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Tips for Communicating with Ex-In-Laws when You Have Children

Divorce Is Hard on Everyone

Going through a divorce can be incredibly traumatic for those directly involved. It is also difficult for your extended family. Relationships that have developed for years must change dramatically, and many extended family members feel the need to pick sides. This is often the case with the parents of the divorcing couple. Even if you had a positive relationship with your in-laws, they might feel pressured to cut contact with you after a divorce.

Extended family relationships become even more complicated when there are children involved. Often, grandparents are responsible for childcare or provide financial assistance for their grandchildren’s needs. Navigating your relationship with your in-laws post-divorce can be incredibly complicated, especially if you are also trying to maintain a healthy relationship between them and your children.

Keep reading for five tips on how to navigate a relationship with your former in-laws after a divorce.

#1: Expect the Nature of Your Relationship to Change

It is not uncommon for people to stay on good terms with their ex’s parents, but you should still expect the nature of your relationship to change. There may be more distances between you than previously, and you will likely no longer spend as much time with them. In some cases, the loss of a close relationship with your in-laws is felt more acutely than the loss of your partner. This is not easy to deal with emotionally, and many people experience grief due to this change.

However, this does not mean you cannot find a new normal with your in-laws. As time goes on, you can find new ways to enjoy your relationship with your in-laws. For example, you may still find it appropriate to invite them to birthday parties and other special occasions for your children.

#2: Seek Professional Support if You Need It

The emotions that come with a divorce are complicated and often contradictory. While you may have felt close to your in-laws during your marriage, you may now feel hurt or betrayed as they align themselves with your ex. With so much going on, it may be beneficial to work with a therapist or family counselor. An experienced professional can help you work through your divorce and help guide you as you look to develop a post-divorce relationship with your in-laws.

#3: Keep Your Children’s Needs at the Forefront

If you do not have a good relationship with your ex-in-laws, it can be hard to allow them to have a continued relationship with your children. However, just because you are not on good terms with them does not mean the same is true of their relationship with your kids. Staying focused on your children’s needs can be helpful as you try to separate your personal feelings for your ex-in-laws from their relationship with your children. Also, try to avoid conflict when in front of your children. This can stress children out and make them feel like they have to pick sides.

#4: Set Clear Boundaries and Expectations

Just as you will struggle post-divorce, your ex-in-laws may also not know how to behave or how to have a relationship with you. Communicating your expectations for the relationship and setting clear boundaries can help smooth the process. You may also find that keeping your communications with your former in-laws in writing helps alleviate some pressure and reduce misunderstandings.

If your ex-in-laws are responsible for childcare or other child-related responsibilities, try to keep the schedule and routine as stable as possible to avoid surprises that may upset the relationship. Establish childcare-related rules, and make sure they know that they can and should come to you when they need to.

#5: Be Prepared for Problems to Arise

Just as with your divorce, developing a post-divorce relationship with your in-laws is likely to be a bumpy road. Feelings will get hurt, miscommunications will happen, and disputes will arise. This is the case for everyone, and you are not alone. Being emotionally prepared for difficulties can go a long way in helping you react calmly and constructively when they happen. If you can approach these problems with a calm attitude and a willingness to compromise, you have a better chance of resolving the issue successfully.

Family Law Disputes & Grandparents’ Rights

There are times when family disputes between divorced parents and ex-in-laws need to be resolved in court. Issues related to custody and visitation between the custodial parent and their ex-in-laws are not uncommon. If this happens to you, you should turn to a trusted lawyer with experience handling family court disputes and grandparents’ rights issues. Hope Law Firm has helped many families deal with divorce and custody-related matters, and we can put our experience to work for you. Contact us to discuss your case.