29 answers

Birthday Party When Parents Are Separated

So my ex and i have been separated for over a year now and our eldest son's 4th birthday is this friday and i'm planning a party for him on sunday. my question is: is it ok for my ex to invite himself, his girlfriend and her two daughters? don't divorced parents have separate parties? i would be fine having them there if he were willing to chip in on the cost of the party, isn't that reasonable? he hasn't been paying any child support, and only sees our kids by chance because they go to his mom's house one day a week and he's temporarily living there. he doesn't even call them.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow thank you all for your great advice. just to clarify my kids do know her and her kids and my ex does see them the once a week they go to his mom's house and he occasionaly has them over for the night. so here's what went down: i told him i really wouldn't feel comfortable with his girlfriend and her kids at the part but asked if he would still come and be there for our son. he gave some non-commital reply and i found out through his mom that he wasn't coming. BUT his mom and her husband had planned to take my son to a hockey game on his birthday and my ex and his girlfriend went with them. so my boys got to celebrate the birthday on his side of the family and then i had the party with my side of the family (his mom and step-dad came to it also, we are on good terms) so it worked out well for everyone. thanks again for all the great advice!!!

Featured Answers

It needs to be a joint decision, if it is a joint party. Either share the costs, or have two (and the exes can be invited to the other if in agreement). He should NOT invite himself to anything you are doing.

3 moms found this helpful

Could you say, great see you there, and by the way please bring the cake and drinks for everyone. That way, it's not a money issue, it's just getting him to play a part in the event.

PS if you do this be very specific about what kind of cake and where to get it (you could even order it ahead of time, he could pick it up and pay for it) and which drinks and how much, so he doesn't do a half-azzd job of it.

1 mom found this helpful

No it is no O.K for him to do that. Tell him not to come unless he pays all back child support, the whole party UP FRONT plus day care for his girlfriends to kids.

More Answers

It's o.k. if you're ok with it. You have every right to ask he help pay too.

Have you asked your son what he wants? Sounds as if he doesn't see his father much so he may tell you No. If having Dad there would cause him any stress, especially with GF/kids in tow, then I would tell your ex that he should have his own party if he wants to. However as absent from your son's life as he is, I wouldn't bet on it. If your child says he wants Dad there, then yes I would definitely insist he pitch in and pay for half. It’s his son too.

Also if he doesn't see his father much how well can he know the GF and her kids. I don't know. I would put the feelings of my child first. It's his birthday.

By the way, I’m divorced and my ex and I did have parties together, with no significant others until my daughter was about 7. Then we did separate parties. It was just easier and less stress.

I will not even get into the issue that he doesn’t pay child support….=-)

3 moms found this helpful

I think every situation is different. Some parents are ok having joint parties. My ex and I have a 6 yrs. old daughter and we have always had separate parties.

You need to take his butt to court to get the child support that your children deserve.

3 moms found this helpful

I think its valid you feel the way you do, as your the one covering the cost of the party. But for the sake of your son, he'd probably love it if both his parents celebrated it together. So for the sake of your son, what is the cost of 4 more people???

3 moms found this helpful

Me personally, my answer would be NO, it is not okay. Some people might tell you to take the high road with this, but if it were me, I'd explain that he's welcome to schedule a time to take your son for a birthday outing at another time, if he chooses to (or perhaps that he's welcome to come solo without his New Life Entourage...)

I find it to be in poor taste that he would invite not only himself, but his girlfriend and her kids as well, without consulting you. I don't know where your boundaries with him were before, but this is a good time to start figuring out what you want them to be. If it's fine with you that he and these new people in his life come, that's certainly your choice. For me, personally, I would be concerned about how my son would feel esp. because his father isn't making any extra effort to see him, and now dad doesn't just come solo, but with other children in tow. The focus doesn't just get to be him. Add to this--is this what you want the other guests to focus on? (or perhaps everyone involved knows everyone else and so this is no big thing?)

I wouldn't even bring up the 'chipping in' or 'you aren't paying child support' arguments. Leave them out of it entirely. Consider this as you would setting boundaries with a toddler-- in this instance, do you want this to be a discussion at every birthday your children have? Consistency, consistency. From your description of your soon-to-be ex, it sounds like he's very comfortable taking advantage of the good nature of others. (and you need to get an order of child support through the courts...he needs to be paying this.)

The Miss Manners in me says "beyond the pale!" but perhaps other posters have different feelings on the matter...

3 moms found this helpful

It needs to be a joint decision, if it is a joint party. Either share the costs, or have two (and the exes can be invited to the other if in agreement). He should NOT invite himself to anything you are doing.

