Children's Birthdays: To Divide The Day Or Not

Almost all divorce parenting schedules that I have written or received from other attorneys divide time between the parents on their children's birthdays, but is this a good decision? Most settlement agreements have a provision that states that each parent will be permitted time with the children on the children's birthdays and that if it is a school day for a minimum of two hours and on a non-school day divided in half.

I think it would be interesting to ask the children whether this is what they want. I recently spoke with a divorce attorney who was the child of parents who divorced. She told me that she absolutely hated having her birthday divided between her parents. She related that her parents would argue about the schedule, would have to watch the clock, would rush her and that she never enjoyed the chaos created. As a divorce attorney she recommends that the children's birthdays be alternated between the parents on an odd/even year basis like other holidays.

Her thought is that the children can then have a party on their actual birthday and a second party when they are with the other parent. What child would not like two parties, two cakes and being the center of attention twice in one week?

If this idea makes sense then why not apply it to Thanksgiving Day and other select holidays that some families choose to divide in half. How do you comfortably have Thanksgiving dinner at 2 PM at one house and at 6 PM at the other house? If the parents do not live close to each other the clock watching and arguing begins again when one person is late.

Maybe, we all need to reconsider our approach and think what would be best for the children on their special day.