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Blended families often encounter child custody issues

On Behalf of | Jan 28, 2024 | Family Law

Perhaps it has been some time since you finalized a divorce in Arizona, or you have never been married but are in a relationship with someone who has been or is now ready to take things to the next level. If children are involved on either side of the equation, getting married means creating a blended family, which can be simultaneously wonderful yet stressful. Blended families often encounter issues regarding child custody, which may be difficult to resolve if one or more of the adults in question are not cooperative.A key to success for blended family parenting after a divorce is to be respectful of each person’s status within the family. It also helps to set some boundaries and lay a few ground rules as everyone adapts to a new lifestyle. This includes agreements between adults and children, as well as current and former spouses.  

Child custody issues may arise if a biological parent feels threatened 

It takes time to adjust to the idea of one’s children gaining a stepparent after a divorce. This is especially true for a noncustodial parent when the stepparent is living with the children full-time. To avoid child custody problems, it is imperative for a stepparent to acknowledge the noncustodial biological parent’s rights and authority in the children’s lives.  

Whether you’re the biological parent or stepparent, it’s wise to recommend writing out a detailed agreement regarding important child custody issues. Such issues may include transferring custody (Is the biological parent okay with the stepparent carrying it out?), as well as matters of privacy (Can a parent or stepparent show up, unannounced?) and discipline. The more you get in writing ahead of time, the less room there is for disputes later.  

Biological children versus stepchildren 

Another issue that can cause problems in a blended family after divorce is favoritism. Whether real or imagined, if a stepchild feels that parents are favoring biological children or placing a biological child’s needs before their own or vice versa, serious relationship problems may arise. Legal issues may be the cause of such situations. For example, if the adults agreed that a stepparent will not punish the biological parent’s kids, the biological children might feel like discipline is one-sided in the household. 

Resolving custody problems in a blended family 

Child custody problems may also arise between a pair of former spouses if one parent feels like his or her ex is prioritizing a new family over the children they share together. A parent who is disregarding terms of agreement in a child custody plan due to responsibilities in his or her new family can trigger problems. 

If a parent has agreed to meet to transfer custody at a certain time and place but keeps not showing up because of obligations to the new family, this can create legal issues regarding an existing court order. When child custody problems arise in a blended family, it is helpful to seek outside support to resolve the issue as swiftly and peacefully as possible.