With an increase in the number of divorces and remarriages in the United States, the size of the American family continues to expand to include all types of relationships created by stepfamilies, half-siblings, and other extended relationships. The increasing numbers of remarriages, as well as the rise of couples living together without marrying, has changed both the size and the definition of what makes a family. A recent study revealed that divorce is causing bigger American families each year.
According to survey data collected at the University of Massachusetts Boston, there is at least one stepparent and one stepchild in almost 33 percent of U.S. households. By counting the number of stepchildren one may acquire in another marriage as family members, the amount of adult children in one family increases by 66 percent. With the divorce rate doubling for older adults over the past 20 years, it is no surprise that almost 30 percent of people over the age of 50 have been married at least twice. Of all the older Americans who have children, 40 percent are in stepfamilies.
While extended families can provide a larger support system for children, some experts fear that the size of the families may make it more difficult to develop closer personal relationships. Family members may feel less connected to each other as they typically spend less time together. The study revealed that couples with adult stepchildren are 11 percent less likely to spend time with their children than in traditional families.
For many stepfamily members, it can be difficult to figure out the duties and responsibilities owed to each other. Feeling that a choice must be made between one’s biological children and stepchildren can be a large source of anxiety for many adults living in stepfamilies. Financial decisions, including who should pay for the significant costs of things like college or weddings, can be extremely complicated. Difficult decisions often must be made with respect to aging parents as well. As the elderly population continues to rise, the role of stepchildren in the caretaking decision process may also increase. When families recognize and address the additional issues that may arise from the growth of larger nontraditional families, everyone benefits.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients Through the Divorce ProcessFamilies going through a divorce can experience a great amount of stress. You do not have to go through the process alone. At Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, a Towson divorce lawyer is ready to assist you in all aspects of your divorce proceedings, including the division of marital assets, alimony, child support, child custody, and post-divorce modification issues. To schedule your free confidential consultation, call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland to serve clients throughout the state.