Combining two families has brought happiness and completion into the lives of many people by creating a cohesive family unit. However, these ideal blended families rarely start out smoothly. Multiple people adjusting to sharing a space, learning each other’s routines, and combining parenting styles is difficult to adjust to. Even though most expect there to be complications, it is often surprising and disappointing to find your family going through problems you had hoped to avoid. Being aware of common blended family growing pains can help you prepare for and get through difficult situations as you work towards strengthening the bonds of your new family.
Adjusting to Multiple Visitation Schedules
Previous relationships are one of the most common problems that a blended family will encounter. Regardless of whether you are the custodial parent or noncustodial parent, marrying or living with another parent will require schedule adjustments. When children are involved, visitation schedules can quickly become an issue as everyone tries to find a good way to exchange children and information related to the child without more discomfort than normal. If you and your new partner have a similar visitation schedule with each former spouse, possible problems include a congested house with multiple people arriving at once to get or drop off a child. Additionally, events and trips will often need to be planned around where children are expected to be, especially around holidays.
Communicating with the Other Parent
Once your family combines with the family of your partner, eventually you will have to interact with the other parent. Over time, polite greetings may expand to conversations and more as the blended family grows used to the situation. While you are still trying to establish a decent relationship with your spouse’s former partner, it is important to be clear and concise when you speak with him or her. Keep the discussion focused on safe topics or things that affect the family as a whole. Avoiding potentially uncomfortable subjects is a good way to prevent arguments or miscommunications that often occur between two people who do not know each other well.
Setting and Maintaining Boundaries
Half of all second marriages include children from previous marriages and communication with those children’s parents. To help avoid conflict between the former partner and current partner or the former partner and children of the current partner, it is important that you set and maintain boundaries. Focusing on topics that concern the children of the relationship or shared financial matters while discouraging questions about the new couple’s domestic life can help keep the relationship cordial. Making decisions regarding contacting each other’s extended family, attending certain events together, etc. and sticking to them make it clear what the new relationship is and helps the newly created family focus on becoming a unit without interference from outside influences.
When All Else Fails
There are times when no amount of planning, communication, and boundaries will keep a former partner from interfering with the newly established family. If you or someone close to you is having difficulties with a former spouse, consulting a family law attorney may be your best option. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum understand how important it is for you and your blended family to grow. Contact us today and schedule a consultation at one of our Atlanta, Georgia locations so that we can discuss your situation and provide you with the legal advice that you need.