Once a divorce is finalized and custody is decided, it takes everyone some time to adjust to the new family dynamic. Adults must get used to running single parent households, while their children deal with shared parenting time. Initially everyone is so focused on managing one day at a time that the idea of one or both partners remarrying seems like an impossibility. However, research shows that 64% of men and 52% of women remarry after divorce making it likely that children of a divorced couple will end up with at least one stepparent. Since children often take their social cues from their parents, keeping tips for communicating with a new stepparent in mind may reduce at least some of the awkwardness
Professionalism is a Must
Even after an amicable divorce there are times when staying pleasant is difficult. The physical and financial stress of being a single parent can sap the good nature out of even the most kind-hearted person. Once a new spouse is introduced, keeping a smile in place becomes slightly more difficult. In times when pleasantness is impossible, focus on being professional. There is no rule that a former spouse needs to become friends with a new spouse, but maintaining the same level of professionalism that co workers do should get you through social events or visitation pickups.
Stick to the Children
Eventually the new spouse and the former spouse may begin speaking comfortably with each other at school events or when the children are being picked up or dropped off. Though it might be tempting to discuss other things, it is best to keep discussions centered on the children. Gossiping or discussing the mutual spouse is best avoided. The spouse, especially if he or she is not there, may feel that they are being talked about in a negative manner. Also, gossiping might cause one or both parties to disclose information, accidentally causing problems and stress for the adults or children.
Do Not Agree to Additional Parenting Time
The new stepparent might be eager to spend as much time with their stepchildren as possible, but it is important that their bonding time occurs during scheduled visitation. While you might feel comfortable with your children seeing their stepparent outside of your former spouse’s parenting time, changes to your custody agreement can have far reaching implications. Child support payments and which parent claims the children as dependents on taxes is often determined in part by parenting time. Trying to help the new stepparent could lead to potentially expensive problems.
When to Contact an Attorney
While the remarriage of your former spouse might not immediately seem like a reason to consult an attorney, it might still be a good idea to contact a qualified family law attorney. Depending on your support and custody agreement, the income of the new spouse, where they relocate to, or other issues may need to be reviewed. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum have assisted in divorce cases involving children and can provide advice regarding parenting time or visitations in order to help your family and children adjust. With offices conveniently located in Alpharetta, Lawrenceville, Cummings, and Marietta, our law firm is able to assist you. Contact us today at 678-736-7700 to schedule a consultation to discuss your unique situation.