Tips for Maintaining a Relationship with Your Ex In-Laws

Young woman working on relationship with her mother-in-law while they are sitting on sofa. Visual concept for legal advice blog on maintaining a relationship with your ex-in-laws.

Divorced parents face many emotional, logistical, and legal challenges. While one of the hardest parts of co-parenting is getting along with your former spouse, you might also still need to maintain a relationship with your ex in-laws for the sake of your children. Although this can be difficult, there are a few things you can do to make the situation easier for everyone involved. Here are several tips to help ensure positive interactions with your spouse’s family.

1. Know it Will be Difficult

Learning to navigate a new relationship with your ex in-laws after divorce can be difficult and take an emotional toll. As you are grieving the loss of your marriage, your ex’s family might also be feeling sad and confused — especially if they developed a close bond with you. It can be helpful to take a step back and recognize that everyone will need some time to adjust to the situation.

2. Decide in Advance What Forms of Communication You Will Use

Divorce is hard on everyone — including your ex in-laws. Much of the stress can be relieved with some advance planning. If your children will be spending time with their other parent’s family, it’s best to decide the form and frequency of your communication with them in advance. In the event your former in-laws text or call several times a week, it might be a good idea to set aside a regularly scheduled time to let them speak with the children when they’re with you.

3. Maintain Your Boundaries

If your ex in-laws will be taking an active role in your child’s life, it’s essential to communicate and maintain your boundaries. While you and your in-laws may still love and respect each other, it is okay to keep a healthy distance to protect yourself from further hurt. In cases where you and your ex’s family do not get along, be respectful but firm when it comes to your boundaries in order to prevent any additional stress and tension that could arise.

4. Focus on the Future, Not the Past

Your relationship with your ex’s family will inevitably change after divorce. Focus on the future of the relationship and rebuilding it in a healthy way, rather than thinking about how things once were. Refrain from bringing up past events that could be hurtful or old arguments to help ensure the relationship remains respectful moving forward. This can be particularly important if your former in-laws will continue to be taking part in your children’s lives.

5. Don’t Ask Your Ex In-Laws to Take Sides

Regardless of who was to blame for the breakdown in the marriage, don’t ask your former in-laws to take sides or talk badly about your ex to them. It can be easy to do this if you’re feeling angry or hurt, but it can only cause more pain on both sides and damage your future relationship with your ex in-laws. If difficult topics come up, take some time to cool down before communicating — and try to express yourself without placing blame on anyone.

6. Put Your Children’s Best Interests First

No matter how contentious your divorce was and what your relationship is like with your ex in-laws, you should always put your children’s best interests first. Significantly, your children deserve to have their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins involved in their lives. When your children see you engaging in respectful communication with your ex in-laws, it sets a good example. In addition, it allows your children to feel safe in knowing that they will continue to be able to have a meaningful relationship with the other side of their family.

7. Seek the Emotional Support You Need

Maintaining a relationship with your ex in-laws isn’t always easy. There may be ups and downs — and it’s vital to have the support you need. Whether it’s a community group, a therapist, or a family member, make sure you have someone you can talk to as you face these changes in your life. Having a shoulder you can lean on can make all the difference while you work through your emotions and turn the page to the next chapter in your life.

Contact an Experienced Missouri Divorce Attorney

Going through a divorce can be difficult for the whole family. It’s vital to have a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can guide you through the process and help to lift the burden you are facing. Divorce and family law attorney Mark A. Wortman provides compassionate counsel and trusted representation to clients in the greater Kansas City, Missouri area for a wide variety of matrimonial and family law matters. To schedule a confidential consultation to learn how he can help, please contact him today online or by calling (816) 523-6100.

Categories: Divorce