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A divorce isn’t usually the separation of just two people. It often comes with difficult decisions about staying in touch with the people who are connected to your ex.

Here are a few important things you should consider when choosing whether or not to keep these relationships.

Your ex’s family

While it’s typical to see movies and television shows that prod at disagreeable relationships between in-laws, it’s not uncommon for in-laws to become like a second family. That could include your ex’s parents, siblings or stepchildren.

As a rule of thumb, if you and your ex share children, you should try to remain amicable or at least civil with the family. However, in most cases, it will be best for your mental health to distance yourself from your ex’s family.

There may be some special circumstances, such as if you were close friends with your ex’s sibling before dating. You may also want to remain close to your ex’s stepchildren if you were in their lives for many years. Try taking queues from your ex’s family, while also acknowledging why you would remain connected and how it might make you feel.

Mutual friends

If you and your ex hung out with other couples or were introduced by mutual friends, everyone’s probably feeling a little awkward about how to handle the divorce. In the beginning, it’s a good idea to ask your friends to respect that you and your ex will need time apart.

From there, relationships are a two-way street and it will be important for you to recognize and accept that you may lose some of them. The best way to handle this situation is to be open and flexible. Resist competing with your ex for the friends or using their friendship to bother your ex.

A pet

If your ex owned their pet before you were married or was awarded the pet during property division, it’s for the better that you let it go. While some divorced couples choose to arrange a custody plan for their shared pet, this will involve more communication with your ex.

Continued contact with your ex will likely make it more difficult for you to transition into your new life.

Focus on a healthy transition

When deciding whether or not it makes sense for you to keep any relationship connected to your ex, you should consider whether the communication will make it more difficult for you to transition into life without your ex.

To make this difficult transition easier on yourself while relationships are complicating it, contact an attorney for help. An attorney can guide you through the proceedings so you can focus on you.