Divorce and Blended Families: Legal Rights and Co-Parenting Challenges
Navigating co-parenting during and immediately after a divorce is a major challenge for many parents. Even if the divorce was mutual and obviously in everyone’s best interests, figuring out how to share your child is a learning process. It gets even more complicated when one or both parents remarry and have to learn how to co-parent while in blended families.
No matter where you are in your co-parenting journey, having the help of an experienced family law attorney in Pensacola makes the entire process easier. Call Crystal Collins Spencer at 850-912-8080 to set up a consultation with our team now.
Co-parenting can bring a number of issues to the surface, each of which you must work through with your co-parent. These range in severity from complete disagreements regarding the parenting schedule to minor spats about where the child’s favorite toys stay. Some of the issues you may need to work through include:
- General expectations regarding communication
- Conflicting parenting styles
- Helping the child overcome the trauma of the divorce
- When one parent requests a change in schedule to accommodate an event or obligation
- The role of stepparents in the child’s life and in parenting
- Disputes over schooling, medical care, and religion
The good news is that you’ll likely work through these and other issues as part of the divorce process. This means that even if these issues do crop up again, you’ll at least have a solid foundation to return to as you discuss them again.
Navigating Life as a Blended Family
Being part of a blended family can be an amazing experience for a child. Having more caring adults in a child’s life gives them a strong sense of support and security, so it’s in the parents’ and stepparents’ best interests to make the blended family environment a positive one. It’s not uncommon for new issues to arise when one parent remarries. The other parent may feel replaced in their child’s life, worry about the stepparent taking over their role, or feel that the stepparent will try to take on too much responsibility for the child.
It’s important to navigate this change with open and honest communication. Many parents feel better when they get to meet their child’s new stepparent early in the process. In many cases, this is enough to show the parent that the new stepparent will add to the child’s life—not take away from the parent’s role in it.
You may run across disputes or arguments that you simply cannot solve via communication. In these cases, you may want to bring in an expert. If the other parent is overstepping your parenting rights or attempting to interfere with your family, you may want to bring in an attorney to help you assert your rights. If the arguments aren’t causing legal issues but are damaging the co-parenting relationship, you might consider consulting a family therapist.
Whether you’ve remarried, your ex-spouse has remarried, or you both have remarried, it’s important to remember that you are both on the same side. You both want what is best for your child, and remarriage doesn’t change that. Try to focus on the fact that remarriage gives your child more adults they can rely on for guidance and support. Some strategies that can help you and your co-parent reach a happy, stable place include:
- Discuss your parenting plan in great detail and make important decisions before issues arise.
- Focus on making your co-parenting relationship a positive one that allows your child to feel safe and supported.
- Rely on community resources that help you both be better parents for your child.
- Agree on a dispute resolution plan that you can use when disagreements arise.
- Agree on when, where, and why you should communicate—for example, only discussing issues related to your child, utilizing a co-parenting communication app, and sticking to emergency issues only on the other parent’s time.
Get the Help You Need with Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorney at Law
We know that this time can be overwhelming, but you do not have to figure it out alone. With the team at Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorney at Law, you can get the legal support you need. Give us a call at 850-912-8080 or send us a message online to set up a consultation now.