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3 Ingredients for Successfully Blending Families

Blended FamiliesBlended families and the challenges associated with them have been the focus of many a Dr. Phil episode through the years, due in part to the growing number of them.

A December 2015 Pew Research Center report showed that 40 percent o
f families with children are blended, meaning that they include a combination of stepparents, stepsiblings, half-siblings, and sometimes even extended family members.

“Our family law practice sees the making and dismantling of these types of families on a routine basis,” says John Griffith, an Encinitas divorce lawyer.

Griffith offers this advice for couples that have blended families:

1. Forgive.
Divorce is a painful experience for everyone involved, and the hurt can take years to go away. Past hurt can interfere with a new marriage. Learn to forgive former spouses so you can avoid speaking about them negatively in front of your children. Learn to forgive your new spouse’s ex, so you can avoid speaking poorly of them in front of your stepchildren. Don’t saddle the kids with comments that can’t be unheard or easily forgotten.

2. Don’t play favorites.
This can be tough, because biological ties are strong. You can feel closer to your own children without outwardly showing it. As the parents of this blended family, the two of you can identify principles to guide your parenting. Examples might include: “Every child in our family is worthy of love,” or, “Every child in our family deserves to be heard and understood,” says evangelist Jim Daly, who writes for the UExpress blog.

3. Nurture individual relationships.
Reaching “one big, happy family” status isn’t achieved overnight. Relationships and trust must be built, and this is best done one-to-one, according to Hand in Hand Parenting. If you’re the stepparent, set aside up to an hour each week for individual time with your stepchild, where you let them do something they want, and you avoid instructing or critiquing. Instead, you simply offer appreciation and respect. Make one-to-one time with your own children, too.

Learning some tools to successfully blend your families is important, because sadly, statistics are not on your side, Griffith says. Studies show an increase in the divorce rate with each successive marriage. Blended families have a one in three chance of survival, and the odds decrease when more children are born into the family, according to a Chronogram article.

Statistics about Blended Families

  • Four in 10 American adults have at least one step relative in their families, according to a national Pew survey.
  • Three in 10 adults surveyed by Pew from Oct. 1-21, 2010 have a step or half sibling.
  • 52 percent of adults under age 30 report that they have at least one step relative, compared to 40 percent of those who are 30 and older.
  • 60 percent of black adults have at least one step relative, compared to 46 percent of Hispanics and 39 percent of whites.
  • 45 percent of black adults report having at least one step or half sibling, compared with 26 percent of whites.

© 2016 Millionairium and Griffith, Young & Lass. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Griffith, Young & Lass are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

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Meet Your Dedicated San Diego Family Attorneys
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

Family Attorney, John N. Griffith, CFLS

John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.

858-345-1720
john@gylfamilylaw.com

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.
Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

San Diego family lawyer Catie Young has a wide range of litigation experience. She has worked in civil litigation. She has successfully represented clients in many areas of family law including child support, child custody, divorce and domestic violence. She has a unique approach to each child custody case, so clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases.

858-345-1720
catie@gylfamilylaw.com

Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.
Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Family Attorney, Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting and went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. Amy takes a practical and cost considerate approach to the process while striving to balance the emotional needs and objectives of her clients.

858-345-1720
amy@gylfamilylaw.com

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The Typical Divorce Process in California
Discovery of Assets & Obligations (1-3 months)
1 Complaint for Divorce Filed Start of litigation
2 Complaint is Served Varies, but usually shortly after the complaint is filed
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4 Mediation Anytime, but usually after initial discovery
5 Temporary Hearing Usually early in the process
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