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Parental responsibility in blended families takes its toll

Since the coining of the term "blended family," stepfamily advocates have sought to bring out the best in the very difficult task of uniting a married couple with the children of their spouses. Each blended family has its own unique dynamic, and the assimilation of two worlds into one often seems like an impossible goal. In fact, divorce experts claim that when parental responsibility includes stepchildren, the result may lead to many Florida divorces at the beginning of each new year.

Sixty percent of second marriages end in divorce, according to the latest data. However, if the spouses bring children into their new marriages, the risk rises to 70 percent. One reason may be that one spouse may be overly critical about the parenting style of the other spouse. On the other hand, one partner may refuse to allow the spouse to discipline the partner's biological children. The lack of flexibility and consistency may make it difficult for children to adjust.

Additionally, children who perceive discord between their parents often take full advantage of the lack of confidence the parents may show. It is common for stepchildren to sabotage the marriage or resist efforts of a stepparent who tries to push them into bonding. This process may be lifelong, and couples who are impatient for its natural progression may find themselves unwilling to put forth the effort it takes.

When the challenges of stepparenting and its difficult parental responsibility lead to discouragement and dissatisfaction, a Florida spouse may surrender the dream of a perfectly blended family. In such a situation, there will undoubtedly be crucial elements to consider that may not have been present in the first divorce. Having the assistance of an attorney with experience in family law will improve the chances of a fair and equitable divorce settlement.

Source: startribune.com, "The link between stepkids and divorce - and how you can beat the odds", Gail Rosenblum, Jan. 25, 2018

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