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Don't let a stepparent mess up your custody plan

When you and your spouse divorced, you became former spouses; however, you didn't become former parents. You're still parents of the same children, and that means you and your ex will always have a connection in that sense. One or both of you might remarry. If that happens, you may encounter numerous challenges as your kids adapt to having a stepparent. It's natural that they might see a remarriage as a betrayal at first. It takes time to adapt to new lifestyles.

Unfortunately, many families run into trouble when a new stepparent somehow causes impediment to an existing child custody or visitation arrangement. Perhaps, your ex's new spouse wants to have weekends alone as a married couple without your kids. Maybe you feel that your ex has been alienating you from your kids ever since you remarried. If legal quandaries arise, there are resources available to help you rectify the problem.

Help your kids adapt to a new family dynamic

Life goes on, and while divorce definitely prompts change, it doesn't necessarily have to cause permanent, negative consequences. The following list contains ideas that may help ease your kids' transition into accepting a stepparent in their lives:

  • Remind your child that you and your co-parent divorced but the two of you are their parents and always will be.
  • If you're the one who remarried, it might be a good idea to spend a lot of time alone with your children. They might worry that you don't want them around anymore and spending time with you may help convince them that their new stepparent is not a threat to your relationship with them.
  • Meet together as adults with your ex and any stepparent involved. Discuss the ground rules regarding parental authority and how much input you want or don't want from the non-biological parents.
  • If you think your ex's new spouse is driving a wedge between you and your kids or is somehow trying to override or undermine the well-functioning system you have in place as co-parents, speaking to your ex privately about the matter might be the first logical step to take.

Remarriages can complicate divorce issues. If you and your co-parent can stay focused on your children's best interests, things should be fine. However, if you're unable to amicably discuss a problem or you feel that someone has violated your parental rights, you may want to seek the court's intervention to help resolve the issue.

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