Although divorce is a difficult process, the aftermath is not always easier. Many people heal, grow, and remarry after a divorce. It is also common for remarriages to include children from previous spouses and families. Joining families together in this way creates a “blended family.”
Blended families are all unique, and it is normal to experience issues and setbacks when joining loved ones together. This is especially true if your children are older. They may be dealing with the psychological aftermath of divorce, the death of a parent, or other scenarios that lead to remarriage.
Our team works with families of all types on family law claims. During our time in this field, we have amassed some beneficial practices for newly blended families. These may be helpful in establishing their home life.
Patience is often simpler in theory than in practice. Nevertheless, it is an essential part of a blended family. It is natural for the process of merging two families to take time and effort, and it certainly will not be easy instantly. Throughout the entire process, including when you utilize tools and tips to make the process easier, have patience when things do not go as planned. Blending a family takes time.
Every family has a different way of communicating. Do not assume that anyone in your family will communicate in the same way that you do. They may be used to talking in a way that makes no sense to you. Instead, have a family meeting to discuss how you will communicate with one another in different scenarios. Perhaps notes or texts are better in some situations, while vocal communication is necessary in others. Establishing a mode of communication ensures that everyone is on the same page. It also makes it more likely that you can overcome problems when you encounter them.
Commit to Partnered Parenting
It is natural to want to defend your biological child or make exceptions for them. However, it is important that you and your spouse appear united. This requires additional communication within your relationship to determine how to approach issues that arise.
When you and your partner act as a unit, the children can more easily settle into the parent-child dynamic. If parents are not united, children often get confused about the rules and expectations, which leads to mistakes and conflict.
It would be very convenient if you could outline rules and have everyone in your blended family agree and follow suit. However, this is unlikely. Humans simply need time to adjust and settle before they can begin to effectively operate.
Monitor your expectations for your family to ensure that you remain realistic. Adjustments like these can take months or years to complete. Having tempered expectations makes everything easier for both you and your children.
Create New Memories
Although you will likely carry on traditions from your family, and your spouse and their children will carry on theirs, make sure to create new memories as well. In addition to showing each other your customs, create new ones together. Regular or annual activities can make a group feel more connected and will get your children excited about family time.
Establish Your Group
Although this may seem simple, doing something like taking a family photo or having a family text thread can help everyone feel as though they are part of a unit. Photos especially provide a visual that ties you and your loved ones together. Hanging a family portrait in your home may be beneficial for establishing your new blended family.
Q: Do Stepparents Have Rights in Blended Families?
A: Stepparents do not have automatic legal rights over their spouse’s children in blended families. They may act as a parent, depending on the individual family’s organization. However, they do not have the legal right to make major decisions related to healthcare, lifestyle, or legal matters. The exception to this is if the stepparent seeks legal adoption over their stepchildren. This may be possible if the child’s other parent is deceased or does not wish to have parental rights.
Q: What Are Common Problems in Blended Families?
A: Communication is a top issue for blended families. Every family communicates differently, so it can be difficult to merge two methods of communication. There are often misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and hurt feelings when two families initially come together. Another key issue is parent unification, as many parents try to raise their biological children alone rather than with their new partner. However, with patience and practice, many blended families overcome these obstacles and live happy, healthy lives.
Q: How Do I Establish Rules in a Blended Family?
A: If you are a newly blended family, it is important that you and your spouse approach the children with rules and expectations. Presenting a united front helps the children see and understand the hierarchy of the household. Making rules and expectations clear helps eliminate misunderstandings. Getting the children’s input on some of the house rules may help them feel included. They are also more likely to listen to the rules that have been set forth.
Q: Do I Have Rights Over My Child If Their Other Parent Enters a Blended Family?
A: Yes. If you are a child’s established biological parent, you retain your rights if the child’s other parent remarries. Their stepparent may have some basic control over your child’s behavior when they are in the family home. Nevertheless, the stepparent does not have legal rights or custody over your child. You retain the right to make decisions concerning your biological children, even if they have stepparents or stepsiblings.
Contact Stange Law Firm in Springfield, MO
If you are divorcing, seeking custody of a child, or have any other family law issue, it is important to have a qualified attorney on your side. Our team at Stange Law Firm offers reliable, comprehensive legal services for families of all kinds and in all scenarios. We can help you navigate any legal problem you may encounter.
For more information, or to schedule a consultation, contact Stange Law Firm.