Extended Family Relationships and Divorce

In many cases, being part of a family is not just about your spouse but will also involve their siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even their grandparents.  Going through a divorce will mean ending your relationship with your partner, but when you have children, these extended family members can still be connected to you through your kids.

Extended family members can be part of precious childhood memories.  These people are often there for important moments and are central to celebrating family holidays.  When parents split up, the focus stays on their relationships with their children and not necessarily on other members of the family.  However, children need reassurance that their parent’s divorce does not have to mean losing their other family connections or traditions.

After the divorce, you may be saddened or even relieved that you will not be seeing certain members of your ex’s family often or at all.  However, part of making sure that your children do not lose their connection to cherished relatives is helping them attend significant events and maintain contact.   While your former partner will have the responsibility of making sure his or her family can see your kids, there will be times when you have child placement time and may need to coordinate visits.  You are your former partner could discuss family events and visits and come up with a plan for your children.

Another way in which you can help foster your children’s relationship with the family is to make sure you or your ex let them know about your child’s special events such as school activities, extracurricular performances, and awards ceremonies.  Making this gesture will help ensure that important people in your child’s life can be there for them.  It also shows your child that even though his or her parents are divorced, they have not lost their extended family.

Including extended family after divorce can be critical to your child’s well-being.  However, if your child’s extended family behaves negatively, you may have to take steps to limit their contact.  For instance, if your child’s aunt says unkind things about you to your child when they are at a family function, you may have to reconsider this relationship.  In that case, you may want to ask your former partner to address the issue with their relative and make clear that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.

For children, the need for family connection will not end when their parents’ divorce and in some cases, it may even make these relationships more important.  When you and your former partner can work together to make sure your children have the benefit of relationships with their extended family, you can help create a more secure and loving environment for them.

Ending a marriage and maintaining healthy and appropriate family relationships can be complex Attorney Karyn Youso has extensive experience as a family law attorney and can help you examine your situation and consider your next steps.  Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us take a “first look” at your circumstances.

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