Free Webinar: Loving Your Life After Divorce | Join us February 27 at Noon EST |   REGISTER NOW

Ep.27 – Extended Family

As a close family member of ours has recently passed on,

I am inspired to talk about those relationships we have with our ex’s family members.

You may not have a relationship with your extended family, but your children might and it’s important to support those relationships.


What if I told you that your divorce could end up being one of the best things that could have happened to you? I’m Doreen, Yaa, marital, and family, lawyer, and certified life coach. I’ve been consulting women for over 25 years. I’ve seen it all. Now. I’m sharing my expertise and my own personal experiences to help you turn a difficult time into.

Your amazing divorce.

Hi, my friends today is going to be a sad day. As I talk about the passing of my daughter’s grandmother at the young age of 80, who had been suffering from many ailments about 15, 16 years. And unfortunately COVID 19 complications. Um, Took her away sooner from us and my children and her beautiful family than should have occurred.

You know, my ex-mother-in-law, which it’s very difficult for me to call her my ex-mother-in-law, but it is my ex-husband Sam’s mother. And like I said, um, that she’s the grandmother amazing grandmother to our three girls. So I will say that watching your children, in my case, adult children ranging from 24, 22 and 19 go through the pain and grief of losing someone that they were so close to and really being the first time that they’ve ever had to encounter that kind of.

Family member who passed somebody close to you, somebody that you spoke to and saw and communicated on a regular basis. It’s the first time they’ve had to deal with that challenge in their life. Challenging, because there’s not a lot. One can do a mom can do a dad can do when someone is grieving, other than to just say to your child that you are here for them.

And that. love them that you support them. You know? So I was going to talk today about a different topic, but in memory of Phyllis, I wanna talk about grandparents and if I get a little choked up, sorry. I’m sorry, you know, grandparents can be such an amazing source of beautiful experiences to your children.

And so I wanna talk today about your extended family. And as I get myself together, I apologize. I wanna talk to you about maybe rethinking your extended family on the other side. Um, just for a moment just to open your minds, you know, we know in family laws, so I’m gonna put my lawyer hat on that in most jurisdictions, the courts choose what’s known generally as a best interest standard when deciding custody related matters.

the court, unless the parties agree will decide what is best for the child. And in Florida, they have to approve the, what we call the parenting plan or what some may refer to as a custody plan. Many times in divorce, unfortunately, and again, doing this 28 years, I’ve seen way too much of it. It becomes a family versus another family.

The family takes side of the husband or the wife, whoever their family member is. Son is, you know, niece, nephew, uncle whomever, and they generally, in many cases will side with them. With that parent they’ll buy into the story, egg, their family member, the husband, the wife on and forget about who all of this is most affecting, which is the child, even in cases where the custody issues are mostly agreed upon, you know, the litigation.

Even on financial matters, affects the child. They see mom and dad stressed out. They overhear conversations. Unfortunately they see text message or other papers that maybe are carelessly left around. And most of all, they see the things that are not necessarily verbal, a nasty look. A refusal to say hi, or acknowledge the other parent or the extended family at a school event or game the distance they’re refusing to get outta the car and walk the child to the door or to pick the child up at the door.

Children are so smart, even at a young age, we all know that all you have to do is Google it and how these. Divorce has gone wrong. And the parents who are fighting are having such a negative effect on the child that could last for years to come. And yes, children are resilient, but why put them through that isn’t life difficult enough, right?

You know, grandparents specifically can play. As I said, such an important role in the development of your child. My girls have so many amazing, beautiful memories of times with in person and with COVID through zoom or communications through email or text message with their grandmother. , they were young when my ex Sam and I divorced, but I did my best to encourage that beautiful bond between a grandparent and my children, you know, she was the matriarch of the family.

She was extremely. she had wisdom beyond what one could ever just see. If you just sat and spoke with her, she was so smart, her kindness, putting others before herself and her interest in your wellbeing and the other person’s wellbeing, no matter what she was suffering with health, health wise or otherwise, you know, that just says it all.

She was the first to assure that birthdays were celebrated and religious holidays honored. She would send a recipe just because, or a silly gadget to the girls thinking that they might use it or like it, she had a, such a wit about her and placed all of her needs. Like I said, above others. Well, these are attributes that I saw when I was married to Sam before I was married to Sam.

And even after I was divorced, and these are the attributes of the type of people I decided that I wanted to have around our girls, around my girls, a true female role model that they could learn from by way of her actions. Not just her words in Florida, grandparents, no matter how involved they are with their grandchild.

Post divorce have no legal rights to spend time with their grandchildren. So what happens generally is when one parent has the child or the children, the extended family, including the grandparent can obviously spend time as well. But if that parent dies the other parent. Can legally, at least in Florida and in most jurisdictions, keep the grandparents away.

