Stepfamilies – keeping in contact with your ex’s children
National Stepfamily Day on 16th September recognises all the blended families making it work. Gone are the days when marriage was a lifelong institution despite general unhappiness, abuse and/or the perception of society. With a high proportion of marriages now ending in divorce, this raises the prospect of more families being comprised of stepparents and/or stepchildren and a rise in the stepfamily unit. Making a stepfamily takes hard work, trust and patience; it is hugely important to acknowledge the contribution of the stepfamily since it serves an important and increasingly relevant function in society today, especially when many stepparents adopt the role of the actual parent.
So where does this leave the stepparent in the event of a divorce or separation from their spouse or civil partner?
This will largely depend on whether the child has been treated as a ‘child of the family.’ A child or children of the family is a legal term and would encompass a stepparent and child relationship. A lot will depend on the ages of any children. If a child is older and in their teenage years, it may be that they choose to vote with their feet and maintain their relationship with their stepparent. If the child is younger, and an agreement cannot be reached with the former spouse, then the stepparent may need to consider an application for a Child Arrangements Order.
If you require support or guidance on the issues highlighted in this post, or generally on divorce and the issues faced by separating parents, do not hesitate to contact email@example.com. Naheed is Head of Family at Calibrate Law.
This post is intended to be a brief note for clients and other interested parties. The information is believed to be correct at the date of publication but should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice.