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Remarriage and co-parenting: dos and don’ts

Establishing a coparenting relationship after a breakup or divorce can be a challenge, even for the most amicable couples. While many exes do establish a system or plan, certain life events will require both parties to adapt, reevaluate or adjust their plan. One life change that can have a major impact on the flow of a Georgia coparenting relationship is remarriage. While this life event could increase the support system a child has and make for a happier household, it needs to be managed appropriately to make the most of the pros and limit the risks.

Here are some dos and don’ts parents should consider when bringing a new spouse/stepparent into a co-parenting situation:

  • Do make sure everyone is on the same page. The new spouse may not be an official “parent,” but he or she will still need to be aware of the parenting plan in order to support it fully. Knowing schedules, rules and other terms clearly can help to prevent miscommunication, hurt feelings or confusion later on.
  • Don’t cross boundaries. Boundaries are important to a healthy co-parenting relationship. This includes refraining from “backseat driving” the other parent’s way of doing things, outside of things that impact a child’s health and well-being. Stepparents also need to understand healthy boundaries and respect the role of the biological parents.
  • Do be sensitive to how the child might be feeling. Remarriage can bring up many feelings for children. They may be sad or confused, as this is a change in their family structure. For some, this event will be the moment when they truly realize their parents will not be getting back together. In any case, change can bring up many feelings in all of us, and for children, it is important to remember that this change has a real impact on their foundation.

Although parents may want to lavish their new spouse with attention during the exciting time of a wedding, attention may also be needed elsewhere. Children likely need a significant amount of care and time to navigate this change. The co-parenting relationship with their other parent should also receive some communication and attention in order to stay positive during this time. It is also a very good idea to speak to a Georgia family lawyer in advance of a remarriage, so it is clear how the change in status might impact the various support and custody agreements in place.

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