Month: February 2015

HOW DO YOU BLEND A FAMILY?

Domestic prtnr homespgAdd two adults, a gaggle of children, a couple of pets, a new house, financial changes, STRESS and a whole lot of work….and blend!

A blended family is a family consisting of a couple and their children from their current relationship and all previous relationships. To blend a family successfully, you must add cooperation and respect to the recipe above, along with lots of patience and time for transition. Studies say, it takes 3-5 YEARS for adults and children to transition into their “new” family. There are so many emotions and values, new relationships and dynamics as well as house rules that have to be re-negotiated. And if there are teenagers involved…..

Blending a family is not an easy thing; in fact, I have found it to be one of the hardest things I have ever done. I have been remarried for over three years. I have three biological children and now have three step-children, a new husband, a new house and……a step-bird! We have had to maneuver house rules, chores, differing values, holidays and traditions as well as who gets dibs on the remote and BIG television…

The Brady Bunch, that infamous TV family from the 1970’s, was not your typical or realistic blended family. A remarriage does not automatically make a new family. When couples remarry or move in together, it is a decision those two people are making. We must not forget the impact that it has on our children. The children did not choose to have a step-parent or be family with new step-siblings, they are along for the ride based on the decisions their parents have made. Managing our emotions and helping our kids in the transition is critical in making this new family viable and lasting.

Recent statistics say that over 1,300 new (step) families form every day and a majority of families in the US are blended in some fashion. The Census Bureau reported that more than 60% of families in this country will be blended in one fashion or the other. So, we need to get this right and learn to make the blended family work and work well.

What do blended families look like? They look like me, your friends, neighbors and maybe even yourself. If you are not in a blended family, it is most likely you know someone who is. These families may be traditional remarriages, marriages of same sex couples, cohabitations or domestic partnerships. Families come in all shapes and sizes today. It is important to acknowledge all of them as part of the “new normal” and recognize the struggles that come with blending.

Embrace who you are and the unique family unit to which you belong and be accepting of your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors who may be doing it differently.

If you are having trouble blending your family, seek out a professional to help you with the challenges. Family Mediation could be the answer to help you and your new family move forward in a positive way. Call us at 585-244-2444 or send an email to: info@mediationctr.com

 

 

Should you end your marriage?

Cracked egg, broken marriageNo ethical divorce mediator (or attorney) would ever push you to end your marriage or partnership without making sure that one or both of you are completely certain that you are no longer willing to stay in the relationship.

Many couples come to our consultation at different places about ending the relationship. If one person has decided to end the relationship, it is likely that they have been considering it for a while and have had time to come to terms with it. It can be very hard for the spouse who hasn’t made the same decision to psychologically process their spouse or partner’s decision in the amount of time they have before there is a move by their spouse/partner to initiate a separation or divorce.

While it would be wrong to give false hope to your spouse/partner if there is no hope that you will continue to stay in the relationship, if there is a willingness to explore that possibility, there can be many benefits to both of you. The intent of going to counseling at this point would be to see if there is still an opportunity to work on saving the marriage/relationship. This will give each person a chance to get clear about what your needs and goals are for this point in your lives, which may not be the same ones you had at the start of the marriage.

Both partners can benefit from this exploration. It will help each person clarify what they want from their marriage and it will help you decide if those needs can be met by your partner. The process may make it clear to both of you that you can’t give each other what you are looking for, or you may discover that there is room within the marriage/relationship for that to happen. Even if counseling isn’t going to save the marriage, both of you will be clear that it is ending and be aware of why it is ending. The process will offer the partner who doesn’t want to end the marriage more time to get used to the idea, and it will also provide closure to the partner who is ending it, knowing that everything was done to try to make the marriage work.

Even if the relationship will end, through the process of working with the counselor you may have regained some understanding and respect for each other, which will be helpful in being able to work together in mediation to create a fair and equitable divorce agreement that will be in the best interest of you and your children. It will also be a great starting place for you to re-define your future relationship in a more positive way, which is especially important for co-parenting children.

Should you end your marriage? Not until you are completely sure. If you would like referrals for marriage/relationship counselors, please call our office at 585-244-2444.

Barbara Kimbrough                                                                                                                                              Mediator

Do It Yourself Divorce

DIY - Do It Yourself Colorful Blocks

DO IT YOURSELF DIVORCE-  You’ve seen it online when you search for information about divorce, it’s even on some court websites.  DIY may work for your basic home improvement projects, but when it comes to separating from your spouse or partner it is not likely to be the best choice or even the least expensive choice.  There are so many factors and interests to balance as you make decisions about what will be in your best interest and your children’s best interest that it is difficult get it right without some assistance from a professional. Decisions you make regarding Child Support, Spousal Support, Property Division, and Parenting will affect you and your children for years.

How often have your attempted that home improvement project and realized you were in over your head and had to get the plumber, electrician, or contractor in to fix it?  You end up spending more money than if you had called the professional in the first place.  If you try to handle your own separation or divorce the outcome can impact your ability to pay your bills, keep a roof over your head, pay for your kid’s college and even your ability to maintain a relationship with your children.  You will spend thousands of dollars trying to undo your mistake.

If you are trying to keep your expenses down for your divorce or separation call a Professional Divorce Mediator.  A mediator will assist you with communicating with your spouse and negotiating a reasonable lasting agreement that will meet your needs now and in the future without having to go to court.  You can make your own decisions with the information and knowledge shared by the mediator so you get it right the first time.  As an attorney I have seen many DIY divorces be rejected by the court.  The parties are then have to figure out how to fix their mistakes.  They often have to get an attorney to repair the divorce papers, which can cost more than getting it right the first time with a mediated agreement and attorney assisted uncontested divorce filing.  You can find more information on mediation at www.mediationctr.com;   or at my website www.jmersereaulaw.com.

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