Blended Family/Second Marriages
Special Considerations for Second and Subsequent Marriages
We have provided this informational page for people that are entering into second and subsequent marriages or blending a family. Creating a blended family and entering into a second marriage has its own set of concerns. Following the suggestions below could help you and your spouse set the stage for a happy and healthy marriage. Anytime a couple is embarking on a new journey, I recommend looking at the boring but necessary legal effect of that journey.
There is no legal definition of a blended family, but it is what your common sense tells you. It is when you enter in into a marriage where one or both of the parties have children from a prior relationship or marriage and possible have children together as well. The age of the children may matter in some of the below considerations. For example, older children may not need as much protection as younger children.
If you are entering into a marriage and you have children from a prior relationship, you may want to consider the following:
- Effect of your death
You must realize the impact or effect on your current children in the unlikely event that you pass away unexpectedly. We don’t want to loose you, but you must ensure that your wishes for your children’s wellbeing are completed. This may include separate funded accounts for your children’s future such as education, cars, weddings, or ensuring that your new spouse is still in your children’s life.
- Step-Parent Adoption
You and your new spouse may want to proceed with a step-parent adoption. This is the legal process by which a step-parent can become the legal parent of the child. This process does require, among other findings, that he adoption would be in the best interest of the child.
- Parenting time with all siblings
It may be necessary to revise any current parenting time and schedules to ensure that all siblings have the ability to spend time together. If your current parenting plan does not address this, we recommend contacting the other parent to try and negotiate for time that would allow the siblings to spend time together and bond.
- Separating assets and debts
Finally, you may want to consider what if any classification to give to your own separate property before entering into the marriage. You can agree to keep some property just yours and other property as held together. This is typically a consideration in a family owned businesses or where one or both party has significant property ownership. You may consider drafting a pre-nuptial agreement.
If you are reading this and have already entered into a marriage and feel that your opportunity is gone- fear not, you may qualify for a post-nuptial agreement.
Marriages are hard. The art of blending families is even harder. It involves integrating existing schedules, deciding on whether to combine or exclude assets and debts, trying to create harmony amongst the children, and slipping into your new roles as a stepparent. Taking a little time in considering assets, debts, and children can reduce the stress that you may feel during the marriage and set you on a track for a successfully marriage.
I recommend talking to your future spouse about these issues and if you feel that it is complicated, consult with an attorney. If you are entering into a second marriage or are “blending” a new family- we can provide you with the advice that you need for your specific situation.
No two families or family dynamics are the same. When you contact, the Law Offices of Laurie A. Schmidt, P.C., will be your expert navigator through this complicated time. Call us today at (303) 747-4686 or click here to request an appointment.