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How to Overcome the Legal and Mental Struggles of Step-Parenting

One of the toughest and most groundbreaking decisions you will ever do in your life is getting married again after a divorce. It becomes even more challenging when your new would-be spouse has children from their previous marriage.

But this case is not new. Based on 2019 research, the number of remarriages has been rising ever since 2013. From the overall weddings conducted in the USA, the amount of weddings for the remarriage couple is 40%.

Although the percentage is high, it doesn’t mean you can get over it.

There will be a lot of internal struggles. It involves legal issues, financial issues, and most importantly, psychological issues with your spouse’s children. There are various reasons for someone to remarry, and your existence is the answer for their reasons.

Nevertheless, the journey of becoming the second parent will be rough. Thus, make sure that you are ready to face the challenges.

Legal Issues

Marrying a child’s biological mother or father will not grant you a parental responsibility legally.

You may develop a close relationship with your stepchildren, you watch them grow, and you take care of them just like their biological parents.

Yet, when it comes to consent forms, you don’t have the authority to sign them. In some cases, the consent form may not be a big deal if it is a mere school admission form. But when it is about a medical emergency, you will feel the need to have parental responsibility to save your stepchildren’s life.

Thus, you have to carry out a second-parent adoption. It will not grant you a higher position than your children’s non-resident biological parent, but it will grant you an equal position.

You have to obtain signed consent from both of the children’s biological parents, or anyone with Parental Responsibility for the kids. Perhaps, you will face the struggle in obtaining consent from the children’s non-resident parent. It is because they will feel marginalized from their previous family if they give consent.

The second issue is a condition when the second-parent adoption is unavailable within your state. To get through this process, you will need an experienced family law attorney. The professionals will guide you and prevent you from making any mistake. They will help you choose the best way to settle if you encounter any problems in the process.

Make your legal move now before it is too late.

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Step-Parenting Struggles

The most common struggle when marrying someone with a child (or more) is getting yourself accepted as a part of their family. Many children with divorced parents wished for reunification. And your presence in their family might be seen as the barrier that prevents their parents from a reconciliation.

Maybe you will see that your spouse is trying so hard to make the children accept you. But you have to know that it needs time.

Children’s Mental Health

While the experts suggest for a broken home kid to live with a step-parent, they might feel stressed over a new family structure. They need a new authoritative figure and having another caregiver (or financial support) to maintain their life. But the kids with step-parents tend to get bullied at school.

You have to take care of your children’s mental health. Refrain from forcing them to accept you immediately. Let them take their time and provide emotional support for the children. You have to set boundaries first before getting closer little by little.

Non-Resident Biological Parent

The risk of marrying a single parent is having to share the past of your spouse and stepchildren with someone else. You will hear your spouse or your stepchildren comparing you with the previous parent. It might make you feel uncomfortable at first, and if it is too much for you to endure, let your spouse know. Talk to them about your feelings.

The other things that you have to accept are the moments of your stepchildren. You will be sharing the graduation, birthdays, and maybe the marriage of your stepchildren with their non-resident biological parent. You have to accept their presence even though it may feel awkward for you. Nevertheless, they played a part in your spouse and your stepchildren’s past.

Remarriage brings new hope for the family. They may still hurt from the previous marriage. Or suffer from the traumatic events of their past family. But remarriage is a symbol that they believe their life will be better. They have learned from their past mistakes and ready to start a new life.

Therefore, it takes time to rebuild the family. Let the time heals the wounds, and you have to be supportive of each other. There would be some issues from the previous marriage. It needs perseverance and patients for the family to untangle the problems and solve them together.

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