In another article on this page, I gave tips to parents to help them keep their children out of the middle of their divorce. But it is also important for parents to remember that a divorce affects not only the parents and their children, but both sets of grandparents and other relatives. There are a couple of things that you can do to attempt to avoid having your family create additional conflict between you and your spouse or to jeopardize your position in a contested custody case.
• It is important for the children to be able to have good relationships with both sides of the family. Therefore, avoid the temptation of calling your spouse’s parents or relatives to discuss the details of the divorce or to talk your feelings about your spouse. If you have a need to “vent” which is only natural, find a good counselor who can help you work through your feelings about the other spouse.
• At the point you decide to tell your parents or other relatives that a divorce is on the horizon, encourage them to avoid discussing the details of the divorce with your spouse’s parents or relatives. In particular, explain to your family that any e-mails or letters they send to your spouse’s parents or relatives could end up in the court file, particularly if you think there is going to be a disagreement over physical or legal custody of the children.
You can educate your family about the positive effect they can have upon your children during this difficult transitional period. Hopefully, you can make them understand that you are looking at the long-term benefits to the children, which result from having healthy relationships with both sides of the family. This of course assumes neither of the parents or relatives have domestic violence, physical, sexual or substance abuse. The presence of any of these factors would alter the landscape of the divorce case and could require a different approach. If you have any concerns about these issues you should discuss them with your divorce lawyer.
Posted in: Divorce