Divorce, without a doubt, is always complicated. This is to be expected. Most complications, however, can be handled and smoothed out by either a divorce mediator, or if necessary, the courts. Things like money, property, assets and the like are all able to be divided up, and there are plenty of laws to guide us along in the process. But sometimes there are divorce situations that are outside of the normal boundaries and simply not covered by the laws of the majority of states. These situations must be handled with extreme care.
The role of step-parents after divorce
One of these situations is the role of the stepparent in the lives of children after a divorce. To be a bit more clear, we’re talking about the situation of parents who’ve been previously divorced and have children from that marriage. These parents then get married again to a new spouse, and build a life together with their new stepchildren.
Often times, these stepparents will have taken up these children more actively than the non-present paternal parent who is hardly in the picture. Now that a divorce is approaching, this relationship is facing the threat of being ripped apart, just as the marriage is.
There’s no way around it, this can be extremely difficult. And in the majority of cases, the stepparent has virtually no legal rights to visitation or having any sort of physical presence in the children’s lives. If the soon to be ex-spouses are to help the children move forward and have a healthy life, this will and must be worked out outside of the court system.
This complication needs serious consideration. Though you may be at complete odds with your spouse, the needs of the children must be weighed out and handled with care.
The only way for divorcees to move on with dignity and freedom is to look at a few facts that are sometimes very difficult to swallow. It can be tough to see past your own hurt and your own desire to separate and be done with the relationship. But as you know, and are discovering as you go through this process, divorce effects far more than simply the couple.
After the divorce , the children must be considered.
Again, the children must be considered. And in fact, if you step outside of your own hurt, you can see that your spouse’s needs must be considered as well. All persons involved will be far more likely to heal, forgive, and move forward to have a healthy life if you’re able to take account for what everyone will need as the divorce moves forward.
Though the stepparent did not give birth to, or father your children, they most likely have spent years of their lives investing their time, energy, heart and love into them. Though there are hardly any laws regarding this, it cannot be ignored and swept under the rug. Those children need parental figures, and it would be a shame to throw the baby out with the bath water in this situation.
You’ve most certainly heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The statement is true. This is one of the many situations where this applies. That stepparent will most likely still have a big place in their heart for your child or children. They’re not going to want to just throw that away, and of course, it wouldn’t be healthy or honest if they did.
As the children move forward in life, they’re going to be needing someone to lean on. No parent can do this on their own. Children need many safe places and houses of refuge to vent, find guidance and peace, and all in all, find love and acceptance. One parent is not able to give this in and of themselves.
As stated before, this will have to be worked out outside of the laws. A divorce mediator can aid in working out the details of visitation and rights here. But giving that stepparent the consideration dignity of remaining in the children’s lives can be a catalyst for growth, healing, and overall well-being.
Our tendency as westerners is to be done with things and throw them away. We often don’t realize just how much this mentality can bleed into our relationships as well. Though working these situations through does require far more work, the reward in the long run is truly worth it.