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Once you have been granted a divorce, is it appropriate to maintain relationships with members of your ex’s family? If it is, how do you have to change the dynamics?

These are common questions, and most people would agree that the answers depend on your comfort level, how well you get along with your ex, what the relationships were like prior to your divorce and whether you and your ex share children.

Communicating with Your Ex and Former In-Laws

You’ll definitely need to communicate with your ex if you have kids, but if that’s extremely difficult to do without confrontation, talk to your Mississauga divorce lawyer. Your lawyer can help you find legal resolutions or refer you to a local therapist who can help you both communicate more effectively.

Some people are comfortable inviting their former in-laws to kids’ birthday parties, school events and other activities—but others, especially those who’ve had tumultuous relationships with them in the past, wouldn’t dream of asking them anywhere. It is reasonable to expect that you’ll still see your ex and his or her family occasionally if you have kids, so be prepared.

Severing Close Relationships

Some families are especially close; you may have considered your ex’s sister your best friend, have gone on several fishing trips with your ex’s brother or spent more time with your ex’s parents than your ex did. Divorce puts a serious strain on these relationships, as well as on interfamily sibling and parental relationships.

You don’t have to sever ties with the people you’re closest to because you’re getting divorced, but you do need to be aware of the fact that your ex’s family may be torn—they love and care about you, but may feel they’re being disloyal to their own family member by continuing your relationship. If it’s possible, discuss the situation with both your ex and his or her family. Let them all know that you’re available and would like to continue your close relationships, but that you don’t want to cause friction within the family.

Leave the choice to continue or stop your relationships up to your in-laws, and if you do end up parting ways, at least it’ll be on friendly terms.

Harassment from Your Ex’s Family

Not all in-laws are friendly. If you had difficulty getting along with your ex’s family during your marriage, it’ll probably be a relief to say good-bye to them. Some of your in-laws may go out of their way to harass you, though, and that’s never ok. Through your ex, request that they stop immediately; if you don’t see positive results, let your Mississauga divorce lawyer know the next time you meet.

If grandparents, aunts or uncles speak poorly of you either to or in front of your children, call your Mississauga divorce lawyer immediately to see if you can take steps to get the behaviour to stop.