Today’s Daily Record has a story of a parenting time dispute that happens all too often. The story, written by Peggy Wright, tells a of a visitation/parenting time fight because a father wanted his 10-year old daughter to attend his birthday party instead of participating as a flower girl in her godmother’s wedding.
In ruling that the child should be permitted to participate in the wedding, the judge said that she believed the girl should have the experience of wearing a special dress and shoes and eating the cake and hearing wedding music. The article further states:
"A birthday party happens every year. A wedding is once-in-a-lifetime," Whipple said. Saying she didn’t mean to diminish the importance of a child celebrating a birthday with a parent, Whipple nonetheless said the wedding experience — and accompanying her bridesmaid mother down the aisle — would be unforgettable for a little girl. Addressing Miller directly, the judge asked: "Do you really want to say ‘no dress, no cake, no wedding, no bridesmaid, no band? You have to go to my birthday party.’ Do you really want to take that away from her?"
Though in one respect, the father had a right to be upset because the wedding was taking place during his scheduled parenting time, this is a typical example of divorce or divorced couples failing to be flexible and having a tug of war with their children, to the detriment of their children. A simply remedy may have been to trade weekends or otherwise provide for make up parenting time. Moreover, it was unclear from the story, but depending on how much notice the father had of this wedding, perhaps his birthday party (which was not on his actual birthday) could have been scheduled for a different do so that there was no conflict. On the other hand, if the mother did not give the father adequate notice, as is often the case in these situations, then she too could have been responsible for this dispute.