By Christine Fitzgerald

It’s almost the official start to summer and Father’s Day. As the Mother’s Day post indicated, holidays are often difficult for those parents that are co-parenting children. Holidays often raise the most questions such as:

  • Is it my holiday this year?
  • What time do I pick up the children?
  • Are there any restrictions on where I can take the children?
  • Where are the exchanges supposed to take place?

These daunting and stressful questions can often be answered by your Judgment of Divorce or Custody and Parenting Time Agreement. As such, if you are already divorced or have an agreement, consult with the relevant document to see what you agreed to regarding the holiday. If you are still not sure of the answers to your questions or you do not have an agreement yet, consult with your attorney well in advance of the holiday to see if there needs to be a clarification or whether an agreement on the holiday can be negotiated. If you and the other parent co-parent well together, talk to him or her about the upcoming holiday to see if you can resolve the issue between yourselves.

Despite these efforts, you may not be able to spend Father’s Day with your children. If you are a dad, granddad, step-dad, foster dad, uncle or any other father-figure, you want to consider some alternative options so that you and your children have a chance to celebrate together. Here are some to consider:

PLAN A:  If there is some reason that the children’s father, one of their fathers or their father figure cannot spend Father’s Day with the children, the parent that is unable to celebrate with the children should plan a special day with the children for another time that works. The parent should make the alternative celebration an extra special day. Some ideas are to take the children hiking, to dinner at your favorite BBQ joint, or to listen to a local band in the park.  If you are the parent that has the children for Father’s Day, ensure that the children call their father so that he knows the children appreciate him and the children know they have two parents that love them. Additionally, the other parent can also have the children make a special craft or buy a special gift for their dad that they are missing on Father’s Day.

PLAN B:  If Dad is able to spend Father’s Day with the children, then the other parent should make their best effort to allow him to have the day with the children. As stated above, the earlier you start planning, the easier it is to work around any scheduling issues. If the children have two dads that they want to celebrate with, try sharing the day and alternating who has the morning and who has the afternoon each year. This will allow the children to see both dads on an important and special day of bonding and appreciation.   

The most important takeaway is that your children are your first priority. No matter how you feel about the other parent, your children love him or her so encourage the children to have a relationship with both of you.

From all of us at Seiden Family Law, LLC, we wish all the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, dads-to-be, and other paternal figures a Happy Father’s Day!