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Helping your child stay connected to your former in-laws

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Family Law |

For some people, a welcome bonus of divorce is not having to deal with their in-laws any longer. If you have children, however, that likely won’t be an option.

If your kids are close to their grandparents, aunts, uncles and/or cousins on your spouse’s side of the family, it’s probably in their best interests to facilitate their continued relationship with them – or at least not stand in the way of it. These family members can potentially provide your child with needed support and continuity through what can be a tumultuous time for them.

Why you shouldn’t leave all the communication to your co-parent

It may be easier and less stressful for co-parents to leave it to each other to include their own family in their child’s life. It’s even better, however, if both can reach out to their former in-laws to make sure they’re included in their child’s events. If you’re organizing a birthday party for your child, for example, you can extend an invitation to them (probably after checking first with your co-parent).

This outreach can help you maintain at least a cordial relationship with them. This will also make them more likely to include you in events that they might otherwise not. Remember that you’ll be connected to these people forever – even if you only see them at events like graduations and weddings.

Dealing with negativity from former in-laws

Certainly, if you have a former in-law who uses their time with your child to speak negatively about you or pump them for information about the divorce or your post-divorce life, that should be addressed. The same is true for your own family. It’s generally best for each parent to talk to their own family members, but you may have to step in yourself and explain that this isn’t good for your child.

If your children will regularly be seeing relatives on one or both sides of your family, it can be helpful to include provisions in your parenting plan concerning non-disparagement as well as to what degree they will be included in special events and everyday ones.  Having experienced legal guidance can help you do this in a way that works well for both parents – and that focuses on your child’s well-being.