The recent occurrence of Mother’s and Father’s Day brings up the issue of children of divorce and dealing with gift-giving during these occasions. This is often an uncomfortable situation for the parents of the child and it is also an opportunity for them to hurt each other by not encouraging the children to acknowledge the holiday. Many parents fail to take into account the needs of the children after the divorce, and they actually hurt the child, not the other parent, by making them feel as if they are hurting their parents’ feelings. In order to avoid this problem, marriage and divorce attorneys recommend that parents help their children celebrate and acknowledge holidays such as Father’s Day and Mother’s Day in some way, even without spending any money on their ex-spouse or their new partner. They can help the child with shopping or making a card or gift and ensure that the child delivers it to the other parent. It is generally recommended that the parent remind the child of the holiday and the importance of getting the other parent a gift.
The problem of acknowledging celebratory occasions for the other spouse is related to the acrimony divorcing spouses often feel towards each other. The problems stems from the difficult process of property division, child custody, and the actions of separation and relocation, all of which are emotionally draining and turbulent. With all of the emotional turmoil involved, it is no wonder that acknowledging holidays and engaging in providing gifts for the other spouse is often an awkward experience.
Also, the children are often negatively affected if the holiday is ignored by their other parent. If their parents do not encourage them to make gifts or acknowledge a holiday honoring the other parent, this encourages strife between the parties by hurting the other parent’s feelings, and the feelings of the child. In this way, children are hurt by the petty decisions of their parents.
In Illinois and elsewhere, divorcing spouses have the ability to draw up an agreement between themselves to cover touchy subjects such as child custody, support, and visitation, property division, and any alimony. In this way, the process of divorce can be less painful and both spouses can ensure that they enter into a fair and equitable arrangement.
Source: Huffington Post, “Helping Children of Divorce Celebrate Father’s Day,” Diane L. Danois, June 12, 2013