New Jersey Lawyer to Help with Divorce Over Stepchild
Are your stepchildren causing problems in your marriage? Would you be surprised to learn that in New Jersey, friction caused by step children and ex-spouses is frequently the cause of divorce? If you are contemplating divorce because of stepchildren, contact us today to schedule a consultation so we can discuss your options.
We think of stepchildren as the product of divorce, but there are statistics that show that children from a prior marriage are often the cause of divorce. While 41% of first marriages end in divorce, 70% of second marriages with stepchildren end in divorce.
This does not bode well for newly-weds with a blended family. There are the inevitable power struggles – “You can’t tell me what to do, you’re not my dad!” – and if both parties have children from a prior marriage, it is likely that the children won’t get along with each other. . Then there is the additional wrinkle of ex-spouses and custody arrangements to iron out. It gets complicated!
It’s easy to say that the step children are causing divorce, but in fact, it is unfair to place blame with the kids. It was the parents and their decisions that put them in this situation and a bit of planning ahead might prevent many of these problems.
This is undoubtedly a big challenge. Choosing to consciously stepparent as a team is a first step. Absent a formal adoption, acknowledging the nature of your relationship with your stepchildren can go a long way to establishing a positive role and influence in their lives.
Second, talking with the children about how awkward things can be and encouraging them to be open about how the new family dynamic is working out is a way to involve them and make them stakeholders in the health of the second marriage.
Last, newlyweds bringing children from prior marriages have many resources to rely on – books, classes (both in-person and online), and individual and family counselling. By being proactive and addressing issues such as the appearance of favoritism, different discipline styles, and conflicting family rules or habits, a consistent approach to the new family lifestyle is more likely to be reached.
There is no doubt that establishing and maintaining a healthy second marriage and managing a blended family require similar skill sets and an equal amount of attention. If the newlyweds acknowledge this and strive for open communication, flexibility, patience, and a united “team” approach, they have a better chance of success.
Many stepparents complain that they divorced due to the stepchildren. But remember, it was not the children who chose this new family – the parents did. And those parents are responsible for doing what they can to ease the transition and create a new, healthy family dynamic.
That being said, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. We’ve had many clients come in saying “the stepchildren are ruining my marriage!”
If things have gone too far and you feel there is little chance of improvement, it might be time to discuss your options. If you are thinking you might have to divorce over a stepchild in New Jersey, contact us to schedule your consultation. We can assess your family’s situation and explore all of your options for resolving this conflict, together.
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Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney At Law is located in Somerville, NJ and serves clients in and around Somerville, Raritan, Lyons, Bridgewater, Manville, Zarephath, Neshanic Station, Pluckemin, Whitehouse, Martinsville, Bound Brook, Belle Mead, South Bound Brook, Bedminster, Whitehouse Station, Three Bridges, Liberty Corner, Warren, Middlesex, Somerset, Stanton, Skillman, Blawenburg, Far Hills and Somerset County.
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