Once you have separated from your ex, it can be tricky to figure out how you will share your child’s different events. There will be graduations, weddings and other special occasions in the future—and of course your child will want both of you there.

You want to be a part of your child’s big moments—but it may be tough to spend those times with your ex too. Focusing on what matters and anticipating potential issues can make these life events better for everyone involved.

Remember who the day is about

The thought of sitting next to your ex in the bleachers or the auditorium for hours might not be your favorite. But you should keep in mind that the event you are attending is focused on your child—not you.

You and your ex should talk before you attend to lay down some ground rules. These may be about seating arrangements, time spent with just one of you or who else can attend. If you both go into the event with the mindset of keeping the peace on this special day, it can go much more smoothly.

Plan the event carefully

If you are involved in setting up the event—such as a reception or after-party—you can help keep things peaceful. While you are planning, some questions you should ask yourself are:

  • Who does your child want at the event?
  • Is there any conflict besides you and your ex to consider?
  • Will you serve drinks at the celebration? Alcohol can lead to harsh feelings coming out.
  • Do you have someone to support you in case a conflict arises?
  • Will everyone have to sit together the whole time—or will people be able to move freely?

Figuring out who to invite and what activities will happen may help you, your ex and your child all enjoy the gathering more.

Making memories with your family is an important part of life—even after divorce. Working together with your ex to make the day special for your child may help you avoid conflict during an important life event.