The tender years doctrine was a century-old legal principal that presumed children should be in their mother’s custody. That doctrine was replaced with the best interest of the child standard, which drops the maternal presumption and gives a trial court a broad scope what evidence it can consider when reaching its findings. As a result, fathers more frequently find themselves on the receiving end of custody or ample overnight visits with their children.
It is therefore increasingly common for fathers to have opportunities at a blended family with children from prior relationships and children from their current relationship. These children get the chance to know each other, to grow up together, and to truly develop a sibling bond. As sibling relationships are the longest relationships we have in our lives, allowing children with the same father to have relationships can be a really positive experience for these children.
With that in mind, a blended family is not without its traps and pitfalls. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the following when navigating a blended family.
Your Children are Equally Important
First, your children are equally important and worthy of your time, attention, and love.. From a very young age, children’s confidence and sense of self-worth can be driven by how their parents treat them.
While it is natural to give a lot of attention to a new child, make sure that you continue your commitment to your older children. This means exercising all visitation, continuing all traditions, communicating with them, and noticing what is important to them.
Communicate With Your Current Partner
While you try to balance your time between your children, be sure to check in with your partner. Whether or not she admits it, your partner may want you to focus on her and your child with her. However, it is important to be clear and open about your desire to give fair attention to all of your children, as well as your commitment to your relationship with her.
Create Family Traditions
Think about your fondest times with your family. Hold on to those feelings and try to impart these traditions on your blended family. If your children have common interests or hobbies, encourage them to create their own traditions together. Nurturing these bonds can help you create a true sense of family that your children can benefit from for their entire lives.
New Direction Family Law
New Direction Family Law is a family law firm that serves Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Our experienced attorneys have established a reputation of excellence and effectiveness when it comes to helping people navigate separations, divorces, property division, support, and child custody issues. We understand what you are going through and want to make sure that you are respected and treated fairly. Call New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation, or contact us through our website.