The Blended Family: A New Post-Divorce Dynamic

Following a divorce, many individuals are anxious to put their previous relationship behind them and move forward. For some, this may mean reestablishing themselves as a single person and dating casually. Others may find themselves in another serious romantic relationship and heading toward remarriage. As with many aspects of a post-divorce situation, remarriage can present an interesting combination of emotions and experiences to those involved, especially for children and divorced parents with any type of shared custody arrangement. These emotions can intensify with the prospect of blended family situations, as well.

If you are a divorced parent in such a situation, the prospect of a new love or a second chance at marriage can be extremely exciting. Initially, the novelty may also be exciting for your children, but it is important to keep in mind that the process is only beginning. Over time, it is completely understandable that they will likely have concerns about the new relationships in their lives, both with their stepparent and stepsiblings, as well as the continued relationship with you and their other natural parent.

As you begin to build a new family life, remember that each of your children will adapt to the new situation at their own pace, which is likely to be different from yours and from each other’s. Regardless of the time it may take, make an effort to be aware and respectful of their progress and difficulties. Your attention and support can help them realize their feelings are not a burden to you or your new spouse, but a natural part of the family evolution.

It can very difficult for children to handle too much change in a short amount of time. A remarriage very quickly after the divorce, for example, may be difficult for your children to process easily. Understanding that you cannot control your children’s emotions is helpful, as well. Your children must also realize, however, that feeling a certain way or not liking a new stepsibling is not an excuse for disrespectful or rude behavior. While it can be difficult to avoid, try not to create unrealistic expectations for the family’s adaptation to the situation. There is no one best way for a blended family to be brought closer together; rather, the best way is whatever works to help your family.

Facilitating healthy, respectful communication between all family members is the most important gift you can offer your children and your new spouse. With communication, trust can be built over time, and with trust, a loving family environment can develop. Your children will feel loved and valued while you and your new spouse work together to build a new family situation that can benefit everyone involved.

If you are a divorced parent in DuPage County and have questions about how a remarriage can affect your child custody order, qualified help is available. Contact an experienced Wheaton family law attorney for a consultation today. We can provide the representation you need to move forward after divorce.