Father’s Day without the children
Whether it is your first Father’s Day after divorce or your tenth, this day can present challenges if you are going through, or on the other side of, divorce or separation.
For dads who are dealing with separation, divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership one of the key challenges of Father’s Day is how you agree who the children will spend the day with if the date falls outside of your usual time with them. It may be that this special day does not fall within your week or weekend to be with the children and in this situation, who the children spend the day with very much depends on how amicable you and your ex-partner are.
If each parent can demonstrate a degree of mutual flexibility and respect, it is hoped they can each agree that the children get to spend time with Dad. However, we know this is not always possible which can be difficult to deal with. Handling the emotions of a Father’s Day without your children is going to be difficult. Of course, you would prefer to be with your children, but if you cannot then there some things you can put in place to help you deal with it as best you can.
1. Plan ahead for Father’s Day
If you are a dad and Father’s Day falls on a date when you would not usually be with your children, then some pre-planning will help. Talk to your ex-partner in advance to see if you can swap weekends/days so you can spend the day with your children, and ensure that you do the same for Mother’s Day next year.
Perhaps you could agree how you will deal with days that are important to you and your ex-partner in your parenting plan and ensure that the same rules apply to each of you.
2. Father’s Day your way
Why does Father’s Day have to fall on a certain date? The answer, it doesn’t! So, take control of the situation and organise your own special Day for a day when you do have the children. Plan something for you all to do together and enjoy your own special day that’s unique to you. Depending on their age, your children may feel uncomfortable spending Father’s day without you so getting them to help you plan an alternative day may take the pressure off for everyone.
3. No cards and presents
If your children are pre-school age, a card and gift may not be likely. Older children may make a homemade card at school and perhaps friends or family will step in so that you’re treated to a surprise gift. However, why not buy your own gift? At least you can get something that you truly like!
4. Do something different with your Father’s day after divorce
Take the opportunity to do something different with your time. Gather other friends and family and arrange a meal or day out or go to that place you have wanted to go to for a while but have not found the time yet. Visiting a new place does wonders to lift your mood.
5. Stay off social media
Take a digital detox for the day and avoid social media. Seeing pictures of others enjoying time with their children may make you feel worse and knock you off course with your alternative Father’s Day. And remember, people share the highlights of their lives on social media. It’s a cherry-picked snapshot rather the reality of the whole day.
6. Father’s day is one day
Finally, Father’s Day is just one day and you are not alone. Single parents, married fathers in difficult relationships, and those who have lost a father or a child will struggle too. Focus energy on making the most of the day by taking the time to prioritise yourself and tailoring the day to suit you. You can create a special day for you and children another day without the pressure of Father’s Day.
If you are experiencing difficulties with child arrangements after family breakdown or have any other queries about a family law matter please contact us, we are here to help.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.