The number of marriages in the United States has continued to increase even though studies have shown that previously married individuals are more likely to get divorced again. Though moving on is an important part of ending a relationship when you share children with a former partner, making a clean break is not always possible. Even after co-parenting becomes routine, changes to either of your lives could affect the parenting truce that was established. One issue that often occurs is a confrontation with an ex’s new spouse. Managing a blended family is difficult and even if you have an amicable relationship with the new family unit, it is a good idea to prepare yourself for possible confrontations that may occur in the future.
Do Not Involve the Children
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to keep your children out of a conflict between you and the new spouse. Even if the confrontation started because of an issue between the children and the spouse, you as an adult must deal with the situation alone. Asking your child to carry messages, disobey their stepparent, or spy on the new spouse can have lasting effects on multiple relationships. Not only are you creating conflict between them and their new stepparent, you are also placing them at odds with their other parent. You could damage their trust in you if they later feel that you were wrong for involving them in an ongoing dispute.
Be Honest with Yourself
No matter how long your relationship has been over and how indifferent you feel about your former spouse getting married, it is possible that your feelings towards the new spouse are biased. A friendship with a former spouse does not always guarantee a healthy relationship with his or her new spouse. It is not unusual for a parent to be more jealous of their child’s budding relationship with the new stepparent than the romantic relationship between the adults in question. Ask yourself if your jealousy, uncertainty, or anger about their position in your child’s life played a part in the confrontation or is the reason that the situation has not been resolved.
Communicate with Your Ex
Once a confrontation has occurred, talk to your former spouse about it. Do not worry about assigning guilt and do not get distracted attempting to defend yourself. Focus on explaining the situation, resolving to keep your child-parent relationships unaffected, and place emphasis on maintaining a business-like relationship between your ex and the new spouse. Having a blended family is complicated, and dealing with a remarriage is hard for all of the parties involved. Acknowledging issues, discussing them, and working to move forward is the only way to avoid having conflicts spiral out of control.
Have a Backup Plan if Diplomacy Fails
Regardless of how hard you try to make things work with a new spouse after having a confrontation there are times when things never go back to the way they were before the conflict. An angry stepparent or upset former spouse could conspire to interfere with your parenting time and your relationship with your children. If you feel that the situation is affecting your legal rights, contact a child custody and visitation attorney. An attorney can help you protect your rights and resolve your dispute using litigation after one-on-one communication fails. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum take pride in defending parents and protecting them from parental alienation. Contact our office today and schedule your first consultation at one of our four Atlanta area locations.