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Lombard family law attorneyAmerica is a nation built on second chances. Consider, for a moment, the number of high-profile incidents or embarrassments involving celebrities or public figures, and how many have gone on to even greater success and fame afterward. For many, love and marriage is not terribly different. Despite a failed first marriage, more couples than ever are willing to walk down the aisle again in the hopes of finding the permanent happiness that has, so far, eluded them. Remarriage, however, can be extremely challenging, as many couples beginning second or third marriages are bringing with them children from previous relationships. Finding the right balance between parent and friend is often difficult for new stepparents, but there are some things you should keep in mind to make the transition a little more comfortable for everyone involved.

Be Prepared

As you fell in love with your new spouse, you knew that he or she already had children. Thus, the process of becoming a healthy blended family probably began long before thoughts of marriage ever crossed your mind. During the dating process, it can be very easy to try to ignore your partner’s children and the potential impact on your relationship, but doing so is not very conducive to a future together. It is important, however, to start slow and not to impose yourself on an existing family dynamic in such a way that will be overly upsetting. Understand that you will probably feel like something of an outsider for a little while, because, in reality, that is just what you are. Over time, though, you will probably feel more included and more a part of the family than you ever thought possible.

Be Respectful

Whether you have children of your own or not, you need to keep in mind that every stepparent’s relationship with their stepchildren is different, and may even vary from child to child. For example, your spouse’s older child may have taken to you immediately, becoming affectionate and loving without much effort, while a younger child may be more stand-offish and need additional time to adjust. Neither reaction is necessarily right or wrong, but as long as it is honest, you should be understanding and respectful. If a child wants space, allow him or her to have it; if he or she wants love and support from you, offer it. A long-term future together can only be realistic if everyone remains open and truthful about their comfort and feelings.

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Lombard family law attorneyAs a divorced parent, you have probably had to work through a number of difficult discussions with your child. You may have been the one to break the news of your divorce to him or her and, in the time since, you may have answered dozens—if not hundreds—of questions about the future. Now, as you consider getting remarried, you will need to address difficult topics with your child once again.

Every Family Is Different

Your approach to talking with your child about remarriage will depend on a number of factors, including how long it has been since your divorce, the role of the other parent in the child’s life, and your child’s age and maturity. The relationship between your child and your new partner is also a major consideration. For example, if your child was very young at the time of your divorce and has come to see your new partner as a member of the family already, the conversation may much easier in many regards. By contrast, if you only recently got divorced and your child is extremely close with your ex-spouse, your child may not be prepared to accept a new stepparent so willingly just yet.

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Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneyOne of the greatest things about our country is that we have the freedom to define what family means to us. Some families consist of only one mother or father, others are the classic nuclear family, while still others contain step-parents and stepsiblings, half brothers or sisters, or even adopted members. If you have a large blended family, there are special considerations you should keep in mind when it comes to estate planning.

Remarrying With Children

The number of remarriages has been increasing over the last several decades. In 2013, 40 percent of unions included at least one spouse who had previously been married, and many of these unions involve children. One consideration for large or blended families to think about is how a person’s assets will be distributed in the event that he or she passes away. It is vitally important if you remarry that you change your primary beneficiary from your former spouse as soon as possible. Another common mistake happens when a parent names their new spouse as the primary beneficiary and names their biological children from another marriage as contingent beneficiaries expecting that they will all receive a portion of his or her estate upon death. What instead happens is that the primary beneficiary receives all the assets and becomes free to share or not share them with the children. One possible solution to this is to name multiple primary beneficiaries who each receive a percentage of your estate.

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Posted on in Family Law

Lombard family law attorneyAfter retirement, many people feel that their time for making huge life decisions are behind them. They have completed a career, raised families, and now is the time to enjoy the life they created. Many by this point in time are single due to divorce or the unexpected death of their spouse. The option of marrying late in life is often overlooked, but in the right situations may be just what is needed.

Cohabitation vs. Marriage: The Great Debate

A growing trend in the population of those over 65 years of age is cohabitation rather than marriage. These couples still may wish to marry, but due to their reasons, they have made the decision not to do so. For many, the decision stems from the financial benefits of staying single along with a variety of other factors. Those who choose to take the plunge again, or perhaps for the first time, are in a portion of the population that is reducing each year. However, those who do often find marriage to be much more straightforward with less outside influence.

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remarried, Lombard family law attorneyThere are many reasons why it may be difficult for you to see your former spouse on the verge of getting remarried. Some, of course, may be mostly nostalgic—a longing for the "good old days" when you were blissfully happy together. Others may be based on jealousy, if you are being honest with yourself. Your ex has found someone that is not you, and no matter what occurred between the two of you, being replaced hurts. Finally, there may be more practical concerns for you regarding the upcoming nuptials of your ex-spouse, especially if you have children.

