Divorce affects inlaws as well as the two former spouses. Some people were very close to their former spouse's parents and considered them their "other" mother and father. For other people, the relationship is not as warm, even before the marriage breaks down. Whatever the relationship was like before the couple separated, however, divorce will likely change the future of the relationship.
Divorce and Inlaws during the Holidays
If you have children with your former spouse, you will need to work out where the children will be spending Christmas and other important holidays. Your inlaws may no longer be related to you, but they are still your children's grandparents. Having a relationship with their grandparents is important to them.
Some grandparents will go to court to enforce their rights to spend time with their grandchildren. This is an extreme measure and should be avoided if possible.
Another situation that can arise is that one's former spouse doesn't take the children to see his or her parents. If the grandparents live close enough to you, try to schedule when the children can visit with them regularly. If your former inlaws live further away, make plan so that they can see their grandchildren as often as possible.
In some situations, it's your inlaws who have decided to end their marriage. This can be challenging to deal with if there are many hard feelings between them. Some former spouses will refuse to attend a family event if the other one is attending!
One way to deal with this type of situation is to refuse to get in the middle of their dispute. Invite both of them to the event and leave the decision to attend up to them. Another way to deal with it is to talk to each one of them separately and let them know how much you would like them to attend. Stress the fact that there will be other people there and that they are not obligated to spend time with their former spouse if they don't want to.
Divorce Caused by Inlaws
The relationship with one's inlaws can be quite a warm and wonderful one in some cases. In other situations, it is just the opposite. According to an online poll conducted by DivorceMagazine.com, 6% of respondents stated that their inlaws were fully responsible for their divorce. A further 35% shared that their former spouse's parents were either mostly or somewhat responsible for the breakdown of their marriage.
Divorcing Your Inlaws
There is another way in which divorce and inlaws can come into play: when someone wants to divorce his or her inlaws but stay married. While some families can be warm and inviting to a family member's spouse, others can be standoffish or downright hostile. Choosing to have no relationship at all with your spouse's family is not a decision to be taken lightly.
If you decide to end your relationship with your inlaws, let your spouse explain the new ground rules. He or she will have to make it clear that although the rest of the family will continue to visit at the inlaw's home and bring the children for visits, you will no longer be going. Furthermore, the inlaws will not be invited to your home.
These ground rules are set in stone and will not be changed. Your spouse is not to enter a debate about this decision; he or she is only telling the parents about something that has already been decided. The inlaws do not have any input into the decision. In this arrangement, neither the inlaws nor the "divorcing" spouse should criticize the other. However, this is more easily said than done.