It is a big change for your children, having a new adult in the family. It’s important to make an effort to ensure that this transition strengthens your family and does not burn any bridges. Here are some ways to help your family transition:
- Make sure you and your new partner are both committed long term to each other before making introductions to your children.
- When introducing your new partner reassure your children of your love for them, and that you will always be there for them.
- Inform your ex-wife of the change, let her absorb the news and then organise a polite introduction. Do not expect them to be best friends. However, your ex-wife needs to be comfortable with the other person who is going to be spending significant time with the children. If she doesn’t know about your new partner, she may feel nervous about leaving the children with you, and this may impact on the time you have to spend with your children.
- Ease your ex-wife into the children spending time with your new partner. Start with your new partner doing pick-ups from school and allow the time your children spend with her to steadily increase. If your ex-wife is unreasonable about the children spending time with her, you will need to establish that you have a new life and that you can’t be stopped from being in a relationship with another person.
- If your children will have step brothers and sisters, you may need to create new rules to ensure that there is consistency of discipline and boundaries within both families. Unequal treatment fosters resentment amongst children. Discuss all issues as soon as they surface so that uniformity between all children can be established.
You cannot forget your old responsibilities – if you have agreed to pay spousal maintenance or child support then you need to continue to pay these. If you have questions about divorce law, please contact our office by email or phone (09) 309 4647. We’d be happy to answer them for you.
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