Coates & Frey, Attorneys at Law, LLLC
Phone: (808) 524-4854

Handling a child's graduation gracefully during divorce

Is your child about to graduate from high school or college? Whether your divorce is almost over or still in the beginning stages, events like a child's graduation can be stressful for both divorcing parents and their children -- especially if the ex-couple still has unresolved issues.

Here are some tips on how to handle a graduation event when you're in the midst of a divorce:

1. If you're in charge of the arrangements, be kind to your ex.

This event is about your child -- not you and your spouse. Therefore, you want to plan things based on what will make your child the happiest and cause the least strife.

That means:

  • Put both parents' names on the graduation announcements.
  • If you're in control of the tickets, sit near your ex-spouse. You don't have to speak to each other, but your child should be able to look up and see you united in your appreciation for all they've achieved.

If you can't bring yourself to be genuinely sociable with your ex, think of this as a business meeting with its own protocols and expectations of behavior and you'll do fine.

2. Decide if there's going to be one party or two.

You and your ex may decide to throw one graduation party or two -- depending on how far apart you prefer to be from each other and how separate the guest lists might be. One of you may want to throw a party while the other wants to host an intimate dinner.

Have a meeting with your ex to discuss the details -- including dates, guest lists, any gifts you intend to give your child and other important details. Keep focused on the business at hand and congratulate each other on a job well done with your child in order to stay away from any other topics (like your unsettled divorce).

3. Reassure your child that there's not going to be any drama.

You and your spouse both love your child. Based on that alone, you can probably agree to a drama-free event for your child's sake. Make that commitment to each other and your child and put all other issues on hold for the night.

If you're going through a divorce, don't go through it alone. An attorney can protect your legal rights.

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