Blended families are increasingly common, especially as many parents bypass marriage altogether. Whether parents split through divorce or legal separation, their family’s classification as blended can cause unique complications. Below, we examine some of the most common issues Minnesota parents face when divorcing for the second or third time:

Custody And Visitation

For blended families, arrangements regarding parenting time are rarely straightforward — especially when stepchildren are involved. If you or your spouse brought children from another relationship into your marriage, visitation and custody are by no means guaranteed following divorce. In resolving these issues, courts consider whether the stepparent has legally adopted his or her stepchildren — and whether visitation would be in the children’s best interests. Petitioners must demonstrate clear emotional ties that reflect parent-child relationships. Furthermore, petitioning stepparents must prove that visitation rights would not harm the child’s relationship with his or her biological parents.

Child Support

In addition to impacting visitation arrangements, second or third divorces can hold significant financial implications — namely, in regards to child support. Minnesota courts may take into account both children from the currently dissolving marriage and those from previous relationships. Parentage and step-parentage also play a critical role; stepparents may owe child support if they have legally adopted their stepchildren.

Given the complexity of divorce in blended families, it is absolutely imperative that you work with a skilled family lawyer. Whether your primary concerns involve child custody, visitation, or support, your attorney can help you arrive at the best possible outcome for both you and your family — no matter its size or scope.

Whether you’re on your first, second, or third divorce, the team at the Brown Law Offices can help. Get in touch today to learn more about our approach to blended family divorces.

 

While it’s not often talked about, divorce can be just as traumatic for a blended family as it is for any other family. Tight bonds often form between half-siblings, as well as between children and step-parents, all of which can make splitting up a blended family very painful for all involved. To complicate things even further, many times the children in a blended family have already been through a divorce with their biological parents, so the mesh of extended family is now even more complex. If you’re in the process of divorce within a blended family, here are some tips for keeping things as clean, composed and civil as possible for the sake of all involved.

Don’t Fight in Front of Children

No matter how severe the rift between you and your ex, keep it between the two of you. Involving your children or step-children in your disagreements only puts unfair pressure on them to divide their loyalties and take sides.

Be on the Same Page with your Ex Regarding the Split

As far as breaking the news to your kids, explaining the reasons for the divorce and how the split will take place, both of you need to present a united front. When the parents have different versions of what is happening, it only adds to the confusion and pain.

Encourage Open Dialogue

Just as with any other divorce involving children, the kids should have the freedom to ask questions, express emotions and process what is happening. This open dialogue is all the more important with a blended family because the children aren’t just processing a split between two biological parents; they’re processing a possible separation between half-siblings themselves. If tight bonds have been formed, the pain is likely to be more acute.

Encourage Ongoing Relationships

When a blended family is established and new relationships form, those relationships should not be jeopardized or cut off just because you and your spouse are separating. Stress to the children that even though they may not be living together in the same house anymore, they are free to maintain friendships and relationship with each other and with their step-parents, if they so desire.