How to Handle In-Laws After a Divorce

Mother-in-law jokes have probably existed since marriage was created, but that doesn’t mean that relations between in-laws are all the same. For every partner with an adversarial history, there are plenty more who enjoyed the company of their spouse’s parents, and who grieve the idea of losing connection after their divorce. Your post-divorce relationship with your in-laws will depend upon numerous factors, especially whether there are children/grandchildren involved and exactly how contentious the divorce proceedings were. It is a rare situation when a partner’s parents don’t side with their adult child, and the more anger, blame, and heartache emanate from the divorce process, the more challenging it will be for your ex’s parents to engage with you. Since time heals almost all wounds, your best bet is to be patient and give things time. Below you’ll find some additional helpful tips.

  • Don’t expect things to be normal, especially not immediately. Every circumstance is different. Your in-laws may have been urging your ex to leave or may be stunned and hurt that you have decided to leave. Whatever your particular situation, it will take time for balance to be restored. Don’t pretend that things have not changed. Acknowledging the awkwardness may help.
  • Don’t pull your in-laws into conflict. Negativity is not helpful anywhere, and especially not among those not directly involved in the process. Though your in-laws may be a potent voice for your ex-spouse, that does not mean that you should engage with them as either adversaries or allies. Maintaining a relationship with them means keeping them out of the legal — and relationship — process.
  • When children are involved, be generous and flexible. If your children are your ex-in-law’s grandchildren, be aware that the divorce has likely significantly cut down on their time with the kids – and they probably find this painful. When circumstances arise surrounding the grandparents being able to be with the kids, the more generous, flexible, and understanding you are, the better for all involved. Especially your kids.

Divorce does not happen in a vacuum and its impact is not limited to you and your spouse. Our experienced attorneys can help you navigate the legal challenges, as well as the emotional ones. Contact us today to set up a time to meet.