Florida law typically allows parents to have a relationship with their children after a divorce. Sometimes, you will have sole custody of your kids, meaning they will primarily live in your home. If you remarry, your new spouse may also have children, which means that you’ll need to work even harder to ensure everyone can adjust to their new situation.
Know your role
Your role as an authority figure to your spouse’s children will likely be limited by law and by other practical limitations. Conversely, your spouse’s role as an authority figure to your children should also be limited. Ideally, you will leave important decisions about how your spouse’s kids are raised to your spouse and the child’s other parent. Of course, you may need to take on a bigger role if the other parent isn’t involved in the children’s lives.
Treat the kids equally
Any child living in your home must be subject to the same rules and boundaries. Treating everyone the same will make it easier for your children to see their new step-siblings as members of the same family as opposed to strangers they share a house with. It will also help your spouse’s kids view you as someone who cares about them.
Get help if needed
Your children may need professional help with processing the emotions related to being part of a new family or with your divorce in general. This may be especially true if they show signs of depression, such as a lack of interest in school or withdrawal from social situations. Other warning signs may include outbursts at school or at home or having trouble falling asleep at night.
It may take several months or years for two families to feel part of a new family unit. Ideally, you’ll try to actively communicate with your kids, your former spouse and your current spouse to ensure that this process is as painless as possible.