Handling a child's wedding after your divorce

How do you handle all of the tricky aspects of etiquette when you're divorced (or divorcing) and it comes time for your adult child to get married? The odds are good that it's a bit of an uncomfortable situation, especially if you aren't on particularly rosy terms with your child's other parent or are still nursing your wounds from that relationship.

Here's something that you need to keep in mind: Your child and your ex-spouse are probably just as uncomfortable with the situation as you are. Nobody wants the event to be miserable for anyone else -- because that will definitely sour an atmosphere that's supposed to be festive.

Here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  1. Remember that this wedding is about your child and his or her intended. Put your issues with your ex-spouse, no matter what they are, firmly aside until after the wedding.
  2. Decide on what you can afford to pay toward the affair based on your budget and communicate that clearly to your child. However, keep in mind that you should remain flexible about what that money goes toward. For example, if you're willing to buy the bride's dress, but your ex-spouse has already claimed that responsibility, offer to cover the same amount of money for something else that's needed -- whether it goes toward the catering bill or the reception hall.
  3. Do not feel compelled to discuss the financial arrangements or what you can afford with your ex-spouse. You should keep that conversation between you and your child now that he or she is an adult. Similarly, don't demand information about what your ex-spouse is paying if your child doesn't volunteer the information.
  4. Let everyone have the role that the bride and groom want them to have. For example, if you're the bride's father, you might be a little resentful about the fact that she wants to walk down the aisle with you on one arm and her step-father on the other. Be gracious and acknowledge that the symbolism is about your child's feelings, not yours.
  5. Above all, be civil to your ex-spouse and his or her current significant other on the day of the wedding. That way, you'll have nothing to regret later on.

For more information about divorce or to discuss your particular situation, talk to an attorney today.

Source: Brides, "How Should Divorced Parents Navigate Paying for Their Child’s Wedding?," Jaimie Mackey, July 06, 2017

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