When a couple’s divorce is finalized, as are their property division and child support agreements, they may think it is the end of the family law issues that must be resolved. For many it might be. But those Durham parents who get married again have a number of issues they should think of before tying the knot. A blended family, a family that includes married or cohabiting stepparents, has to think about their child custody agreement and how that step will affect their children.
It is important to tread lightly with stepchildren and half-siblings-no child should feel he or she is being treated differently from the other. This could be in terms of attention or in terms of finances. Children need to feel safe in their environment and need a nurturing environment from all adults involved to achieve their potential.
Navigating two families and former spouses can be very difficult, which is why it is better to begin one’s relationship with a clear picture of how child custody is going to work. Is the current spouse going to adopt the stepchildren? Is the new couple going to assume full custody or is joint custody on the table? These decisions need to be made and crystalized, as are decisions of who will take care of the children if the parent becomes incapacitated. With more and more parents spending thousands of dollars on childcare and extracurricular activities, laying out who is going to pay and continue to pay for these in the event of a marriage, is very important.
Divorced parents about to marry again should be open about the expenses involved in raising their children and discuss family law issues that their marriage may impact. It might also be wise to consult an experienced attorney on guidance on how to resolve them, including creating a prenuptial agreement.