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Don't forget the Grandparents!

Posted on 28th September, 2017

So, you've come to the conclusion that your relationship has broken down.  You start to deal with everything that needs to be dealt with - starting the divorce (if you're married), closing joint accounts etc.


Then things get a bit more heated and emotional when you start trying to divide up the assets and work out arrangements for the children - and before you know it, your amicable separation has fallen by the wayside.


Your ex's parents were always a big help when you were together, helping-out with looking after the children, picking them up from school, maybe even lending you money towards buying your house or a car.  But now you see them as totally in your ex's camp, unreasonably trying to defend him or her. So you cut them off.  You don't want to see them anymore and you don't want the children to have anything to do with them either.


That's an understandable way to feel - as your ex's parents, they will be pre-disposed to seeing the best in him or her, and will naturally want to defend their son or daughter. Some grandparents are better at dealing with that than others - they are only human after all and they are caught up in this separation too, although they have no control over what is happening.


Even if you've given it a lot of thought and you still believe that your ex's parents are behaving unreasonably, now is the time to give some thought to how this will affect the children.


Children in the middle of a separation are already going through a lot of upheaval, and are likely to be finding it difficult to deal with that emotionally. Grandparents who have always been there, and who the children feel they can rely on, provide a good source of stability for children in what seems like the shifting sands of their home life during separation.


Enabling your children to retain their bond and contact with the Grandparents doesn't mean you have to remain on close terms with them yourself, particularly whilst the separation is ongoing, when the situation might be too raw for that. 


Of course, your ex's parents may not have been that close to your children or might not have been involved in their lives to any great extent before your separation. Or they might be unable to keep their thoughts on the separation from the children, which causes them as much distress as if their parents were involving them in such adult issues.


But if your children have a strong bond with their Grandparents, doing your best to ensure that the bond is preserved could provide a much-needed sanctuary for the children during this time of huge upheaval.











Paula Tanner  

Former solicitor and founder of Ethos Family Solutions - the affordable alternative to a solicitor for divorce or separation.



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