This weekend is Mother’s Day, a day that most children recall with fondness in their later years. Unfortunately, for separated parents it can be a difficult day to navigate. To avoid any stress or conflict on the day, it is a good idea to discuss and coordinate a clear arrangement with your former partner now.

Depending on your individual circumstances, some arrangements may work better than others. For instance, some parents arrange for the children to spend the entirety of the Mother’s Day weekend with their mum and that such arrangement is also implemented for dad on Father’s Day later in the year. Alternatively, other parents agree to share part of the day or weekend with the children if it is important that the children have the opportunity to celebrate their mums and other significant maternal figures in their lives such as their grandmothers or step-mums.

There is no one-size fits all arrangement when it comes to organising special occasions with your former partner. Some helpful tips to ensure your children have the best Mother’s Day include:

  1. Remember it is about the children. Although it is called “Mother’s Day”, the occasion is an opportunity for kids to celebrate their mums just as Father’s Day is an opportunity with kids to celebrate their dads. It is important to not let this day become a competition about “whose day it really is”.
  2. Reduce the potential for conflict. Discuss and organise with your former partner a clear arrangement for the weekend which may include the day, time and location that changeover will occur for the children and who will or will not be present at changeover.
  3. Reciprocate the arrangement for Father’s Day. It is often beneficial to agree that the same arrangement agreed to for Mother’s Day is also implemented for Father’s Day. This way, neither mum or dad feel like they are missing out on celebrating special occasions with their children.
  4. Confirm the arrangement set out in your parenting Orders or parenting plan. If you and your partner have already negotiated arrangements for Mother’s Day and included that agreement in Court Orders or parenting plan, it may be beneficial to confirm the arrangement prior to the weekend to ensure that there is no confusion for you, your former partner or the children.

As a dad, you may also consider helping your children organise a gift for their mum, whether it be as small as some chocolate, a personalised mug or a handmade card. Special occasions can sometimes make children feel caught in the middle between wanting to do something special for one parent without wanting to hurt the feelings of the other parent. By involving yourself in the process of organising a gift for your former partner, it will not only help ease any anxieties that may be experienced by your kids but also extends as a gesture of goodwill which may assist your co-parenting relationship in the future.

If you are experiencing any difficulty negotiating appropriate arrangements for your children with your former partner, then please do not hesitate to contact the family law team at Southern Waters Legal on (02) 9523 5535 to assist you further.

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