Maintaining Relationships with Ex-In-Laws

Ex-In-Laws

Maintaining good relationships with ex-in-laws is healthy for your children.

When you get married, you are not just marrying one person; you are essentially marrying into an entire family. You may develop close bonds with members of your ex’s family, even after you and your ex drift apart. If you and your ex have children, these family bonds become even more important. It may be emotionally difficult to stay in touch with your ex’s family members, since they are so closely tied to your ex. It’s even more difficult when your ex’s family decides to cut off all communication with you in favor of supporting your ex. It’s understandable, but it still hurts. If you and your ex have children, it’s important to maintain good relationships with your ex’s family, whether you and your sister-in-law are closer than sisters or whether you and your brother-in-law can only manage a faint smile when you’re both occupying the same room. And with the holidays coming up, it’s likely that you may see them. Here are some tips for maintaining good relationships with your ex’s family after the divorce.

For the Benefit of the Children

If you and your ex never had children, then it is entirely your choice on how you want to treat your ex-in-laws. But if you do have children who were used to seeing their aunts and uncles and playing with their cousins before your Maryland divorce, it’s important to maintain a sense of normalcy for them. Making a concerted effort to maintain good relationships with your ex-in-laws will be hugely beneficial for your children, and it may also be beneficial for you as well. When you see your family this holiday season, or if your children are simply asking to pay a visit to an ex-in-law, keep these habits in mind.

  • Take the first step. After your divorce, you may be expecting calls of condolences from close members of your ex’s family. Don’t be discouraged if these calls never come. Your ex’s family is likely feeling in an awkward position, wanting to support both members of a dissenting party. They may not want to overstep any boundaries. Take the first step by reaching out to them and letting them know that it’s okay to keep up contact with you if they wish. The next step is up to them, and it will be a lot easier for them to act after they know how you feel.
  • Set boundaries. If your Maryland divorce was especially contentious, your ex’s family members may not be feeling very sympathetic towards you. If you want to maintain a relationship for the sake of your children, it’s important to set up strong boundaries. You can start by establishing ground rules to protect your children from any negative talk they may be exposed to. You can also require that family members come to your home to spend time with your children, rather than the other way around. That way, you will always be present as a protective shield for any negative emotions that might come to the surface.
  • Be a good example. Make sure that you are always acting as polite and civil around your ex-in-laws at all times, even if they are not returning the favor. It will benefit your children and may also help your ex-in-laws to act polite in return.

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