Who gets the friends, family and pets?

In the midst of separation and divorce, there’s a minefield of legislation to protect each others rights. When it comes to property and children and immediately after separation, that is what is focused on.  How are we going to fairly split our property and how are we going to share custody of the children. Unfortunately in our circumstances, it’s messy and hard and up until now I really haven’t thought too much about anything else we shared.

What about extended family?  What about pets? What about friends?

From experience, I have found that friends sort themselves out.  They either are on your side, your former partners side or you lose them all together if your separation is particularly messy but then this week I received a phone call from my husbands best friend, best man in our wedding and the lines of “sides” in my argument are suddenly blurred when he spoke of how disappointed he is in my ex husband and how he would like to catch up and see the children.

Pets, with us it kind of sorted itself out.  I moved into a rental and wasn’t allowed a dog, so I took the cat, he kept the dog.  But now, when and how do I see our dog that was a big part of our family?

Extended family.  My ex husbands nephew is turning 18 this weekend.  This is a kid I’ve watched grow up, a kid who calls me Auntie.  There are 9 nieces and nephews on his side of the family, once again 9 kids who called me Auntie, some of these younger kids I looked after as if they were my own. What happens to these kids?  How and when do I see them when relations between my ex husband are strained?


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  • This is really sad and really hard. I’m sorry you are facing it. I remember being really confused as a kid when my aunt got divorced and the uncle I had known my whole life was no longer supposed to be family. In my life, over time, the exes of my extended family determined how much they were included. Those who continued to be active in their children’s lives and were able to be civil remained a part of our whole. Those who drifted away or couldn’t manage to not berate our family member (years after) the divorce stopped being included. I think it was best for my cousins whose parents still got along enough to be together at family functions. Good luck.

  • I’ve never been divorced, but my parents are and I know it was hard as a child, and even now as an,adult balancing time,between family sides. I agree that friends sort themselves out and I don’t necessarily think they have to pick sides at all. As far as family goes, I feel they will always be family. My dad actually still helped tale care of my mom’s parents in Florida when my mom was in north Carolina and they had been divorced 20 years.

  • I really feel for you. It is SO hard, so many different things to figure out and deal with. I am sure it will all work itself out eventually but there is a long period of disruption and uncertainty, it takes time. Be gentle with yourself. With love, Katie xx

  • It’s hard. When life comes down to it sometimes time alone allows the greatest healing. Kids of course are always the highest on the list. I’ve learned that the extended family unit usually defines the blood attached to it.

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