A lot of married people develop warm, loving relationships with their in-laws. When the marriage ends, however, that relationship can become painfully strained. Does divorcing your spouse mean you also have to divorce your in-laws?

Absolutely not. Here are some tips that can help you reframe your relationship with your in-laws and move forward with them in a healthy, productive way:

  1. Be respectful. Your ex-spouse may have been terrible to you, but your ex is still your in-laws’ child or sibling. Don’t spill the intimate details of what went wrong in your marriage, ask your in-laws to choose sides or bad-mouth your ex to them — no matter how tempting. If they ask what happened, just say that it really doesn’t matter and you’d prefer to focus on the future.
  2. Accept the changes. Be gracious if your in-laws don’t invite you to family gatherings after the divorce. They probably don’t know how to handle the situation any better than you do — and your ex-spouse has priority in their lives.
  3. Be welcoming. Your in-laws are still a valuable source of support and love for your children, so make room for them when you have a birthday party or there’s a school play. Your children benefit from having their grandparents, aunts and uncles around.
  4. Accept offers of assistance. Once the dust from your divorce has settled, your in-laws may start to express their willingness to babysit or take the kids shopping for school supplies. Let them help. Allowing them to actively participate in your children’s lives can reassure your kids that everything’s okay, despite the divorce.

Getting through a divorce can be hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. An experienced attorney here in Tennessee can help protect your interests.