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Parenting & Divorce

The reality of divorce is that you are separated from your children for periods of time, and they are separated from you. Their reaction to this change in their life is the most important part of divorce. Divorce affects children for the rest of their lives, and how you, as their parents, decide how to relate and get along determines how well they do.

What you need to know:

Co-Parenting : The reality of divorce is that you are separated from your children for periods of time, and they are separated from you. Their reaction to this change in their life is the most important part of divorce.

Decisions & Negotiations: To negotiate about a project or task and to make a decision about the things families normally discuss such as vacations, money, activities, church, moving etc. are some of the same things you will be doing after divorce.

Commitment: The marriage relationship changes to a parent relationship and the obligations change from the spouse to the children, the commitment is focused on the needs of the children, not the needs of the spouse.

Bonding & Re-Bonding: Parenting after divorce involves re-bonding with your child. Re-bonding or reconnecting may be considered a new concept, but it has happened throughout time.

Healing: Each of you as parents will need to heal, as will your children. It takes different periods of time for each of you. Humans heal from horrible situations over time.
Stepparenting:
Stepparenting: Often Time a Struggle: The Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It to Beaver conception of family life that many Americans cherish as the model of domestic life now gives way to the Brady Bunch -- the stepfamily, or the blended family, as it is called.

A Mixed Picture of Whether the Children Benefit: Penn State Professor Paul Amato describes the contours of stepfamily living. In his paper "The Impact of Family Formation Change on the Cognitive, Social, and Emotional Well-being of the Next Generation," Amato writes: "Adding a stepfather to the household usually improves children's standard of living.

Unrealistic Assumptions by Stepparents and Stepchildren: "Both adults and children in stepfamilies generally have unrealistic expectations, particularly at the beginning," writes Mary Ann Aronsohn in "Stepfamily Life: Hope and Help for Making It Work," a publication of the Coalition for Collaborative Divorce.

Considerations for Stepparenting: Very few couples contemplating a second marriage that create a stepfamily understand the complexities of stepparenting. From day one, stepfamilies start out different in a myriad of ways, and the nuclear family model two biological parents does not fit them. Aronsohn catalogues the key differences this way.

The Dilemmas of Stepparenting: Many children and adolescents bring unresolved losses into their stepfamily. If these losses increase, children and adolescents may get depressed or act out against authority, which can lead to school adjustment difficulties.

Stepparenting Requires a "Learns As You" Approach: Society provides limited reasonable expectations for stepfamilies, says Aronsohn. "Stepparents find themselves learning as they proceed, since there no guides for step parenting.

Limited Child Support for Steppchildren: A stepparent has no legal obligation to support a stepchild under common law; however, twenty states (Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont and Washington) have statutes requiring a stepparent to support stepchildren.

Visitation Rights of Stepparents: Courts sometimes award stepparents visitation rights based on the "best interest" standard that dominates child custody and welfare decisions. Twenty-three of the 50 states statutorily authorize stepparent visitation.

Stepparent Adoption: Sometimes stepparents want to adopt their stepchildren, but this process is very difficult because unless the natural parent consents courts are very reluctant to separate biological parents and children.

Second Parent Adoption: Increasingly, some couples turn to what is called second parent adoption, which permits a same-sex parent to adopt a partner's biological or adoptive child without terminating the legal rights of the first parent.
Related Articles:
Practical Tips on Parental Conduct During and Following Divorce
Don't Divorce The Children
Testimony of Your Child
Divorce and Holidays: Don't Fowl Out
Good Communication During Divorce is Critical For Children
Many More Articles:
Custody & Visitation Articles
Parental Alienation Articles
Related Tutorials:
Children & Divorce Tutorial
Related Checklists:
Child Behavior Checklist
Child Custody Checklist
Related Community Forums:
Parenting Issues
Children Issues
Custody & Visitation
Father's Issues
Mother's Issues
Grandparent Issues
Stepfamily Issues
Related Products:
On-line Parenting Education Class: Positive Parenting Through Divorce makes completing the state mediatory parenting classes fast and easy.

On-line Custody, Visitation & Support Tracking Tools: Keep track of visitation, conflicts, support payments, and create a documented account of all custody, visitation and support issues.

Parent/Child Psychological Evaluation: Psychological evaluations help you as a parent, understand how the separation or divorce is affecting your child by providing knowledge that will help you prevent your child or children from experiencing unnecessary emotional harm.

Parenting Agreements: Create legal binding agreements that both parties can live with.
Related Downloads:
How to Win Child Custody
The Father's Child Custody Handbook
The Mother's Child Custody Handbook
The Divorce Record Keeper
Interference-Grounds for Modification of Custody
The Rights & Responsibilities of Stepparents
Sibling Visitation Rights
Parent's Ability and Willingness to Cooperate
What Happens to the Marital Home Upon Divorce
Divorce Research Center (2000+ articles)
Related Books:
Mom's House, Dad's House
The Father's Child Custody Handbook
The Mother's Child Custody Handbook
The Divorce Record Keeper
Child Custody Strategies for Men & Women
What Every Woman Need to Know
Helping Your Children Cope With Divorce
Helping Children Cope - the Sandcastles Way
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