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How do we feel about joint birthday parties?

kara.cali's picture

Well, I shouldn't really say "joint" because it says right there in the divorce decree the BM "shall plan and execute a birthday party for the child with friends and family" or something to that effect. I had to read it with my own eyes because I couldn't believe anyone would actually have that language inserted into a legal document.

Anyway, I attended my first bday party for my stepdaughter last June and it was plain awful. It was held at the BM's house, and since she is still very close to my husband's family, most of his family members were there and all of her family also, including her new husband. She had a grand 'ole time showing me how large and in-charge she still is. My husband told me he had no input with the party or guest list.

I just felt the whole thing was too close for comfort. I really think my husband and I should throw our own little party for his daughter this year. His former wife is nothing but a control freak. I have told my husband we need to lay down some boundaries this year starting with the birthday party. I don't mind attending dance recitals and such on neutral ground, but birthday parties at my husband's former wife's house are a little much for me.

Do I sound unreasonable? How do some of you handle this issue?

Snowbunny's picture


ChaiLatte's picture

I had no idea that could be part of a divorce decree. I understand that it says that on paper, but what's to stop you and your DH from having a second party? Would BM demand you cancel it because the divorce decree says she's the only one allowed to throw a party? You would throw it on a different day than her party of course, so friends and family wouldn't be obligated to chose. This is so strange. I wonder if it is common.

"There comes a time when you have to surrender the idea of what your children could be to the reality of who they are."

TheWife's picture

We do separate, and it is wonderful.

~*~When you kiss ass, your breath smells like sh*t~*~

nycSM's picture


kara.cali's picture

This is great feedback!! Thanks for giving me a little confidence boost to forge ahead on!

I'll try anything once, and now that I've tried a birthday party on her terms, I'd like for us to do one on our own terms this year! Smile

The current year will bring you much happiness. (fortune cookie)

nycSM's picture

Just rereading your initial post. I think what it mandates is that the BM is required to provide a party -- but it does not prohibit you and your DH from having your own separate party. It also does not stipulate that you have to be in attendence (nor does it say that anyone is required to attend).

With that said, she can invite anyone she wants because she's required to facilitate the party. So don't go. DH's family doesn't have to go. And you guys plan your own special day for your skid.

kara.cali's picture

As to the divorce document, it does say that she gets to throw a bday party, but it doesn't say that we can't also throw one! Her insecurities are palpable, nycSM. You nailed it!

The current year will bring you much happiness. (fortune cookie)

SC's picture

It does seem odd to include that in the divorce decree. My bf and his ex have their daughter's birthday parties together...but then again, they do most everything together regarding their daughter. It's all so nicey-nicey, I don't understand why they ever divorced.

Your own birthday party for SD sounds more than reasonable if BM isn't willing to hold the party on neutral ground.

Anon2009's picture

Because it is mandated in the court order, perhaps you can do the joint birthday parties on neutral ground, i.e. a movie theater, favorite restaurant of SD's, etc. That is what we do. It just makes it easier on everyone and the kids have a blast picking out where the party will be held (unless it's outrageously expensive). You might want to consider doing that with SD.

StepChicka's picture

My SDs b-days has always been joint and planned by BM since DH and her split. The b-day parties that have been planned since DH and I been together he and his family have gone but I haven't been invited or care to be. This year I'm planning a separate party for SD. Its safe to assume the kids and I won't be going to the one BM plans like every year. DH and BM have it set up this way not so much because she's control freak. DH is simply not the kid-party planner type. Now poker parties are a whole other

My XH and I do whatever w/our kids...sometimes we do joint parties other times separate. Since DH and I have been together my kids' parties have been joint but on mutual ground. I've invited him but he doesn't come if XH is there. I don't really care. I'd be a hypocrite if I did.

Just plan your own party for skids. There's plenty of people on here that says it works out. Besides, what kids isn't going to turn down 2 parties anyway Smile

Wicked.Step.Monster's picture

Besides, what kids isn't going to turn down 2 parties anyway <----------- that's what I was thinking! LOL

We did joint parties when SDs were little and BM still lived near us, but after she married and moved them to the middle of nowhere and went off her rocker we started having our own parties, and now our parties are the big ones for SDs!

SFSM's picture

We did joint when SD was little 4, 5, 6, 7, 8...actually we would throw the party and invited BM and her family. BM paid half of a party once which was amazing. In the last few years she has a family party here and does whatever they want to do over there. Everyone else's advice is perfect she has to throw a party...ok great but it has no bearing on what you and DH want to do. I would keep it seperate if it is that uncomfortable. Let your SD's BM throw her a party when it is her visitation time and you do the same when it is your custody time with SD....end of story. GL!

stepof 1nitemare's picture

My ex husband and I always do our boys birthday parties together. We still get along very well, and our boys are better off for it. We alternate his house one year and mine the next, or i pay one year to rent a place (bowling, laser tag , whatever) then he pays the next year. My boys see that we still get along and I believe it will make them better adjusted adults. Just because we couldnt make it work doesnt mean we don't love our kids and want the best for them.. We also both bring our new spouses, and it is no problem. My kids get along very well with my new husband and his new wife. We are amicable and thats mainly for the kids benefit.. But I cant imagine not getting along with him. Every day of the year except for pick ups and drop offs, we leave each other alone, but we do try to make our boys special days , as special as possible by all of us being a part of it together, for their benefit!!

If the Broom Fits, Ride It!!!!!

Pantera's picture

We do seperate parties for SS9. None of us want to be in the same room together, its just akward.

My parents also used to do separate parties when I was young. To tell you the truth, it took alot of stress off us kids. We didn't have to make sure we spent the same amount of time with each parent.

"If I turn into another, Dig me up from under what is covering the better part of me" -Incubus

dsngrl's picture

we did our own bday party for him this year (with kids from his class).. bm was pissed and called her lawyer!! lol.. how dumb is she? (DH told her that if whatever she was telling her lawyer if it is important he will hear about it.. well, he didnt ever get a call, so we assumed it was b/c we threw our own party) she did tell us she was going to have one, but it so happened ours occured before hers and I bet she was mad that she booked a party and no one showed up because they all went to ours! lol.. dumb woman.

Mommyto1Stepto2's picture

We have separate parties for SS12 and SS14. Usually it is just me and DH and them and we take them out for dinner or do something they want to do and have cookies or cake. This year they both had sleepovers at their mom's house for their birthdays. They are getting old enough where they don't want their parents at their parties anyway!!