Practical questions to consider before forming a stepfamily
You need to consider a number of practical issues when you re-marry or enter into another relationship, and form a stepfamily.
- Legal - Are you clear about your legal position when you re-marry? For example the responsibilities of a step-parent towards his or her stepchildren? Or the effect of re-marriage on a previously made Will? It is advisable to speak to a legal professional regarding this.
- Housing - How much space will you need? What are the views of the children about sharing a room with a stepbrother or stepsister with whom they hardly know? This may be a practical solution, but that does not make it easy or acceptable. Would it be easier if you had a new start in a new home? Is that possible and would that be the best use of your finances?
- Finances - What are your costs going to be? How will re-marriage or re-partnering affect income from sources such as social security benefits or maintenance by a former partner? How will you manage your finances so that no member of the new family will feel disadvantaged? How will you meet your commitment to children of your previous marriage/relationship? Speaking to a financial consultant will help you with information regarding these issues.
Second marriages and stepfamilies can be exciting and rewarding for their members. But there is no magic, and a number of challenges will need to be faced.
Allow time, and discuss things as openly as you can.
Relationships Australia Queensland run courses that deal with issues such as living in a blended family. Find out about these courses in your area in the Education section of this website.
If you are unsure whether to proceed with re-marriage, or if you are finding things heavy going after you have taken that step, consider talking to a counsellor.
A counsellor's experience of the challenges and difficulties of re-marriage and stepfamilies could be of great help to you. It makes more sense than ignoring the difficulties and hoping for the best.