Divorce impacts everyone differently. Divorced parents uniquely navigate their lives as they raise children in two different homes, sharing custody in different ways. In every case, the time you spend with your kids, whether a 50/50 split or not, is precious. With Father’s Day approaching next weekend, this is a great time to plan something special and make the most of your time with your kids.

Divorced Dad on Father’s Day

law mentorBeing a single dad on Father’s Day is a time to start your own traditions. This day is about you and your relationship with your kids, so it is an excellent opportunity to do something fun they will remember. It could include an activity you wish you did with your dad or things you enjoyed doing together before the divorce, like riding bikes, camping, beach days, or going to a sporting event. If your child is at a certain age where you think they may have an opinion about the best way to spend the day together, talk about their ideas and come up with something together. The great thing about this plan is that it does not have to be extravagant or expensive; it should just be something you will enjoy doing together. 

Co-Parenting around Father’s Day

As with every aspect of co-parenting, communication is key to making every day easier, particularly when Father’s Day lands on the other parent’s custodial day under the divorce agreement. Since your goal is to spend time with your kids on Father’s Day, plan ahead. Have a conversation in the weeks before Father’s Day to let your ex know about your desire to spend the day with your children and include what you will do, including times and activity details. This conversation is not meant to get your ex’s approval but to let them know how you intend to make the day special. If you have younger children, make sure the plans include naptime, food considerations, and travel. If being with your kids is not possible due to living arrangements or work travel, talk with your ex before Father’s Day to plan a specific time you can connect via a phone call or video chat to celebrate the day.

One of the key elements of positive co-parenting around special events is keeping your anger toward your ex-spouse out of the time you spend with your kids. Spending time with your kids should not be filled with bringing up negative things about their mother; it should be filled with the activities you and your kids enjoy. If your former relationship is contentious and communication is difficult, it may be best to revisit the divorce agreement with the help of a family law professional and adjust future Father’s Day schedules to minimize the confusion and stress.

Keep it Fun

Under the best of circumstances, Father’s Day, like all holidays, is supposed to be fun. Kids are unpredictable; if you are happy and positive, they will follow your lead. A good plan can help keep the day on track. Though you will always be a dad, spending Father’s Day together may not always be possible. But being the best dad, no matter what day it is, is possible for everyone.

Rebecca L. Palmer, Esq. is a Family & Marital Law attorney practicing in Orlando, FL. She is also the Managing Partner of the Rebecca L. Palmer Law Group, and she can be reached at rebecca@rlpvlawgroup.com