There is much debate as to whether or not this is a good change, however there is no denying that blended families are subject to unique challenges, especially financial ones.
One of the biggest issues that blended families face is child support. It is not uncommon for child support to go unpaid, and even when it is paid it often does not surmount to much. In fact, the average child support paid to custodial parents is only $300 a month. It’s easy to think of child support as a fixed amount that will never decrease, and may in fact go up, however with the recession, many divorced parents who owe child support end up making less of an income or even become unemployed, which can drastically alter their lifestyle and their ability to pay the agreed child support. Support modifications are quite a common occurrence, however the custodial parent will still be obligated to pay the lost dollars, which can often lead to resentment and financial stress for new spouses that come into the picture. In order to avoid this it is important that you tread carefully when it comes to child support, and be lenient and forgiving to your ex-spouse and try to work out an agreement that will work for both parties involved.
Create a Workable Budget
In some instances a stepparent can internalize the payments of their spouse making it so they are actually making the child support payments. If this is the case then creating a workable budget can help you see how much money you are actually spending on living expenses and may help you see where you can cut back as a family in order to afford the financial challenges that come with being a blended family.
Set Aside Spending Money
It can often be the case that the stepparents become financially snared in their spouse’s obligations. Due to this they can find themselves neglecting to spend money on themselves or on their kids. This can cause feelings of resentment towards the spouse, as well as the spouse’s ex and stepchildren. While there may not be a means to completely untangle a stepparent from your family’s financial obligations, you can make sure that a stepparent in this situation can benefit from the financial means that they have worked hard for. Depending on your situation it can be very beneficial for your family’s wellbeing to set aside some spending money every month to be used for fun activities.
Seek Financial Counseling
Although this may initially cost you money, in many cases it is well worth seeing a financial counselor if your money woes as a blended family is extensive. If you do not have the money initially then it may be worth saving up for. You can also try to read financial management books. If you absolutely do not have enough money for a financial counselor then you may want to consider looking into social worker or case manager or even look into getting free financial aid from an Employee Assistance Program that may be offered by your job.
Avoid Financial Debates with Ex-Spouses
Confronting the ex-spouse about how they are financially ruining your life, getting into heated debates, and potentially calling them names may make you feel better, but in the long run it is very unproductive and even counter-productive to do so as it may further worsen an already volatile relationship, and make it even more difficult to deal with them financially.
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