I am planning for the future time (hopefully this year) when a nasty divorce that involves a child (my grandchild) is finalized. Over the past 5 years, my relationship with my daughter-in-law has varied from warm to warfare, mostly due to her low threshold of anger/outrage, and is now at a low point. (The change in the relationship did not mirror the demise of the marriage.) Yet this person is the mother of my grandchild. Although we do not live in the same city, we will certainly run into each other from time to time. Beyond that we may try to keep the lines of communication open by tele and email. I am wondering what names former father-in-laws use with their former daughter-in-laws, assuming there is any contact at all. In the past, she has called me "Dad" (perhaps because she did not have any father in her life.) So, what names do ex-fathers-in-law use in communicating with their former daughters-in-law?

  • 4
    Bill and Suzie? Why not just use first names? Better than "Grand-baby-mama"...
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 22:15
  • 3
    Somewhat dumb suggestion perhaps - ask her what her preference would be. Worst case scenario, you get a smartass or insulting answer. Best case - she warms up to you, at least marginally.
    – user3143
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 3:00
  • You might try using the term "Grandpa". I know you are not her Grandpa, but it serves as a reminder of the relationship that endures and through which you are still connected in a positive way. Just as my husband often refers to me as "Mommy" when he is talking about me to the kids, or even when he addresses me when the kids are around...it used to bug me but now I understand that it is a reminder, not a label, for him. Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 19:48
  • I think I've only ever heard a parent or parent-in-law refer to the younger party as their first name, with the occasional "son/daughter"
    – sirjonsnow
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 20:10

2 Answers 2


What do you call her now? Do you call her "daughter", or "DIL" or some other such relationship-specific name?

After a divorce, depending on how close the relationship is, your daughter-in-law might continue calling you "Dad" (an honorary title), or she may switch to calling you by your first name.

There's no reason I can think of that you have to stop calling her by her name, or can't start doing so.


When my son went to prison, his wife and I maintained a close relationship, even though they divorced. To their children, I am still "grandma" and to the ex-wife, I am still "Mom". I guess we didn't know how to switch comfortably to anything else. She has remarried now, but I'm still "Mom." I don't know what she calls her new mother-in-law. Maybe she is "Mom" also...maybe our situation is awkward, but it works for us.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .