Divorce includes so much more than just the two people going through it. It involves kids, extended family, and friends. When in-laws are close and connected to the former spouse, it can be painful to lose those relationships. While the relationship is bound to change, there are a few things you can do to be a “good” in-law and maintain a civil relationship: • Talk to your family member going through the divorce. Often, we might only think of a grandparent wanting to maintain a relationship with a daughter-in-law to stay connected to the kids, but this can also be your sister’s husband or your brother’s wife. First, talk to your child/sibling about how they are feeling about the divorce. Remember, especially initially, there will be lots of hurt feelings even if he/she was the one who wanted the divorce. Share your concerns about losing the relationship with their ex-spouse, while balancing your sense of loyalty and concern. “I really want to stay connected to Debbie and I want to do it in a way that feels comfortable to you.” • Talk with the spouse. After talking with your own family member, have a conversation with his/her spouse. Offer your kindness and support without taking sides. “I was so sad to hear about the divorce and I want each of you to come through this process as smoothly as possible.” If you are going to maintain a healthy relationship with him/her, it will need to have boundaries. This often includes things like not sharing personal information about the spouse and not getting in the middle of their divorce/co-parenting, etc. • Be helpful. Often, the most supportive thing you can do for someone going through a divorce is to offer concrete support. People are emotionally overwhelmed when going through a divorce and the paperwork and legal meetings can feel like a full-time job on top of their existing duties. Offer to take the kids to soccer practice, walk the dog or make a meal. Be specific rather than just saying “I’m here if you need anything.” • Be realistic. This process will require flexibility and patience on both sides. Perhaps during the divorce, there is too much emotion to stay connected, but over time, the relationship can be re-established. This will be an evolving relationship. It will look different during the divorce, after the divorce and when new romantic relationships develop. If you are the in-law, this isn’t your divorce, but it can still be a painful loss. There are lots of positive reasons to want to try to maintain a connection even after the divorce is final. Trying to be empathic to both parties without taking sides can feel like walking a tightrope. With some boundaries in place, navigating that tricky balancing act can be a little easier and very rewarding.