And I get that. I, I get on one hand that legally being a parent is such a high, constitutional rights of how we’re gonna raise our children. And it’s in one of the most important rights that we have as parents. But think about what extended family can offer your child. Like in my case, all the amazing attributes that Phyllis possessed and showed them by way of her example, not to mention what example they can play.

in your child’s life, but also they can be helpful to you. They say it takes a village, right? And so why not have dad’s parents pick up the child and spend time after school instead of going to daycare, if they’re available, they’re good people. And. Love your grand, their grandchild or your child. And I’m not saying that all grandparents are perfect or all of family members, extended family members should be considered to be people that are of such character, that they should be around your children.

But in most situations, I believe that if you dig deep, they likely are. , you know, in my case, in my divorce, I made a decision to always promote and encourage the girls’ relationship with their extended family. Hell, I even gave up Thanksgiving with my small family because we had one of those rotating. uh, year Thanksgiving, one year of my house, even his house odd, which is common.

I forgo, I, I gave that up. Why? Because I have, you know, elderly parents and I don’t have any real family around. And Sam’s parent, they have many uncles and, you know, um, cousins and young kids up to, you know, older kids and, and. People come in and they spend time and it’s a big event and I wanted them to experience that.

And I thought Thanksgiving is just a day. If I can see them for a little bit in the morning or I can spend another day with them. It’s okay. I did it for them. I was thinking about what’s best for their needs.

And I’m not suggesting that, you know, I had like a lunch every week with my, with the girl’s paternal grandmother, but I would send a birthday wish, a happy holiday greeting or hoping that she was feeling okay. When I knew that she had just been released from the hospital. why? Because she made a difference in the lives of my children, because the girls knew by way of our example that we respected each other.

And I always did, you know, I was at the funeral with my girls and husband, Jeff, an extended family. from Sam’s side and, you know, just lots of friends and very close, such a close niche family. And I was there because I was able to maintain that relationship with my ex’s family. I was there because, and it gave me the opportunity to support my girls so that they could see me as they were standing next to him to send my condolences to the family.

so think about maybe how this might work out in your situation. And again, I’m not suggesting that if you have grandparents that are abusive or have other issues that this, that you fall into this category, but I’m saying for most many grandparents, so think about it. Put it on for size. Think about your child and why you may have negative thoughts if you do about your ex’s family.

I mean, is it part of your story? Is it true? What you say or is it something else? So this morning I was also reading. Mel Robbins book, the high five habit, actually chapter 13, which is, can I handle this? And it ties in with what I believe my girls are going through with the loss of their grandmother. It talks about how.

life throws you curve balls, divorce, death sickness, getting fired from your job. COVID, you know, all these bad things that are can happen. I call it the 50 50 of the human experience. You know, that half of the time life is good and great things happen. Like you get hired or you overcome a sickness. And then there’s the other times when you don’t have control and you get sick, you know, so there’s a 50, 50 balance in life.

And when I say balance, I don’t mean daily balance. What I mean is it comes in different cycles and it comes in different balances, but it is the way it is. It is a good and bad 50, 50 human experience. So when the bad hits like a death or a divorce, it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.

You know, life can turn on a dime one day, someone’s here and the next day they’re gone. That’s a lot to handle. So Mel talks about the thought one has when the bad happens. She calls it a current limiting belief, thoughts. Like I can’t handle this. The, how am I going to get out of bed today? How am I going to get through this?

You likely know what I’m speaking about. that heavy feeling when you wake up and maybe for you it’s throughout the day. For me, I deal with that heavy feeling. When I wake up the anxiety, the fear, the sadness, Mel asks you to flip the thought to something like I’m okay. I’m safe. I’m loved to stop and repeat the words over and over again.

Closing your eyes taking a deep breath, taking a moment to work through whatever it is that heavy feeling that you have. And just repeat to yourself. I’m okay. I’m safe. I’m loved. So when I read this, I thought, thanks, Mel. This is what my girls need. That they are okay. That they are safe and that they are loved.

All right. My friends, I know it’s a somber episode today, but one that is truly from the heart that I hope you consider when it comes to your children and their family, family on both sides. They have such opportunities to learn and to grow and to have amazing memories to carry forward. And for you, my friend, maybe try it on for size.

The next time you wake up with that heavy feeling, when you feel like you just can’t do it again another day to go through whatever it is that you’re going. Know that you will be okay. You are safe and you are loved. All right. My friend have an amazing, as best as you can weak be kind and loving to yourself and gentle to yourself and kind to others.

Until next time and until next time, have an amazing rest of the day. And remember, yes, you can buy everybody. Thanks so much for listening for tips, updates, and expert advice. Be sure to visit your amazing And remember my friends. Yes, you can have an amazing life after. See you there views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by YFA family law group or your divorce law center, their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, or representatives.

The content of your amazing divorce is for entertainment and educational purposes. Only none of the content on your amazing divorce should be considered legal advice, nor does anything here in create an attorney, client relationship as always consult a lawyer for your legal question.

Start creating your best life after divorce and book your complimentary Discovery Call