Divorce, Round 2: When a Blended Family Un-blends

Going through a divorce after a second go-around can be just as difficult as the first. You’re probably wondering how this can be happening again and worry about your kids, your spouse’s kids, and any children you may have had together. It’s also likely daunting to be thinking about dividing up property and financial obligations.

Don’t despair! Since the last time either of you has gone through the divorce process, more resources are available to help and support networks exist for families going through exactly what you are experiencing right now. The courts have more experience with these kinds of divorces and understand the impact on blended families better that they did a few years ago. An experienced divorce attorney can help navigate through it all with you.

Finances Are Already Complicated

Every family’s situation is unique. The spouses in many blended families may have executed prenuptial agreements prior to marrying a second time. In other divorces, wives may have lost any prior spousal support if they remarried within a certain period of time after the first divorce. Tax consequences and splitting up jointly-owned business can be a nightmare. You may also have to enlist help to determine whether an asset was purchased prior to entering the second marriage or if a previous spouse has any claim to assets one of you currently uses.

Working with an experienced family law attorney can help minimize the financial trauma that goes along with splitting up a marital estate. When necessary, other experts can be brought in to assist with valuation of assets, determining future earnings, and transferring partnerships and corporate ownership.

Consider Allowing Step-Parent Visitation Rights

While fairly dividing up marital assets is a major challenge during a divorce, coming up with a fair custody and visitation schedule can be even harder. Often, decisions about the children’s schedules are emotionally driven and may not benefit the children or the parents. Additionally, bonds with step-children may be ignored by the court and the biological parent to whom you are married.

It is important to protect and respect these step relationships and enlist the help of the right professionals to explain the depth of the relationships to the mediator or judge. While it’s likely that the courts will give priority to the existing custody order in place between the biological, divorced parents, you may still be entitled to spend time with these children whom you’ve grown to love and have parented while they were under your care.

Blended Families Require a More Nuanced Approach to Divorce

Relationships among members of blended families can be as complicated as the financial web spun during the marital relationship. But blended families can move forward with the right support from an experienced family law attorney. If you would like to understand your parental rights as a step-parent during a divorce, please contact our experienced team today.

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