3 moms found this helpful

Normally I would say that the parents should suck it up and get along for the party. New wives or girlfriends and their kids need not attend -unless the birthday child has become step-siblings with them or really likes them. However, you need to take him to court ASAP for child support! Why wouldn't you force him to pay for his kids? I would tell him that the fact that he makes no effort to pay for, call/contact or even see his children means he gets no special treatment. I would let him know the next time he saw me would be in court. So, NO, it is NOT okay for him to invite himself and the girlfriend and her kids! HE should attend and HE should give money for the party. Even if he doesn't do that, he should come because this is his child and it will be important to your son. Make sure he understands that he is to come alone and should pay. If he doesn't, he's a worm and a loser.

2 moms found this helpful

I have seen some really great divorced dad's show up at soccer games, birthday parties, and every one of their kids events alone. Girlfriends stay at home! This way dad can focus his son and this is what the function is about. By bring the girlfriend and her children he would have him entertaining. When ever the girlfriends are around the moms feels bad and dad watches the girlfriend, not the child. If he wishes to come to his son's birthday he should come alone. The cost would be smaller for you and your son can see his dad. "We don't have the room or food for 4 more people, he would love it if his dad shows comes." Don't say anything to your son just incase he doesn't show.

2 moms found this helpful

You need to get a lawyer, he should be paying support.

As for the party, it is up to you. It would probably be nice for your son to have both parents at his party, but I would draw the line at girlfriends and her kids for now, you do not need that drama at a party you are throwing (live in gfs or new wives are different since they are also part of your child's family). And if he wants to come to the party and be a parent, than yes, he should pitch in. Tell him you would welcome him, and only him, but that he needs to bring .........and include a list of supplies.

2 moms found this helpful

My son's father and I have been separated since before he was a year old (got back together and then separated again). I have ALWAYS invited his father (and later his girlfriend/wife and kids) and that side of his family.

The party is for your son so I am sure he would want his dad there. If you can get him to chip in, great. If not, invite him anyway...it is all about the kids. If you are having it somewhere that charges per child, tell him that they are welcome to come but they need to pay for the extra kids he's bringing.

2 moms found this helpful

Tough call based on what you've revealed. But I would ALWAYS want the child to be put first and since it is his special birthday, I think I would suck it up, put on a smile and include your son's dad (and his entourage). Very best of luck to you!

2 moms found this helpful

I think that whatever is in the best interest of the children is the right thing to do. If you're willing to have him, his girlfriend and her kids, then invite them! Or at least invite him. And yes, I think he should help with the cost of the party, bring a gift and I think he needs to begin paying child support as soon as possible, even if it takes the courts to give him a "nudge"!

2 moms found this helpful

ok my ex pays child support now. BUT there was a 8-10 month time frame where he paid nothing. he did see our daughter regularly but as far as financial support i got nothing for almost a year. her birthday was during this time....i bit the bullet and let him and his girlfriend come. also some of his neighbors showed up. (!!) but, you know what. oh well. i knew i was doing the right thing for my daughter. of course i was pissed. but in my heart i knew i was doing it for my daughter. yes it is very reasonable for your ex to pitch in for the party. every other b-day party my ex has pitched in "some" only one where he actually paid half. other times it's like 50 bucks, or i'll bring the cake or something like that. but, i don't know. i don't think i could tell my ex that he can't come to our daughters b-day party because he isn't helping with the cost... just me.

and in regards to your question "don't divorced people have seperate parties?" - i've been divorced almost 6 years and we have never had seperate birthday parties. i think it's important for the kids to know that mommy and daddy can come together for the sake of them. again, i don't know your situation. my ex and i did NOT get along at all. (it is slowly (SLOWLY) getting better) but we sucked it up for our daughter and were very civil with each other during the times we had to be.

1 mom found this helpful

Could you say, great see you there, and by the way please bring the cake and drinks for everyone. That way, it's not a money issue, it's just getting him to play a part in the event.

PS if you do this be very specific about what kind of cake and where to get it (you could even order it ahead of time, he could pick it up and pay for it) and which drinks and how much, so he doesn't do a half-azzd job of it.

1 mom found this helpful

He has moved on with his life obviously, file for divorce and get child support for starters. If this woman is going to be in his life then you are going to have to get used to it. I go to my grandkids birthday parties at my ex's house and his wife doesn't mind. But she is an exception, she's wonderful.

I think it is perfectly fine for kids to have separate birthday parties for parents who don't live together. It sure makes life more bearable for the guests when they don't get along .

1 mom found this helpful

I say compromise: Ask him to come, but not bring the new girlfriend/daughters. It doesn't matter what he gives you or doesn't give you. He has a right to be there and celebrate your son as much as you do, and it's much healthier for your son to see you two putting aside your differences and being there together for his birthday. It seems like there might be some unresolved resentment there and that you are perhaps trying to punish your ex passive aggressively by adding all of these conditions. My parents split up after 33 years of marriage because my dad was a MAJOR JERK and cheated on my mom. But I love him, and I'm VERY impressed and happy that in the past year, my parents have begun coming to the same events (like Christmas/Birthdays) instead of forcing us to split our time between the two.