No Right or Wrong Answers

The most important thing for you to remember as you think about the impact of your ex’s remarriage on your children and parenting arrangements is that there is no manual for dealing with the issues. Changes are almost certain but they do not need to be seen as negative. As long as you and the other parent can communicate and cooperate, you can continue to provide for your child’s best interests, allowing him or her to benefit from the addition of a stepparent. You will need to find a solution or approach that meets the unique needs of your family, allowing all parties to remain involved as a valuable component of the process.

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Posted on in Adoption

stepparent adoption, Illinois law, Arlington Heights Family LawyerIn today’s world, blended families are becoming increasingly common. For some, it may be the result of a remarriage, while others are waiting longer to get married for the first time. Whatever the case, a marriage involving children from previous relationships can be both extremely challenging and very rewarding. What happens, however, when your new spouse expresses interest in pursuing the adoption of your child?

Why Adoption?

When you chose to marry your new spouse, you probably gave a great deal of thought to his suitability as a stepparent. Like most parents, you probably consider your child’s happiness and best interests in virtually every decision you make. Hopefully, the transition to a new parental situation has been a positive one for your child and his or her relationship with your spouse is becoming stronger every day. A stepparent bond does not require adoption to be effective; it is based on human interaction, trust, and mutual love.

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce, second marriage, Lombard Divorce AttorneyDespite how it may feel at the time, life does not end with divorce. Over time most divorced individuals will put their lives back together and eventually be ready to mingle and date again. In fact, numbers from around the country show that a larger number than ever before are even willing to give marriage another chance.

Currently in the United States, four out of ten new marriages involve at least one previously married spouse and half of those are marriages in which both spouses had been married before. Based on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Pew Research Center reports that remarriages have been on the increase for many years and have reached an all-time high.

Several social and demographic factors seem to be contributing to the historic rise in the rate of remarriage. Most obviously, the rate of divorce and social acceptance of remarriage in the last few decades has resulted in an ever-growing number of divorced Americans ready and able to walk down the aisle again. Additionally, as the age and life-expectancy of the American population trend upward, "people simply have more years in which to make, dissolve, and remake unions," says Gretchen Livingston, senior researcher at the Pew Research Center.

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retirement age marriageStatistics show that gray divorce – divorce for people who are 50 years old or older – has doubled since 1990. 60 percent who will decide to give marriage a second try will not have any better luck than they did the first time.

Legal and financial advisers say there are steps that older couples can take to help their chances of having a successful marriage the second time around, including communication and a prenuptial agreement.

Especially of concern for people who are close to or already retired are finances. According to some studies, the majority of couples who are engaged fail to discuss their present and future financial situations with each other before they are married. Communication before marriage is essential. This can be especially critical for older people who have been saving all their lives for retirement, only to find out their new spouse has serious financial obligations they knew nothing about.

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remarriage, Lombard, Illinois, divorce lawyer, divorce attorney, Downers Grove Family Lawyers, second marriage, multiple marriagesThis command performance may not guarantee you a gold star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but if considering marrying your former spouse, you would be sharing center stage with the likes of Liz Taylor; Marie Osmond; NeNe Leakes, Pink and even Judge Judy, just to name a few.

Will it be a marriage of infinite syndication? Probably not. Psychology Today reports that over 60 percent of all repeat marriages are prone to cancellation. Evidence shows that repeat marriages fail quicker than the premiere episode. Lois Tarter, author of  The Divorce Ritual and contributor to the Huffington Post, believes there are a few steps to be taken when contemplating Act II with your former spouse.
  • Time – take it. Make sure all emotional wounds have healed. Confront and resolve any outstanding issues before the anticipated wedding date;
  • Honesty is truly the best policy. Both of you will need to reestablish trust. Be open to accepting your responsibility for the failed first marriage;
  • Children – take them into consideration. Hold off just a bit before informing the kids of your reconciliation their emotions may still be in turmoil;
  • Counseling is likely a good idea. Consider individual, couples counseling or marriage classes. Keep all things topical on a regular basis. Avoid misconceptions and old habits.
If you are considering a second marriage with your former spouse, congratulations, break a leg. If you want to truly associate yourself with the likes of Liz, Marie, NeNe, Pink and Judge Judy, perhaps before taking your farewell performance, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced Downers Grove family law attorney to discuss your options for drafting a prenuptial agreement to safeguard your financial assets, just in case your shining star fizzles out. The legal team at  A. Traub & Associates understands the cosmic complexities of marriage and divorce. If you find yourself in the throes of either we can help. For those facing the dissolution of a marriage we will take the time to listen and address all of your concerns. For those planning a walk down the aisle, even if it is the second time around, we can discuss all benefits of drafting a prenuptial agreement to safeguard your financial assets and provide you with peace of mind. We offer free consultations to those residing in DuPage, Will, Cook and Kane Counties. Contact us at 630-426-0196 today to learn more about your options.
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