In the last blog post, we discussed how spouses can work to maintain relationships with their ex-spouse’s extended families after divorce. This is often a matter of personal choice for both parties. However, it may not be when it comes to your children.
Your ex-spouse, their family and your children will want to maintain the bond they have after the divorce. Here are a few critical issues to consider regarding your children’s relationships with their extended family.
4 factors to address about your children’s family relationships
When parents divorce, they must prioritize the best interests of their children. This often includes supporting their relationship with their other parent. However, in supporting the relationship with your ex-spouse’s family, there are a few important things to address:
- The custody agreement: You and your ex-spouse should at least address your children’s visits with extended family – both yours and theirs – in the custody agreement. For example, you will likely arrange some sort of holiday schedule in your custody agreement. It is common to spend holidays with extended family members. So, you can establish plans for these holidays and visits, especially if one family has certain traditions they would like to uphold.
- The extended family members: You may have to consider different factors with the visitation of different family members. Your children may have a special bond with their grandparents, and you can discuss more frequent visits with them or even establish visitation rights in the custody order. However, if one extended family member perhaps suffers from alcoholism or is a convicted felon, you may not want your child to visit them at all.
- Your child’s wishes: Depending on the child’s age, you may wish to consider their opinions as well. For example, once your child obtains their North Carolina driver’s license, they may wish to visit their grandparents, aunts or uncles more often. If they are under 18, you may still have a final say to protect your child’s best interests. That is why you should discuss your child’s wishes with them and your ex-spouse continuously as they age.
- Your behavior: Just like you should not badmouth your ex-spouse in front of your children, you should avoid doing so about your ex-spouse’s family as well. After all, they are still your child’s family, even if your relationship with them changed after the divorce.
Getting used to the new normal after divorce can be a challenge, especially when it comes to relationships. However, there are many relationships to consider in your children’s lives, and you should take great care to help maintain them.