• Laura L. Van Tassel, Esq.

Celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day After Divorce 2021


After a crazy year of bouncing between the roles of substitute’ teachers, tutors, guidance counselors, coaches, and entertainment directors – To say that parents have faced a slew of challenges over the past year would be a significant understatement. As we continue to lean on each other and look forward to brighter days, take extra care make sure to celebrate both parents this year.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Days are special times for families to express how much love and appreciation they have for their parents, but this day can also stir up mixed emotions if a family is dealing with a separation or divorce, yet this is a great day to show your kids how despite your differences, you and your co-parent are still a team. Set aside your frustrations for this day, if not for your co-parent, for your kids.

Here are some tips to make celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day after divorce enjoyable for everyone:

Follow your children’s lead Make plans to talk with your children ahead of time about what they would like to do for Dad/Mom on their special day. Listen to their ideas about how they would like to honor their parents and follow their lead. Parents should take a look at their shared parenting schedule over the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day weekends to see if any adjustments need to be addressed in order to make this happen. Remember it’s okay to set appropriate boundaries around what you can and can’t do. Be mindful that younger children will need more guidance about how to make the day special. Although older children are more capable and independent, they will probably need a reminder and your support. Consider asking what their plans are for that day and if they need any help. Although it may not seem like much, in the long run, it will mean something to your teen.

Create a Joint Custody Parenting Plan

If you don’t already have a co-parenting plan in writing, it is important to do so. Not only for your peace of mind but for your children. There will be much less stress and turmoil if both parents know in advance when they have time with the children and when they will not. The more details and plans you work out before the issue arises, the easier it will be to avoid arguments and aggravation. You won’t have to fight for your rights because they’ll already be laid out in a well constructed and thought out parenting plan.

This will be easier for some co-parents than others. If you don’t know where to start you may want to start with some legal advice to protect your rights and the rights of your children. For some couples, this won’t be necessary to work out parenting time as both parties will be focused on the most efficient and effective plan for the children. Other couples may find themselves bickering over every line and detail.

That’s why it’s better to get it out of the way all at once and just have to do some fine tuning to an already established agreement rather than having to argue over every exchange and visitation.

Working with custody plans and holidays can be tough, but by being flexible, you can work out a solution that allows you to celebrate an important day with your children. No matter what your situation, there are ways to figure out a plan that works for everyone.

Comply with your custody/visitation agreement.

If you have an agreement, look to your custody or visitation order for holiday schedules, which will typically cover Mother's Day and Fathers Day. To be equitable to both parents, New Jersey provides a guide Parenting Time. This pamphlet will provide you with information to help you plan your children’s time with each parent, as well as suggestions on common issues dealing with parenting time (visitation). It applies to all separating parents whether married or never married.

It may not be too late to request it.

If your custody and visitation order doesn't cover Mother's Day or Fathers Day, you may still be able to work out some arrangement with the other parent. It may be too late for a court hearing on the matter, unless there are special or extraordinary circumstances -- but that usually refers to medical emergencies or allegations of child abuse.

Try not to be disruptive or create tension.

Kids need a certain level of routine in their lives, even on special days. When it comes to custody and visitation arrangements, it's important to put your child's interests first. Also try not to ruin your special day by squabbling with the other parent. It's also a good idea to not badmouth your ex when spending time with your kid.

Stick to your visitation schedule and be on time. If you do get custody or visitation with your kids this Mother's Day or Father’s Day, it's important to be courteous and on-time when it comes to dropping off or picking up your child. This of course goes for dads too. Don't interfere with agreements, and make sure you're prompt and reliable.

Tips For Celebrating Without Custody

Get permission to visit

You may not have custody that day, but if you get permission to come to your ex-spouse’s home for a few hours, then you can still see your children. For example, some people may have a short dinner together to celebrate the holiday, even though they are not in a relationship and one parent technically doesn’t have visitation that day. If you have a good relationship with your ex, this may be an option.

Celebrate Virtually

If the problem is that Mother’s Day or Father's Day falls on a date when your children aren’t at home or are participating in a special activity, consider getting together digitally. Virtual visitation for an hour or a two could help you spend at least some time with your children, even though they are not with you.

Reschedule your celebration

If you want to celebrate with your children but won’t see them for a few days, you could reschedule the celebration. Tell your children that you’ll celebrate the next time you see them, and then put together a plan to make the day special.If you don’t have custody of your children that day or you have asked to have your children but your ex-spouse doesn’t want to give up time, then this can be a complex issue to deal with.

For most people, the right thing to do is to set up a parenting plan that accounts for holidays like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, so that their children are with the right parent on those dates. If you didn’t consider it and won’t be with your children on the holiday for some reason, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. It just means that you may need to adjust the date you celebrate or try alternative means of spending time together.

It won’t matter to them whether they celebrated Mother’s Day or Fathers Day on the actual date that year. They won’t remember the calendar or the hour they saw you, they’ll hold on to the fun and love you shared in the time you did spend together.

Contact Van Tassel Law About Your Child Custody Rights

Van Tassel Law is experienced in all aspects of child custody law in New Jersey. I am here to answer any questions you have concerning your child custody rights. I take pride in guiding my clients with compassion and expertise through any issue pertaining to child custody, child support, divorce, separation, and other family law related matters.