Law Offices of Matthew S. Schultz, P.C.

Adding stepparents to the family

Co-parenting after a divorce is not always easy. This is especially true after one or both exes remarry. Arizona residents might appreciate tips for navigating divorce, children and new relationships.

Figuring out where a new spouse fits into a family structure can be difficult. Stepparents must be mindful about boundaries, and parents must accept that stepparents are part of a co-parenting arrangement. Typically, it is appropriate for a new spouse to be involved in decisions regarding everyday life even if not included in major decisions. This is because a stepparent is likely to be around for much of a child's daily life.

It is often easiest for children to refer to stepparents by their first name. This is one of many things to discuss with kids after a parent remarries. Being open and upfront about what is expected helps ease confusion, and communication and honesty should be encouraged from everyone involved.

There are some limits to open communication. Namely, any negativity should be kept away from the children. Children love both of their parents and face conflict when feeling the need to choose sides. Parents should not say anything bad about a stepparent and vice versa. When the whole family is together, adults need to make an effort to get along.

Routine and consistency often help children adjust to life after divorce. This means everyone should follow a schedule when possible. While not absolutely everything has to be the same in both homes, it may be better to have similar rules.

After a divorce, some child custody plans are more flexible while others are rigid. If both parents can work together, this may offer everyone more freedom. However, parents may not be able to do this immediately. Counseling or mediation may be necessary in order for parents to get along and focus on their children.

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Law Offices of Matthew S. Schultz

401 W. Baseline Road, Suite 203 Tempe, AZ 85283 Phone: 480-900-6032 Map & Directions