Whether your child is planning to get married around Valentine’s Day or has scheduled a summer wedding, if you’re a divorced parent, you may be dreading the prospect of dealing with your co-parent. You likely will be together not just on the big day but at events leading up to the wedding. Whether you’ve been divorced for years or the break-up is recent, big celebrations can be awkward.
The crucial thing — as always — is to focus on what’s best for your child. That means not giving them any reason to worry that their parents’ conflicts will mar their joy. This may be easier said than done — particularly if your ex shows up at the wedding with their new significant other. However, if you keep a few things in mind, you can do it.
Talk to your co-parent ahead of time
If your relationship is strained, reach out to your ex and agree to a truce. The one thing you should be able to agree on is that you don’t want to ruin the day for your child, your family or your new in-laws.
Have a buffer
If you’re concerned about how your ex is going to behave (or how you’ll respond), have someone with you throughout the events. If you don’t have a new spouse or a date, ask a relative or close family friend who’ll be there to stick by you through the festivities. This will give you someone to talk to so that you’re less focused on your ex. They can also help get you out of an uncomfortable encounter if it happens.
Be polite and gracious
Greet your ex pleasantly, perhaps tell them they look good (whether they do or not) and, if possible, make polite chit-chat. If your ex doesn’t return your courtesy, move on to talking to other guests knowing that you chose to be the better person.
If your child’s wedding is still some time off, you and your co-parent may want to discuss whether you’re paying for some or all of the nuptials and, if so, how you’re splitting the costs. If you agree to split the cost of the wedding or perhaps help them pay for their honeymoon, you may want to consider putting an agreement in place. Your family law attorney can offer some advice on how best to handle this.