Blending Families after Divorce
There is nothing easy about the process of blending families after divorce, but thankfully the task is possible with the right approach, direction, and support. Today, more than ever, divorce rates continually illuminate the reality that for many couples,the challenge to merge families after remarriage is incredibly common. Countless people must find ways to come together and recreate their lives post-divorce with their existing children, as well as adjust to any new additions to the family.
Setting Up for Success
As you and your family begin to immerse yourself in a new routine and lifestyle, The American Psychological Association suggests the following to help ensure a healthy transition as you work to blend both families together:
Be clear about financial and living arrangements - Between the time after divorce and a new marriage or live-in partnership, individuals establish their own new routines and practices, including how they handle money and where they choose to live. Once a new marriage is imminent or a new partner is about to move in, those key areas must be revisited and reevaluated. This is especially important when children are involved. The APA encourages adults to discuss and plan how they will spend their money and what their living arrangements will be beforehand, in order to prepare the entire family for any impending changes.
Be patient with new parenting integration - Becoming a parent to your new partner’s child is intimidating, but the key is to take things slow. Do not force yourself on the child. Instead of attempting to assume an instant parental role, first try to become a friend or mentor. The APA has reported research that reveals that adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14 tend to have the most difficult time adjusting to new stepfamilies. Research has also shown that children prefer to have verbal affection rather than physical closeness from their new stepparent. Compliments are much better received than hugs or kisses.
Prioritize “couple time” - Along with tending to the needs of the children as your families merge, it is also crucial to make quality time with your new partner priority. Life after divorce is often consumed with basic survival tasks, such as holding down a job, taking care of your children, or planning your next career move. Once you begin a new relationship and welcome that relationship into your post-divorce life, it is important to make the time to build upon that new relationship. If you both have children, try to arrange quality alone time, without the children, to sustain a healthy balance in the household.
Tying Up Loose Ends
It is not uncommon for spouses to begin dating or to invite someone new into their home before their divorce is officially complete. If you are planning to move forward with new family plans and have unfinished business to attend to from your previous marriage, be sure to speak with a qualified Kane County divorce attorney to gain the knowledge and insight you need to protect your rights in a court of law. Call Shaw Sanders, P.C. today at 630-584-5550 for a personal consultation.