As graduation season begins, many divorced couples find themselves in a potentially uncomfortable position. With more adults getting remarried and the high school graduation rate in Georgia increasing, blended families are attending graduations in larger numbers. Though the challenges of raising a child together often encourages divorced couples to work together, attending public gatherings with an ex-partner and his or her new spouse is not always easy. There are no formal post-divorce graduation etiquette rules, but with a little preplanning it is possible to avoid most misunderstandings.
Discuss the Event
Instead of waiting until the week of graduation to talk to your ex-spouse, start discussing the event as early as possible. Work together to verify the date of the graduation, where it will be held, and how many guests each student is allowed to invite. Never take things for granted by assuming everyone involved or attending is on the same page. In addition to discussing the graduation itself, both parents should go over any plans they have made concerning the graduate. Parties, celebratory dinners, and other gatheringss that may not necessarily include the other parent should always be planned out ahead of time. If both parents make separate plans, their child’s special day could turn into a disaster.
Prepare for Unexpected Guests
Working together to prepare for graduation helps parents avoid most unpleasant surprises, but from time mishaps still occur. One of the most common issues divorced couples deal with is the unexpected presence of a former partner’s new love interest. A person celebrating the graduation of his or her child usually wants everyone close to them to attend. It is best to mentally prepare yourself for a possible encounter with a new partner, a former in-law you disliked, and other people who exited your life after your divorce was finalized.
Focus on Your Child
Even though your child is graduating from high school or college, it is important that you keep his or her best interests in mind. The graduation is not meant to become a battleground between you and your ex-spouse or other family members. Focus on your child and celebrating his or her accomplishment. Avoid discussing the divorce, your personal life, or asking your former spouse questions about his or her personal life. Keeping your child and the ceremony at the forefront of your mind is a good way to remain calm throughout the event.
When in Doubt, Call an Attorney
There are times when communication and planning are not enough to dispel hard feelings. If you or a loved one is having a dispute about graduation attendance with an ex-spouse, contacting an experienced child custody attorney is always a good idea. The attorneys at Vayman and Teitelbaum understand how important attending graduation is to a parent and his or her family members. They can help you go over a previous custody and visitation agreement to ensure that attending the graduation without the permission of the other parent is allowable. Contact us today and schedule a consultation at one of our four offices conveniently located in the Atlanta metro area so that we can help you with your unique situation.