Second Marriages & Blended Families
Considerations for Second Marriages & Blended Families
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 between 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.
We have provided this informational page for anyone that is entering into a second marriage or blending a family in the Denver metro area. Creating a blended family or entering into a second marriage has its own set of concerns and considerations. Giving some attentions to the suggestions below from our divorce attorney could help you avoid unwanted surprises or consequence to your new wife and/or children from a previous relationship.
There is no legal definition of a blended family that a lawyer could provide, but it is what your common sense tells you. Blended families are those where one or both spouses have children from a prior relationship and may also have a child/children together. The age of the children may matter in some of the below considerations.
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
We don’t want to loose you, but thinking proactively about what would happen to your children can alleviate the unknown and ensure your wishes are upheld. It may be beneficial to you to consult with both a divorce attorney and probate attorney to determine the best path for you to ensure your wishes are upheld. A divorce attorney can provide information on rights of stepparents, grandparents, and/or other important family members in the event of your death. A probate attorney can provide information on what would happen in the event of your death and how to best make arrangements for your estate.
- Step-Parent Adoption
You and your new spouse may want to proceed with a step-parent adoption, which is the legal process by which a step-parent can become the legal parent of the child. All jurisdictions in Colorado and Denver have a procedure to allow a spouse who is not the biological parent to adopt children from a prior marriage.
This process requires, among other findings, the adoption would be in the best interest of the child. A lawyer can help you through the legal aspects of a step-parent adoption. Even if a step-parent adoption is granted, if the process is not done according to the statute, it could be chellenged later by the other biological parent and/or other family members.
- Parenting time with all sibling
It may be necessary to revise any current parenting time and schedules to ensure that all siblings, even step-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. You may consider hiring a divorce attorney to help you explain your request to the other parent, especially if there is a high amount of conflict between you and the other parent.
- Geographical considerations
If you share parenting time with your ex-spouse, you may not be able to leave the Colorado or Denver and still exercise the same parenting time with your children. This is regardless if you are the primary parent. Once a court has entered orders on the children’s home state and location, neither parent is allowed to move with the children without the other parent’s agreement or a court order. Please see more in Relocation with Children.
- 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. This includes property located in Colorado, Denver, or another state. You can by agreement, designated property as separate or joint. This is typically a consideration where there is a family owned businesses or where one or both party has significant property acquired before the marriage. You may consider drafting a pre-nuptial agreement; however there are limits of what can be included in a pre-nuptial agreement. This should be reviewed or written by a divorce attorney to ensure accuracy and enforceability.
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.
It is recommend to talk to your future spouse about these issues and if you feel that it is complicated, consult with a divorce 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 lawyers at the Schmidt Law Group, P.C., we will be your navigator through some of these complicated issues. Call us today at (303) 747-4686 or click here to request an appointment.