Celebrating Birthday’s in a Parenting Agreement

Birthdays seem to be a very touchy subject in family court.  As such, to avoid unnecessary emergency motions, minor children and parent’s birthdays are often allocated in the Allocation Judgments entered in Courts in Illinois.
One thing to consider when working birthdays into parenting agreements or Allocation Judgments is that birthdays, more often than not, fall on weekdays.  That means that minor children are generally in school or in camp during their birthdays or during their parent’s birthdays.  There are many different ways to celebrate minor children’s birthdays, including:
(1) Sharing the day equally between parents (if it falls on a weekend)
(2) Celebrating the birthday each year jointly at a dinner (if the parties can get along well enough to do so)
(3) Alternating years throwing a birthday party for the minor child and inviting the other parent to attend;
(4) Giving one parent a span of time after school with the minor child, if the birthday falls on a school day, to give them a gift/take them for ice cream, etc.) and give the remainder of the evening to the other parent for dinner;
(5) Just celebrate the birthday with the parent who the minor child would be with, anyway, and save the celebrating for the weekend with the other parent (either the weekend prior or after the actual birthday).
Parent’s birthdays usually aren’t an issue to allocate to the parent whose birthday it is because usually both parents don’t have the same birthday. So, in most cases, each parent has their child(ren) on the parent’s birthday each year.  Pay attention to: (1) if the parent’ birthday falls on a holiday, such as Christmas, Easter, Father’s Day, etc.) and work out language about what will happen if it falls on such a day; (2) separate schedules in the event the birthday falls on a school day versus a weekend day.

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