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How Disagreements Between Parents Sharing Custody Get Resolved

Common Legal Challenges Blended Families May Face During a Michigan Divorce

Divorce is never easy, and it can be especially challenging when children are involved. However, the situation gets even more complicated if your current marriage includes children from previous marriages and children from your current union.

Blended families are part of the modern marriage landscape, thanks to the reduced social stigma surrounding divorce and remarriage. Divorce in a blended family can increase legal complications. What are some of the most common challenges blended families face during divorce?

Child Custody

Stepparents in blended families share parenting duties and form bonds with their stepchildren. When shared children enter the picture, it can deepen these familial bonds. This can make separating the family incredibly difficult and painful.

Not only can stepparents and stepchildren suffer heartbreaking losses, but children may mourn the loss of stepsiblings. This can be incredibly stressful for everyone involved, and adults will want to do all they can to ease the transition for children.

Laws are clear on child custody — stepparents have no rights or responsibilities where stepchildren are concerned and have no legal grounds to seek custody during a divorce. However, parents and stepparents can make informal arrangements for visitation of some sort if they so choose.

Child Support

As with child custody, the laws concerning child support are clear. Stepparents have no legal rights and responsibilities where stepchildren are concerned. The only exception is in cases where a stepparent legally adopts a stepchild and legally accepts the same rights and responsibilities as a biological parent.

If spouses in a blended family have any shared biological children, child support would be calculated only for those children during divorce.


Alimony, or spousal support, is completely separate from child support. Whether spouses in a blended family have shared biological children or not, the lower-wage earner in the household may petition the court for alimony. However, financial obligations related to existing children and any child support payments resulting from the divorce could potentially impact alimony, which is not mandatory.

Changing Estate Plans

Depending on how long a couple is married, stepparents may opt to include stepchildren in estate plans, including wills, trusts, etc. Just as spouses may remove each other as beneficiaries from retirement plans and life insurance policies following divorce, they may choose to change estate plans to remove stepchildren as beneficiaries.

Keep in mind that adoption is permanent, and stepchildren who are adopted will maintain the same rights of inheritance as biological children.

Advocating for Your Interests

Any divorce is going to involve challenges and concerns, but divorcing from a blended family that includes stepchildren and biological children can be especially complex. Advocating for your best interests and the best interests of your children could mean seeking child custody, child support, and alimony payments. You may also need to redraft estate plans.

Are you and your spouse divorcing from a blended family? The right legal assistance can help to ease your burden and ensure that your best interests are represented. Contact the qualified and experienced lawyers at Gucciardo Family Law for legal advice, support, and representation.

Too much information?

We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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