Do’s and Don’ts for Divorced Parents at Big Events

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If you’re a divorced a co-parenting couple, there are likely many things about parenting that are stressful or frustrating.  Not agreeing with or being on the same time schedule as your spouse may be some of them, and when it comes to big events these stressors can be amplified.

For many divorced couples, being in the same room with their ex creates nervousness or stirs up old feelings of hostility, or can be just plain awkward.  This is all normal and very common, but these situations have the potential to ruin special events for children who are growing up.

When the time comes for a child to graduate high school, and all the celebrations and family get-togethers that follow, that child will likely want both of their parents to be involved as much as possible despite the divorce.

So, when the time comes to spend hours in the same room as your ex, here are some Do’s and Don’ts from the Huffington Post on how to keep your child’s special day special for them, and not stressful and dramatic for you:


  • Plan ahead.  If possible, plan ahead and communicate with your ex before the time of the event.  If it’s a graduation, make a plan on how you will split the tickets so everyone who wants to see your child receive a diploma can do so.  If it’s a party, make contact and know whether your ex will be attending and if they’re bringing any guests. Knowing what to expect is the first step to relaxing.
  • Share photographs.  If you’re up in the front row at graduation, and your ex is back where all the kids look like ants, send a copy of the nice photos to the other parent.  Despite how you feel about your ex, you may want to consider how they feel about your child.
  • Set an example of how to be poised and gracious in the presence of your ex in front of your young graduate and growing adult.  Though your child may be growing up, he or she is still impressionable and will remember your actions at the events that are most important to them.



  • Don’t try to compete in planning celebratory events.  If your former spouse has already taken the lead in planning a graduation party with friends and family, don’t try to plan an equally big party for your child.  If you and the other parent are not on terms that allow you both to attend the same party, just remember: Your child’s party should be focused on solely him or her and not on which party was bigger or better.  Communicate with your ex about the party and whether they have started planning one, and keep your child in the spotlight.       
  • Don’t take jabs at your ex in front of your child. Even if it is in good fun, don’t make snide remarks about your former spouse in front of your child.  This does little good in any situation, and on your child’s big day it takes the attention off of them and puts it on your feeling towards your ex.      


The best piece of advice from this article on how to handle important events for your child as a divorced parent is to “cherish the moment with you and your children.  Be courteous and respectful to the ex, and most of all, remember kindness because it goes a long way.”



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About Julie Clark

Julie M. Clark graduated from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law. She has been practicing law in Riverside County since February of 1992. Julie Clark's Google+ Profile

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