The blending of two households can be fun, exciting, scary, nerve-racking, and even a bit confusing. There are many things that can make this process difficult, both from the legal side of things and the more personal. Knowing the issues that blended families face in their first year can be vital in helping you navigate choppy waters in the future.
Custody of Children
More often than not, both members of a blended family are coming off of a divorce. This can make custody of children difficult, especially when both parties are going through a child custody battle. In fact, this is one of the biggest complications that prove a hindrance in divorce proceedings with blended families.
Generally, the parent with whom the children spend the most time will be the custodial parent. Depending on the age, living conditions, and income of both parents, the court is most likely to decide accordingly to award custody of the children.
Adoption of Stepchildren
As a stepparent, you will not have legal power over any medical or legal decisions that concern your stepchild, which can make documenting life difficult for you and your stepchildren. Things such as medical records and school records may be off-limits to the stepparent. By adopting your stepchild, you can have all the rights of a biological parent, including:
- Parent consent rights
- Custody rights
- Inheritance rights
With parental rights come parental responsibilities. You are probably already providing for your stepchildren together with your spouse. A legal adoption, however, will make you financially responsible for your stepchild’s well-being and future.
Any Sibling Rivalries?
Your children are used to being showered by your love and attention all day, every day. As new children enter the picture, it can sometimes lead to a sibling rivalry as they battle for attention. While we may look at our children as innocent and pure souls, it’s not uncommon for them to fight one another— though not always in the literal sense— in order to assert dominance.
To make this transition as seamless as possible, you should talk with your spouse to ensure you’re both on the same page about sibling rivalry. This process will not work if one of you blames the other’s biological child for causing a rift. Different disciplinary styles are also likely to cause problems, so it’s important to get this stuff figured out as quickly as possible.
Have an Open Mind & Be Excited
While this may be a hectic time for you and your new spouse, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the process! Go into it with an open mind, ready for new experiences and challenges. The only way a blended family can truly work is if both you and your spouse are welcoming of new challenges and viewpoints regarding parenthood and communication.
Eventually, the household will feel less like a mish-mash of families and more like one solid unit. Creating a functioning blended family is hard work that takes time, but the resulting bonds are worthy of the effort and will last a lifetime.
Do you need assistance with child custody or child support? Contact Burrows Law Group for a free consultation at 972-703-4004, or reach out to us online today. Our family lawyers will guide you through each step as you embark on this exciting new journey ahead!