It’s high school graduation party planning season. And for those who are divorced with graduating students, it’s just another challenging scenario made more difficult by the fact that you’re divorced. Divorced Parent High School Graduation Party Planning can become a sticky matter quickly if you’re not careful. Should you plan a graduation party with your co-parent or keep matters separate? Will everyone just come to your ex’s party and blow your’s off? Will you child have the patience to be polite and appreciate both parties? Will separate parties make them happy? Could one party work?

When it comes to divorced parent’s planning their child’s high school graduation party, the most common three options are:

    • Divorced Parent Graduation Party Planning Option #1: Plan Separate Parties
    • Divorced Parent Graduation Party Planning Option #2: Plan a joint party with your co-parent
    • Divorced Parent Graduation Party Planning Option #3: Only one co-parent hosts a party

Let’s take a closer look at each.

Divorced Parent Graduation Party Planning Option #1: Plan Separate Parties

Each divorced parent can certainly plan a separate high school graduation party. If you do, what are the pros and cons of going that route?


    • Eliminate conflicts between parents and extended family members who may not like each other since they won’t be attending the same parties
    • Each parent has the freedom to invite who they do and don’t want to be there
    • Each parent maintains control over party choices such as location, date, food, cost, etc.


    • Higher overall costs as items such as venue (if not held at home), decorations, and rentals would be incurred twice
    • Your child has to pick which friends to invite to which ones
    • You have to pick a date that doesn’t conflict with your ex’s party or the parties of other kids your child is close to who are graduating. Calendars can become quickly crowded with many parties and other obligations in late spring when high school graduation parties are held.


Divorced Parent Graduation Party Planning Option #2: Plan a joint party with your co-parent

What if divorced parents plan their child’s graduation party together?


    • Saves on costs since you can split the costs between for the venue, decorations, and party rentals
    • One date to book on everyone’s calendars. No one has to decide which divorced parent’s graduation party to attend since there will only be one
    • Child can enjoy an event like all their peers whose parents are still married
    • Family members get opportunity to catch up with the other parent’s family members whom they may like and miss. This can go a long way in building stronger ties across extended family members.


    • Divorced parents planning a joint graduation party will have to agree on pretty much everything about the party including the date and time, location, decorations, theme if having one, food and drink, number of people to invite if the space limits this, etc. This could create the opportunity for conflict.
    • If there are lingering feelings of animosity toward one another, some family members may not feel comfortable around members of the child’s other parent.


Divorced Parent Graduation Party Planning Option #3: Only one co-parent hosts a party

Of course you or your co-parent could decide to defer the entire responsibility for the graduation party to the other parent.


    • Overall cost is lower
    • One date to book on everyone’s calendar
    • Simplified planning since only one parent makes all decisions concerning the graduation party


    • Since only one parent is hosting (versus the co-hosting arrangement suggested in Option #2), the other parent would not have a say in the food, decorations, venue, who’s invited, how many guests to have, and even the date and time unless their co-parent chooses to do this out of courtesy. This could lead to an experience that the divorced parent who isn’t hosting doesn’t enjoy or disagrees with entirely.
    • If one parent is hosting, will they feel like the other parent should contribute the expense of the party. Could this set up a conflict between the two over such things as costs and decisions made concerning the party?
    • Some people that the non-hosting divorced parent would want to invite may not end up being invited by the co-parent to the party.
    • Could set up a dynamic of resentment between co-parents over the graduation party costs and decisions made.

There’s no right or wrong answer here. But for me and my son’s father, we found it perfectly manageable and enjoyable to plan a joint graduation party for our son when he graduated high school. As an added benefit, each parent got to catch up with family and friends who they may not see much anymore.

Do you have a unique high school graduation party planned with or without your co-parent? Share it in the comments below. Would love to give the co-parenting community other ideas.

Want more tips and insights on divorced parenting, a.k.a. co-parenting? Explore the rest of this blog. Also be sure to follow me @teresaharlow123 on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.