Tag: in-laws

After a divorce, is it possible to stay friends with your now ex-in-laws?

After a bitter divorce, is it possible to stay on friendly terms with your now ex-in-laws?

Likely? No. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon hope.

Indeed, some divorces end with the in-laws siding with you, not your spouse. This doesn’t happen very often, but maybe it will occur in your situation.

Frankly, you and your in-laws are not expected to remain on the same terms as when you were married to their son or daughter.

Mature people understand that with the end of a marriage comes the end of the in-law relationship as well. They know and accept that we all experience some bitter disappointments of one kind or another along the road of life. They don’t let these misfortunes fester.

There are at least two imperatives for why you should do your best to live the Golden Rule with your ex in-laws (assuming that your ex in-laws are not physical or emotional dangers to themselves or others):

  • it’s your moral obligation; and
  • holding grudges, denying forgiveness, and indulging in hypocritical self-righteousness only hurts yourself. Besides, if you aren’t gracious there can be no hope of maintaining a friendly relationship with your ex in-laws, if you want such a relationship.
    • and if you have children (who are, like it or not, your ex in-laws grandchildren and always will be), treating them shabbily only teaches your children to treat others the same way.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Are your in-laws still your in-laws if your spouse passes away?

Are your in-laws still your in-laws if your spouse passes away?

One’s marriage does not bestow any kind of secular/civil legal relationship or status of any kind upon the family members of one’s spouse. One’s status as an “in-law” is not a secular/civil legal status of any kind.

From Word Detective I found this:

In any case, “in-law” is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “A phrase appended to names of relationship, as father, mother, brother, sister, son, etc., to indicate that the relationship is not by nature, but in the eye of the Canon Law, with reference to the degrees of affinity within which marriage is prohibited.” Anyone with in-laws knows that the relationship is not natural, but the relevant bit of that definition is the fact that it is “Canon law,” rather than civil law, that made the original rules about “in-laws.” Canon law is the internal law of churches, in the case of “in-law” in English, specifically the Church of England.

While Canon law today deals primarily with the internal workings of the church (ordination of clergy, etc.), in past centuries Canon law had the force of civil law, and in ruling on the legality of marriages the church considered what is called the “affinity” of the parties. Two people getting married created various degrees of “affinity” between their families, and there were specific rules about who in those families could, thereafter, marry whom. The rules varied over time, but at one time it was not legal under Canon law, for instance, for your brother to marry your wife’s sister, or your father to marry your wife’s mother (even presuming the relevant spouses were no longer around to object, of course). The suffix “in-law,” therefore, was a sort of marker declaring certain relatives by marriage to be “off limits.” Interestingly, at one time “in-law” was also used to denote the relationship we signify with “step” (“step-son,” etc.) today.

Most of these “in-law” restrictions have been abolished today, and I actually happen to know someone whose sister married his wife’s brother years ago. But none of those people speak to each other any longer, so maybe those “in-law” rules were a good idea after all.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the origin of the term is:

The earliest recorded use of the formation is in brother-in-law (13c.); the law is Canon Law, which defines degrees of relationship within which marriage is prohibited. Thus the word originally had a more narrow application; its general extension to more distant relatives of one’s spouse is, according to OED “recent colloquial or journalistic phraseology.” Middle English inlaue (13c.) meant “one within or restored to the protection and benefit of the law” (opposite of an outlaw), from a verb inlauen, from Old English inlagian “reverse sentence of outlawry.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

Tags: , , ,

Would you want a divorce from someone you knew disliked your mother?

My disdain for my mother-in-law grows every time I see her. Would you want a divorce from someone you knew disliked your mother?

Not necessarily.

Maybe your wife doesn’t like her mother either, but assuming that she does like her mother, your wife might still realize that her mother is not everyone’s cup of tea and would understand if you and others have a hard time getting along with her. While your wife might prefer that you get along with her mother, she may not blame you at all for finding her mother a difficult person to get along with. Your wife may have no problem being your spouse even though you and her mother don’t get along. As long as you and your mother-in-law can tolerate each other as basic human and family decency requires, your marriage does not need to suffer because of your mother-in-law.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

Tags: , , ,
Click to listen highlighted text!