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Some Illinois couples mistakenly assume that their divorce will only affect their immediate family. In reality, anyone who has built a relationship with either spouse will have to deal with the dissolution of the marriage. When a couple is married, two families are combined and in-law relationships are created. While some spouses are glad to have less contact with their ex-in-laws, situations are often much more complicated and require continued interaction, especially when children are involved.

Whether the divorce was amicable or fraught with contact, there is bound to be tension and the possibility of conflict when dealing with in-laws. In order to keep things civil, it is important to navigate this new territory with a cool head and a focus on the well-being of the children.

Maintaining contact

 When couples divorce, they often want as little contact between each other as possible. Depending on child custody arrangements, this is not always possible. Just as parents will have to see one another when dealing with their children, in-laws who want to stay involved in their grandchildren’s lives will need to be included. While there may be anger and animosity between ex-spouses and former in-laws, staying in contact can show children that all healthy family relationships are important and should be prioritized.

 Grandparent visitation

 Under Illinois state law, grandparents have a legal privilege to see their grandchildren. While this is not a legal right, grandparents can petition the courts for visitation. Many parents find that it is easier to arrange visits with grandparents than to deal with the legal recourse that can come with taking the issue to the courts. Rather than preventing former in-laws from seeing their grandchildren, parents should work to set up a schedule that works for everyone involved. 

A child’s best interest

 It is not always easy for divorced parents to work out the differences they may have with each other or with their ex-in-laws. However, when children are part of the equation it is best to consider the best interest of the children. Determining whether staying in contact with grandparents should include considerations for the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the child. When the focus is placed on the child, parents and grandparents are often better able to work together to handle any personal issues that they may have.

Divorce often brings with it a new set of concerns that have to be dealt with. By handling any problems with in-laws well, parents can allow their children to foster relationships that have always been a part of their lives.