Blended families seem to be on the rise as divorced individuals find new love and put families together. One of the biggest challenges in this scenario is children/stepchildren. Their presence in a family can add financial and emotional complications.
When any couple decides to marry, communication about blended family finances is important to the long term health of the relationship but when children from a previous marriage are involved, it is essential for survival. Whether you are pondering getting married and blending a family or have already done so, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Begin with understanding: Paul Golden, manager of marketing and communications at the National Endowment for Financial Education advises, “being open and honest about financial situations, credit history, accounts, debts, assets, retirement funds, and any financial obligations from a previous relationship that may include alimony and child support.” If you are unsure about how the details will play out in the new family, spend some time with a divorce lawyer who can clarify any terms of the divorce that may change as a result of the new marriage.
- Continue to communicate: Communicating before and after the wedding is critical to running a household so set a regular time for discussing financial issues. If you and your partner know there is a consistent time designated for this, it will likely reduce the times when small issues ignite into a big financial argument. Schedule a Personalized Family Law Assessment With an Attorney Today!
- Set Boundaries: Imagine how you might react to a variety of scenarios with stepchildren and communicate your boundaries. What will you do, for example, if your stepdaughter asks you for a little cash to go to the mall? If you and your spouse have decided what the response will be, you will present a united front, reducing her need to “work the system” between the two of you and hopefully suppress any resentment you might feel for taking on financial responsibilities that you had not intended.
- Make a plan: Having a financial plan is fundamental to making a blended household run smoothly. It can take some of the emotional angst out of the equation when you’ve planned how to say no to children. Conversations with an ex-spouse may need to be a part of the plan. Hopefully, with conversation and planning, everyone will be on the same page for various expenses.
Blending a family is often charged up with emotional and financial fires. But following some of these basic steps can bring some peace and ensure responsible for a family’s financial obligations.