YUMA, Arizona. According to Bloomberg, among couples over age 55 who
have adult children, 33 percent have stepchildren. As more people get divorced
and remarried, the chances of having an extended family have also grown
significantly. More of the people we consider kin are not always our biological
parents or children. However, when families grow and change, individuals might
struggle to understand their obligations to their stepchildren. In fact, some
extended families report facing challenges when considering how to divide
resources among biological and stepchildren. The children don’t have to be
underage to be a challenge. Adult children can also pose challenges, especially
if children need money for college or health care. Adult children may also
struggle with the responsibility. Should you care for a stepparent the same way
you’d care for a parent?
If you are divorced and considering getting remarried, it is important to talk about your
obligations to the step kids before you tie the knot. For example, divorced
individuals may already have a responsibility to pay child support to support
their biological children. Will a new spouse expect the parent to also support
the stepchildren? In some cases, the boundaries are clear: a parent might
choose to adopt his or her spouse’s children. In this case, the children will
be legally considered his or hers along with all financial obligations.
However, if this doesn’t happen, things can get complicated and confusing. For example,
if you and your new partner are combining finances, it might be wise to talk
about how money will be spent on children and stepchildren. What about child
According to the Huffington Post , if you plan to be a part of an
extended family, it is important to discuss financial matters early and openly.
If you are planning to get married, but have child support obligations or if
there will be stepchildren, it is important to discuss expectations about the
children. For example, if the stepchildren come to you for money, how should
this be handled? Will you be expected to pay for childcare? Do you expect your
spouse to contribute to your children’s college fund? Does your spouse have to
pay child support and how will that impact your budget? When both parents are
the biological parents of the children, these questions are hard enough. When
you have a blend of biological children and stepchildren, these questions can
be even tougher.
Finally, it might be best to put everything in writing, especially if you don’t plan to
adopt the stepchildren. When everyone has a clear expectation going into the
relationship, there is less likely to be confusion and conflict later.
If you are thinking about getting remarried, if your new partner has children, or if you
are struggling to balance paying for stepchildren and your child support, you
may want to speak to a qualified divorce lawyer in Yuma, Arizona
like Schneider & Onofry, P.C. Our attorneys can review your circumstances and help you find a solution that works for your family. Visit us at https://www.soarizonalaw.com/