Are you a separated dad wondering what sort of arrangements you can put in place to see your children on Father’s day?
If you have not yet formalised your arrangements with your former partner, think about including a provision in your parenting plan or consent order for dealing with Father’s Day. Many parents forget to consider ‘special days’ when discussing arrangements to spend time with their kids, and this can cause unnecessary grief later on.
Common arrangements include: swapping weekends so that regardless of your normal arrangements to spend time with your kids, you always spend the Father’s Day weekend or at the least the day with kids. A similar swap is often arranged for Mother’s Day and this gives both parents a feeling the arrangement is ‘fair’.
Other arrangements may include adding the night before to the special day, so if you normally only see the kids from 10am on a Sunday, think about adding Saturday night to the arrangement, so that you can enjoy Father’s Day (or the other special days) from the very start of the day instead of having to worry about the usual collection or delivery arrangements (where appropriate). Particularly if you and your former partner are not on good terms and there can be tension at change-over, such arrangements can help to avoid confrontations or delays on a special day.
Other special days might include the father’s birthday itself (or the weekend nearest the father’s birthday). A similar swap can be arranged to ensure the children are with the mother on or near the mother’s birthday.
Planning for such eventualities can save a lot of distress down the track. Some useful online and paper resources and/or services which are available to separated dads include the following: Child Support Agency booklets, “What about Me?” and “Me, my kids and my Ex” offer practical advice and helpful information about looking after yourself after separation and building the relationship with your former partner for the benefit of your kids. You can download these or call CSA to mail them out to you. Armstrong Legal routinely distributes these booklets as part of its helpful ‘resource kit’ handed out to all new clients where appropriate.
If you’re not coping or you’re feeling depressed, MensLine Australia offers a national telephone support and information service for men. Professional counsellors give confidential support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the cost of a local call. Call 1300 789 978 or visit http://www.mensline.org.au