Divorce and Blended Families: Navigating a Second Divorce With Children From Your First Marriage

By Michael DiFalco
Partner

Co-parenting after a separation presents unique challenges. For blended families, parenting after a divorce can be even more difficult. Parents in these families have to consider not only the best interests of their shared children but also their ex-spouse’s existing family.

Therefore, successfully coordinating a separation while accommodating the needs of all the parties involved is a lot of work. However, you’re already at an advantage; at least one spouse has been through this process before. Still, this transition will require keen attention to detail and constant communication.

Communication Is Your Best Resource

Spouses who are planning a separation face major challenges. Couples must make several key decisions during this major life shake-up:

  • Decide to separate, divorce, or work on the relationship
  • Determine immediate and future living arrangements
  • Arrange custody of children fairly
  • Assess their prenuptial or postnuptial agreement (if applicable)
  • Divide up assets equitably
  • Negotiate child and spousal support

Coordinating a blended family divorce further complicates things, requiring effective communication in order to make discussions more productive. 

This communication makes a significant difference when you bring your children into the conversation. After all, there is no easy way to share the news of a separation with your children. Depending on their ages, they could be at vastly different stages of emotional maturity. 

With that being said, clarity and transparency will go a long way in maintaining a healthy blended family dynamic. Changes are unavoidable, but if parents communicate clearly, kids will have an easier time adapting to the transition. Starting the conversation earlier will give your kids more time to deal with the information.

Factoring in Previous Divorce Agreements

Remarried couples who are going through another divorce will need to review standing agreements from their previous marriages. These agreements may involve custody arrangements and ownership of properties and other assets. Clauses within these documents might mention events such as a new marriage or a new divorce. 

You and your family attorney must examine these agreements to fully understand if and how they will impact the divorce proceedings. Updating former agreements is a great way to limit complex and confusing circumstances during blended family divorces.

Child Custody and Support in a Blended Family Divorce

The most important factor in orchestrating custody for a blended family divorce is the dynamic between the stepparent and the child. The longer the relationship, the more time that the child has viewed their stepparent as a source of stability. 

Parents should also consider these elements:

  • The child’s relationships with stepsiblings and half-siblings
  • The child’s relationships with extended family members
  • The quality of current and potential school districts
  • The child’s extracurricular activities and other interests

In many cases, parents will make the final call on how they move forward. However, it’s vital to keep in mind the life you’ve built together and how the separation will impact each member of your family. Consider how time spent with one parent in a given location will affect each child’s immediate and long-term quality of life.

Your second divorce proceedings may differ from your first experience with divorce. Courts and mediators will make decisions regarding custody, child support, and spousal support based on a complete set of circumstances, and the laws and guidelines may have changed since your previous divorce. 

This makes it critically important to ensure all relevant information is presented during your case. The right legal representation can help you compile a fair case for your blended family divorce. 

How can I find a Garden City divorce attorney for blended families?

Blended families need a Garden City divorce attorney with experience, compassion, and integrity. Aiello & DiFalco has committed to serving the needs of families in Garden City, NY, for decades. Schedule a consultation to discuss your blended family’s distinct needs today.

About the Author
I am a partner at Aiello & DiFalco LLP, and my priority for my clients is to guide them through an arduous court case to provide them with the opportunity to write the next chapter in their life. I tailor my approach to each client’s priorities and positions, and to the extent that matters can be predicted, I will always provide a realistic perspective of how the law could be applied to the particular facts and circumstances of a case. Since I thrive on helping people and solving problems, I bring an optimistic and positive approach to practicing in a very difficult area of law. With more than a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, I have the ability to get results on the issues my clients view as priorities. When cases or certain issues cannot be settled, I have a solid record of success at trials, hearings, and on appeals. Feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation, I am always available to help.