You are madly in love! You are sure the person you are marrying is also a really good Mom/Dad. And you imagine that everything will work wonderfully.
Hmmmmm….Really? No hiccups along the way?
Getting married when you are young and single without children can be an adjustment. You both came from different families. As such, there were beliefs you picked up along the way. You have different ways of doing things.
Getting Married with Children
Approximately 65% of new marriages include children of past marriages.
Let’s face it, getting married with children brings the whole adjustment experience up a notch. Everyone has their own vision of what life should look like in the new family. And the truth is you may not all be on the same page. Here are a few situations you should consider.
All families experience sibling rivalry. But blended families experience it at a different level. The fighting may be more intense. After all, they didn’t ask to be a part of this new family. Chances are your child may long for “how things used to be.” Additionally, children who haven’t had to “share’ their parent in a long time may have trouble letting go.
How to Handle the Situation
Communication is the key to a successful remarriage and a blended family. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page about sibling rivalry. If one of you thinks the other’s child is causing the rift, nothing will work. If you are having trouble with this seek counseling.
Consequences and rewards need to be the same for all the children, no matter how it “used to work” before you two got married. The rules have to be the same for everyone and you and your partner need to be on the same page.
Children of blended families often have trouble with one another’s turf. If the children from one family move into the home with children who are already there expect some acting out. Ideally, if you can move into a new home it may make the transition smoother. But this may not be possible. In that case, try the following tips.
If there are not enough bedrooms, make the den or an office space into a bedroom.
Children who must share bedrooms need to have an active voice in how it is decorated. Spending a few extra dollars on new paint and décor can help soften the blow of sharing a space for your child.
Consider hiring an organizer to work with the family to clean out closets, drawers and family spaces that will be shared. This will be an outsider who can help the children develop a good plan to use their space.
Keep each family member’s allotted space as equal as possible. This is so important!
Legal Disputes and Issues
When families separate there may be legal issues that arise. During a divorce, one partner may get the house but when a new partner enters the picture, legal agreements may need to be changed. There may also be financial strains from ongoing legal issues related to the divorce.
Communicating before you get married. Put all of your cards on the table. Make sure you enter a marriage with your eyes wide open. Understand all of the legal and financial challenges you may encounter.
It is Important to Plan
Wills, trusts and other documents need to be updated. This is so important. Often people do not even think about the fact their new family could be left in the cold. Your ex-spouse could end up with money you wanted your new spouse to have. And you want to make sure all of the children in the family get equal treatment and shares.
The Hilbun Law Firm can help you make sure everything is in place.