it is important to be respectful towards an ex, and schedule a convenient time to discuss plans.
When approaching the other parent, it is best to do so in a calm manner, as this will help to keep the conversation friendly. Propose an alternative visitation schedule, such as brunch with the child in the morning, and let the other parent know that their respect and generosity will be reciprocated during the next holiday or event.
Remember, divorce can be a good thing if parents can learn how communicate well and be flexible with visitation or parenting time. A divorce should always be child centered, and good communication is a cornerstone of having a successful divorce.
Think About Extended Family
Grandmothers, aunts, and stepmoms all deserve recognition on Mother’s Day. The same rings true for grandpas, uncles, and stepdads on Father’s Day. It can take a village to raise a child, and it is important to recognize those extended family members who make an extra effort to help parent a child.
A biological parent will feel hurt and left out if they aren’t the priority on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, especially if there is a stepparent who takes an active role in the child’s life. All plans should be made with the biological parent first, even if the biological parent only has supervised visitation rights and is not allowed to be alone with the child.
While it may be a nuisance to make the other parent a priority, especially when there isn’t a good co-parenting relationship, they will appreciate the effort and reciprocate the generosity during other holidays or birthdays.
When Things Don’t Go as Planned…
Unfortunately, not all parents are willing to be flexible and allow changes to visitation schedules so their ex can spend time with the child on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. When this happens, it is best to review the custody and visitation agreement. The document will usually stipulate which parent the child is to spend time with on certain holidays.
If an ex-spouse is refusing to abide by the agreement, additional legal intervention may be required. If this is the case, it is important to hire an experienced attorney to draft and file an enforcement petition with the court. The family law firm of Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. routinely advocates for New York families, fighting to enforce previously agreed upon custody and visitation schedules. For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, contact Brian and his team today!