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Divorce and Extended Family Members: How to Support a Relative Getting Divorced


By: Janice Dantes


Many times, a client’s mother, new signifi cant other, or other relative will want to talk to me about their family member’s divorce. While I understand the concern to protect your relative, meddling with their affairs tends to do more harm than good. Unless you are paying your relative’s attorney’s fees, it is better if you stay out of it and let your relative work things out with the ex.

Below is my advice to family members who want to support their relatives through their diffi cult time:

1. Don’t post about it on Facebook. Do not post about your relative’s divorce on FaceBook and throw shade at the ex. All that does is make settlement negotiations more diffi cult for your relative and also angers the other side. Also, it is none of your business. Some things I have seen posted are cheating allegations, comments on that person’s page, and just other rants. If your post angers the other side, settlement negotiations break down, and the case goes to a trial, remember, you just cost your relative $10,000. If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say anything at all.

2. Don’t talk to your relative’s lawyer? My conversations with clients are protected by attorney-client privilege. When a client decides they want their mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, or friend to sit in on their meetings, that client just destroyed attorney- client privilege. This means that the conversation is no longer confi dential. If that relative wants to spill the beans on our conversation to all your other friends and relatives, they can because there is no privilege anymore. Your relative is a grown adult who decided to get married and have children. They don’t need mom and dad to bail them out of their divorce.

3. Don’t bad mouth the ex? It is easy to blame the other side for the demise of a relationship. Maybe they deserve it. However, when you disrespect someone’s ex, you also are disrespecting the person who chose to be with that person. Also, you make it impossible to create a friendly relationship, especially if they need to co-parent. Bad mouthing the ex also creates an incredibly awkward situation when couples actually reconcile.

The best thing you can do if you have a family member going through a divorce is just listen. Be there for your relative and show them that they can lean on you for support. Let them confi de in you. I’m happy to work on uncontested divorce cases. On the other hand, it costs $10,000+ to go to trial. If you absolutely hate the ex and you are out for blood, I’m happy to represent you as well. If you have questions about uncontested and contested divorces, please contact me at (312) 546-5077 or janice@pinaylaw.com. Thank you for reading. Until we meet again, love one another.

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