Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Springfield Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Divorce > Interacting With In-laws During and After Divorce

Interacting With In-laws During and After Divorce


Setting aside all of the bad jokes about unwieldy mothers-in-laws, there are very real questions about how interactions with in-laws will go when a couple divorces.  Certainly, there’s not a single answer to address every situation, and the relationship that existed prior to the divorce announcement will be part of the equation. The degree to which you may choose to keep in touch with in-laws under the best of circumstances may have both benefits and costs.

Changing Dynamics 

For people who care deeply for their in-laws, a divorce can be a real challenge to the relationships with your ex’s family.  Do you still get to play the part of favorite aunt or uncle to your nieces and nephews? Are the annual fishing trips with your brother-in-law or weekly coffee outings with your sister-in-law a thing of the past?  Without question, things will shift in these relationships, regardless of where they stood a month ago or a year ago. While individual members of your former family may wish to maintain their relationships with you, your ex may be vehemently against it.  Are you willing to put them in the middle of that conflict?

On the other hand, what if you want to wash your hands of the whole family, but they keep clinging to you.  Maybe they’d like to see a reconciliation, or maybe they just think you’re the best thing since apple pie.  Either way, you’re not interested.  Then what?

Remember Basic Etiquette 

Whatever else is going through your mind, remember that these people have been impacted by your divorce, too, and they may have some pretty strong feelings that deserve your respect. So keep some general rules in mind for all of your interactions:

  • Watch what you say—and avoid creating or exacerbating controversy.
  • If you have children, make them and their healthy relationships the top priority. That means keeping things cordial with the other family at a minimum, and outright friendly at best.
  • Coordinate on holidays and special occasions so that there’s a clear understanding as to the time, gifts, and expectations for everyone involved.
  • Maintain the boundaries you need to feel safe and okay.
  • Consider asking them what they’d like to see in a future relationship with you and balancing their wishes with your own.
  • Don’t badmouth your ex to them! Whatever unhappiness occurred in your marriage needn’t be rehashed with your spouse’s family!
    Take your time.  Everyone will need the space it takes to process what’s happening, so be patient with yourself and with them.

Do What Works 

The bottom line is that families can be pretty complicated and breaking them up can hurt on lots of levels.  At Courtney & Mills our experienced Springfield divorce attorneys are here to assist in achieving the best possible outcomes for you.  To discuss, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn