Some men and women choose to remarry following divorce. When embarking on a new marriage, couples are well advised to discuss their future living and financial arrangements and how their marriage will impact their relationships.
Couples have to agree on where to live. Should they remain in one of their existing homes or start anew? There may be reluctance to leave the ‘family home’ or perhaps proximity to schools or work are factors. Oftentimes, starting in a new home, as opposed to residing in one of the partner’s prior residences is desirable because it becomes “the new marital home” allowing a fresh start to build upon.
How will you pay for expenses in your new marriage? Will you throw your money into a big pot or divvi up expenses as you go? As far as household money is concerned, couples reported higher satisfaction when they combined their incomes rather than keeping money separate. Discussing financial plans will go a long way in avoiding marital conflict. Make sure you and your new spouse are on the same page when it comes to money.
Remarriage can come with a few emotional hurdles too. It is important to be prepared to tackle feelings and concerns carried over from other relationships. Children may feel conflicted about the plans for remarriage knowing that there is no chance for reconciliation between their parents. Ex-spouses may react in negative ways upon learning of your plans to move on. Friends may need time to get acquainted with new people and settings that a new marriage can introduce. Anticipating and forming a constructive response will help your loved ones adjust to changes more easily.
If there are children involved, it is wise to discuss the role the step-parent will play in raising the new spouse’s kids and what rules should be established to keep things running smoothly. It is recommended that step-parents proceed slowly by approaching step-kids as more of a ‘camp-counselor’ friend instead of a disciplinarian. They can simply monitor the children’s behavior and activities, keeping their spouse informed until a solid bond has been established.
Kids of different ages respond differently to a new marriage and a new parental figure. Kids younger than 10 typically are more flexible and accept new partners more readily. Older adolescents may have less investment in step-family life, and often make the adjustment without many problems. The group of children who struggle the most are kids between the ages of 10 and 14, who are trying to form their own identities and may have more difficulty with the changes of a new household. With this in mind, keeping the lines of communication open is important.
One big, happy, blended family is trending. Custodial and non-custodial parents should make time to spend with their kids. After a divorce, children usually adjust better to their new lives when the parent who has moved out visits consistently and has maintained a good relationship with them. Unfortunately, relationships between children and non-custodial parents take a nose dive following remarriage.On average, a dads contact with their children drops by half during the first year following remarriage. Encouraging visits between your child and the non-custodial parent is important. Research supports a boost in self-esteem when both parents stay involved.
Source: American Psychological Association, “Making Stepfamilies Work”, accessed September 9, 2014.