Modern Blended Families in Illinois

Helping Families in DuPage County through ReMarriage

In today's society, family dynamics are changing constantly. Divorces and remarriages create a new form of a nuclear family that includes stepparents, half-siblings and stepsiblings. One in every three households in America is a blended family according to the U.S. Census and approximately 1,300 blended families are formed every day.

Definition of "Blended Families"

Blended families are formed when a couple gets married bringing together children from previous relationships. Whether you call the family a stepfamily or blended family, this new dynamic presents challenges for all involved. While the term "blended family" may sound harmonious, merely calling a family blended does not create harmony. Blending two families together can be difficult and may take time to create the harmony that is implied by the name.

Some challenges for families merging together might include: differing parenting styles, discipline systems, social values and financial habits. While the couple separately was able to build a relationship and make decisions together incorporating the children to the relationship may make things more complicated. Each parent has to consider his or her children's needs and balance the differences between the parenting styles. The children need time to learn to interact with a stepparent or stepsibling. While the core relationship in a stepfamily is the new marriage, the whole family must be considered. A couple should have realistic expectations, work to effectively integrate their individual practices, and give everyone time to adjust to the transition.

Changes in Family Arrangements

When thinking of blended families, most individuals think of the Brady Bunch. But even the Brady Bunch scenario of parents living under one roof with their children from previous relationships has become less common. Now couples and their children are taking advantage of a wide array of options. Some examples include "nesters" whose children stay in the family home while the parents rotate in and out, or the "partial blenders" who are in a committed relationship together but maintain separate homes with their respective children.

The trend of couples choosing to live apart may be occurring for several reasons. For one, women are more financially independent and better able to support their own households. Parents also may be concerned about the potential for creating another loss in their children's lives if the new relationship does not survive. The parents may want to keep their children in a specific school district. There may be many other reasons that a parent believes that it is in their children's best interests to keep separate homes.

Parents choosing these types of arrangements may be onto something. Research indicates the well-being of children is not as much about having an intact family, but rather about the number of transitions children experience. These transitions might include moving into a new household, adjusting to a new step-parent or sibling.

Considerations of Divorcing Couples

If you are facing divorce and considering what the best custody arrangement, parenting plan or living situation may be for your children, contact an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer can discuss with you all the available options and help you determine which may fit best for your family. The family law attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group can discuss with you in detail the divorce process, your parenting options and help you better understand the changing dynamics in your family.

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