More than half of all children in America are part of a blended family, even if they might not recognize the word. A blended family is any family where two adults raise children together from their previous relationships. You may have heard the term “stepfamily” in the past, and a blended family can encompass that or any number of other family structures that are commonplace today.
At the Law Offices of Mackenzie Sorich, PLLC, we handle both Estate Planning and Family Law for blended families. We know that it can be difficult at first bringing two families together into one, but the end result we’ve seen is beautiful and well worth it. As we’ve learned over the years, here are three important points of consideration for blended families and their legal needs:
It is common for a stepparent to want to legally adopt the children they are raising alongside one of the child’s biological parents. In Washington state, this option is only available to married couples. Many second relationships currently prefer to stay in long-term relationships rather than entering second marriages, but they would have to get married in order to adopt their stepchild.
For Stepparent Adoption to be approved upon the request of an individual, it needs the support of at least one parent, which is a recent change in Washington state law. If the other parent does not approve it, however, the adoption must be sought through a trial. We have experience handling these cases in court, which involve background checks and home studies and determining what is in the best interest of the child. The entire point of the process is to bring more stability into the life of the child.
Estate Planning is the process of working with an attorney to create a legally binding plan for what will happen to someone’s belongings, property, and assets after they pass away. Many families seek to put an Estate Plan in place to know that their loved ones are protected in the event of the unexpected.
Estate Planning for blended families takes particular finesse to get risk. It requires us to take a deeper dive into the dynamics at play to create an Estate Plan that doesn’t cause conflict between marriages. At the end of the process, we can create an Estate Plan that protects everyone properly.
In Washington state, parents who are getting divorced create a court-approved Parenting Plan. Creating an effective Parenting Plan for blended families requires considering all the adults involved who are helping the parents and the children. It may factor in coordinating schedules with step-siblings as well. We have experience helping blended families come up with creative solutions for any Parenting Plan issues.
Get the Help You Need
At the Law Offices of Mackenzie Sorich, PLLC, we work to make sure that blended families are taken care of just as thoroughly as first marriages. Family is family, no matter how you cut it, and we know how to shape your family legal help around the shape your family takes. For help with any blended family considerations, contact the Law Offices of Mackenzie Sorich, PLLC today!