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 IL divorce lawyerWhen you marry another single parent, you create a blended family. Whether you both have your children living in your house full-time or the children move in and out of the home according to their parenting time schedules, you and your spouse are the heads of a new family unit. Integrating your children into your new blended family is not always easy. The tips below can help you make the transition less stressful for you, your spouse, and your children.

Create New Family Hobbies and Traditions

Every family has their special traditions and hobbies they enjoy. Now is the time to cultivate the family traditions you and your spouse will enjoy with your children. Determine a few fun, age-appropriate activities the whole family can enjoy and make them part of your routine. They do not have to be expensive or complex – just enjoyable.

Maintain Consistent Household Rules and Expectations

If you and your spouse decide that all the children are expected to finish their homework before dinner, maintain this expectation equally for all children. Enforcing certain rules more strictly with one “set” of children and maintaining different expectations for them can cause conflict and make your children feel like you are showing favoritism.

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Posted on in Family Law

Illinois divorce lawyerThere are many ways to add a child to your family. Some couples conceive and birth biological children while others adopt children from the foster system, through private adoptions, and from other countries. When an individual with children marries, whether for the first time or after a divorce, his or her spouse may adopt the children and become their legal stepparent. This is known as a stepparent adoption.

A Child Cannot Have Three Legal Parents

One of the most important points to understand about stepparent adoption is that a child cannot have three legal parents. Although many children and adults refer to a parent’s spouse as their stepparent, a stepparent only has legal rights to a child if he or she completes the stepparent adoption process, which is only possible if the child’s other biological parent voluntarily gave up his or her parental rights or if these rights were terminated by the court. Otherwise, a parent’s spouse can build a strong relationship with a child, but without the legal rights that come with being an actual parent.

When a biological parent voluntarily terminates his or her parental rights, he or she no longer has any right to parenting time with the child. He or she also cannot be required to pay child support, nor can he or she seek child support from the child’s other parent.

Completing the Stepparent Adoption Process

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerWhile it is not uncommon for the road to and through divorce to be a mutual, peaceful one, the reality remains that there is always that percentage of married couples who do not make it through the journey without multiple bumps in the road. Divorce is often plagued by conflict, tension, and problems reaching resolution on numerous matters, from everything to parenting time arrangements and the creation of a parenting plan, to the division of assets and child support payments.

Approaching Divorce as a Beginning, Not an End

Whatever your personal divorce circumstances look like, if you are on the verge of blending a new family dynamic together shortly after your split, then you are on deck for a whole new challenge entirely. Those pesky conflicts you faced throughout the divorce proceedings are no longer tied to the separation alone, but are now factors that will come into play with another issue: The task of beginning a new chapter with your newly blended family. Merging a new family means working with your former partner, addressing lingering hurt your children are experiencing from the previous marriage, and channeling your time and energy into building a healthy foundation with your new partner and their children.

Challenges You May Face as a New Stepparent

Some of the challenges a new stepparent may face are diverse. Here are some points of conflict you can expect to encounter if you are freshly divorced, or if your new partner has recently been through a split:

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