My gut feeling...let him come. If possible, have him come alone...it sounds like your son hasn't seen his Dad in a long time. But, Dad coming...and inviting his girlfriend and her two daughters...well, it sounds like he's trying to introduce his son to his new lady, and doing it at YOUR house seems rather awkward, don't you think?

To answer your question, no I don't think it's a given that they need to be at a party you give or show up unannounced.

You can invite who you choose to a party you throw. You might want to have a party for just your son and his friends and then have a small family gathering for family only, which he can attend and give an opportunity for him to be a part of celebrating your sons birthday. That event can be anything from a potluck dinner with a homemade cake to going out to your sons favorite restaurant.

My parents divorced when I was in my 20's. A LOT of parties, such as graduations and wedding happen where both parents come, with their spouses, of course.

I think it would be fine for you to invite him, his girlfriend and daughters. Why not? If you are able to get a long just fine, why not? However, you have to make sure that all rancor is set aside to be able to do that.

For your son's relationship with his father, I think this time go ahead and let him, just him come. If he wants to have a family birthday party, let him have it at his mother's house. Good grief that is why he is divorced! Next year he needs to plan better!!!!

uh, no...you need to have separate EVERYTHING. Its way too confusing for your son (othere kids?) to see you guys "together" even tho he's there with his girlfriend. So no, you have your family and friends over for your party, and he has his family and friends over for his party. Same thing for the holidays. Very simple. Good luck!

That is tough. It is alwasy nice to have help. I am in your same boat. I let my ex attend parties but I do not let his new family to join in any activiites only due to the manner how I was dumped. I do not get monitary help but my ex does watch my son on days that I need to work late, or on the weekends. It would be eaiser for you to say it is okay for him to come it your ex played a bigger role in your son's like. I guess you can suggest the he throws a party for your son.

I think you need to do what's best for the children...that being said my husband has always had a separate birthday party for his daughter and her mother has her own. BUT we do come together and be social at her sporting events, pizza parties after, school functions, etc. It is good for your kids to see that the adults (everyone involved) can have a healthy relationship and get along. I think you need to figure out where you want to draw the line.

All "parental" feelings aside...what would you child want? I would say let him come as long as there isn't going to be drama.

Personally, I believe it is better (and more 'normal') for the kids to have a single birthday party. The party is to celebrate the birth of the child, and if the child wants both parents there, the child should be allowed to have that. Neither of my exes have ever paid for a birthday party, I have thrown them all, but they have been invited to every single one (and attended most-oldest son's dad lives 1500 miles away, so it's a little more difficult for him.)

Yeah, it sucks to have people you don't enjoy at a party, and it really stinks when/if the dad brings a really extravagant gift (that you could have possibly afforded if not paying 100% for a party), but the kids are happy, and that's what it's REALLY all about, right?

I think that it is okay if everyone can be adults about things. You definately don't want there to be fighting going on in front of the kiddos and ruin your little ones birthday. I have had my ex at a couple of parties and then we just started doing seperate parties. I think it depends on your relationship with your ex. If you don't want him there and he just shows up ask him to leave. I'm sure the divorce papers say something about him getting to see your son for his birthday so you can just tell him he can come and see him after the party.

It is not about whether he contributes financially, it's not about his manners, it's not about you, it's about what is best for your children. And all of the research shows that kids of divorce do much better when their parents can get along (if they can). So if you can, then it's great that he wants to be involved in this party, for your son's sake. Even if he's an awful person in your eyes for not paying, for being rude, whatever else, your children will be better off if they are allowed to have relationships with their dad. However, if you can't get along with him in front of your children, or if you feel he has a negative influence on him, then tell him you don't want him at that party. And see if there are other ways you can encourage connections between your kids and their dad if you think that is best for your kids. As adults, we need to set aside our feelings and focus on what is going to be best for them. And I say that not from naivete, but from lots of experience with a very, very difficult ex.

No it is no O.K for him to do that. Tell him not to come unless he pays all back child support, the whole party UP FRONT plus day care for his girlfriends to kids.

I don't mean this disrespectfully, but in a fair world, if it were about what is fair for you, then you would be right. Not paying child support would mean he shouldn't get to see the kids. Not paying for half the party would mean that he can't come, and since the two of you aren't on great terms, he should have to throw his own birthday party.

But, once you have kids, it isn't about you anymore. It is about your kids. What is best for your son is if he didn't have to try to figure out why he has two parties, but only gets one year older. He shouldn't have to wonder why his Dad isn't at his party to celebrate with him, and he shouldn't have to understand adult money issues. It is best for your son is you accept whatever your ex offers. Whether that be the full child support and full visitation, or just that he shows up to a birthday party every once and a while. Your son will not look at it and say "my dad didn't care to come", or "daddy couldn't make it". He will wonder "what did I do to make my daddy not want to be here with me?" Kids find a way to blame themselves for everything, so try to just take the high road here, and think of only your kids.

What do you think your son would want?

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