Overcoming the Legal Challenges of a Blended Family

Gavel on Family Law document -Title: Overcoming the Legal Challenges of a Blended Family

Successful families require an abundance of blending, scrambling, and often muddling through a host of delicate personal issues. With a blended family there are complicated relationships and individual differences to overcome.

Blended families are remarkable for everybody involved; if only they worked better.

Unfortunately, statistics do not back up the success of blended families. 70% of all blended marriages involving children end in divorce. Traditional marriages have a 40% failure rate. So many questions arise with this unique type of family interaction.

Blended families work well when everybody in the process works together. The following post highlights a few of the legal challenges these wonderful family structures must go through. 

Children in blended families are the primary concern for everyone. They have so many questions and the step-parents and biological parents must step-up and do their jobs.

  • Paternity, a profound legal concept in Florida
  • Answers for New Stepparents
  • Can a stepparent get custody of my child?
  • Children and Your New Blended Family
  • Custody
  • Final Thoughts

Blended families have a lot of moving parts that must work together to be successful. These incredible families involve stepparents, stepkids, siblings, stepgrandparents and more.

Florida implements one of the most profound concepts for any family blended or otherwise, Paternity!

Callout 1- Family Law doc Text: Paternity of a Child

Paternity of a Child

One of the most important legal concepts in Florida is the one for Paternity. Hunter Law is the premier group in Florida with extensive knowledge of this doctrine. If parents or stepparents need answers, contact one of the skilled attorneys at Hunter Law, call (813) 287-2227.

In Florida, a child deserves to have a legal father and Paternity is fatherhood. Florida sets specific ways to establish paternity, for the satisfaction of the courts. 

  • Both parents are married to each other at the time of birth of the child
  • At the hospital, the birth certificate is signed by the father
  • After the child is born, the birth mother remarries, and the birth records are updated at Florida Office of Vital Statistics
  • Administrative order proves fatherhood by genetic testing
  • A court order establishes fatherhood

A child deserves the benefit that comes with paternity. A father can lose all rights to the child if their paternity is not clearly defined. Most importantly, Paternity gives the child a family. 

Answers for New Stepparents

There is always angst when a parent meets someone special after divorce. Questions arise on whether your ex-spouse should be told or not. It is important to remember, your ex-spouse does not control your life. 

What is important are the children. Remember this.

Introducing new love interests into your child’s life to avoid upheaval may be a short term solution. You are entitled to remarry with all the different parts of a blended family. And when you decide to remarry, everything changes.

Callout 3- judge looking at wooden family- Text: Blended families bring new complex dynamics

Can A Stepparent Get Custody of My Child

Courts across the land always try to keep children with their biological parents. However, if the parents are unable or unwilling to care for the child, a stepparent may ask the court to intervene and seek custody of the child.

In the event of a divorce, stepparents have limited child custody rights under Florida law. Another harsh reality, if the legal parents decide to cut off a child’s relationship with the stepparent, there is little recourse.

  • Under Florida Statutes 63.042, only by becoming a child’s legal parent can step parents have the rights to the child no matter what transpires in the future of the blended marriage.

No, this is not complicated.

Let Hunter Law explain your rights under the Florida Statutes Call (813) 287-2227

Children and Your Blended Family

Why do so many blended families end up in divorce court or simply fail? Family experts are in full agreement; there are false expectations and an unwillingness to work on tough issues. 

Step-parents serve a key role in blended families; however, they have no legal rights over the child from a legal viewpoint. 

  • A stepparent cannot make any legal decision for the child and will not be given automatic visitation rights if the new marriage ends in divorce.

Blended families generate an enormous amount of opinions from everyone. However, the final say on decisions regarding the welfare of the child falls on the co-parents. 

Children are the key to a successful blended marriage.

Marriages without children end in divorce 41% of the time. Once children are introduced that number jumps to over 60%. Not only do the parents face complex legal issues, children of blended families are thrown into convoluted situations they are not prepared to deal with.

Children find themselves in an intermingled structure, which means having to share their parents and their stuff. Children could face moving, losing friends, changing schools, and losing their sense of security.

Callout 2- judge looking at wooden family=Text: Custody

Custody 

Florida protects the interest of the child at all costs. Judges will look at the child’s life to see what the least measure of emotional turmoil is to the child.

  • Florida Judges use the legal interpretation of “best interest of the child” to determine who gains custody in divorce actions. 

Blended families bring new complex dynamics into play and may create a tension-filled atmosphere fueled by emotion and the stepparent’s authority. Additional conflict can happen with the outside biological parent. 

From a legal point of view, it is wise to discuss the ramifications with everyone involved and create strategies to make a move easier. 

  • Previously divorced parents and any custody agreements should continue to be followed to avoid violating court orders.

Divorce cases and new blended families become progressively complex when adding in different states from the original divorce.

  • If the new blended family moves to Florida, custody arrangements and any specific court orders from the original divorce state must be recognized. 

Contact the Family Law Group at Hunter Law and its team of skilled Attorneys. Hunter Law can handle any Florida custody agreement, to the satisfaction of all parties. Call (813) 287-2227

Visitation is the right of every parent after a divorce. It is a good idea to establish a cordial and respectful relationship with everyone involved. Remember, children are what is important, not whether you get along with an ex-spouse. If everyone works together for the child, future conflicts can be avoided.

Blended parents want their family to succeed; however, they cannot ignore the rights of the original parent. 

  • To ensure the court approves any custody changes, have your Attorney at Hunter Law involved in the process from the beginning.

Callout 4- gavel on Family Law document - Text: Final Thoughts with 4 bullet points

Blended Family Final Thoughts

Legal challenges to this extraordinary structure of a family should be handled early in the relationship with everyone involved, at the very least start the conversation. Do not expect to be the Brady Bunch overnight. (OMG if you do not know of the Brady Bunch)

  • Be patient! 
  • Set reasonable goals. Success is not assured, automatic, and cannot be forced. Give everyone time to develop an honest relationship.
  • Be aware of your own emotions. If a parent is too outwardly focused, personal fears and perceptions can be overlooked. Make your commitment to each other a priority.

Legal issues of any family structure should always be addressed as early as possible.  Children make the progression to success more demanding. When two people and their children create a new family, the additional responsibilities, and opinions of everyone must be considered.

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