Ready....set.....bake! The rise of the ‘blended’ family.

The Great British Bake Off returned to our screens recently. I don’t know about you, but as a keen baker, I love those 10 weeks of unusual ingredients, a few disasters, some technical challenges and amazing show stoppers - with hopefully no soggy bottoms in sight.

But what does all this have to do with family law?

As well as fixating on cake, all this bake off chat in the office got us in the family law team thinking about the ideal ingredients for the ‘perfect bake’ for your new ‘blended’ family.

For a few reasons, it’s not unusual nowadays for couples to meet when they’ve already started a family with an ex partner.

And of course, it can be rather daunting to consider the prospect of ‘blending’ your two families together to make the perfect whole. You may worry how your ex will react to your children living with your new partner, or you may have concerns that they’ll have someone else in their life that they’ll want to call mum or dad.

With that in mind, here are our tips for the perfect bake —

Have a plan – well in advance

When you have children, you need to remember that even though you’ve separated from your former partner, your children haven’t.

Many have parental rights and responsibilities giving them the right to be heard when making important decisions relating to the children. If you intend to re-marry or live with someone else, it is important to discuss this topic early, and to have a plan outlining when certain milestones will be achieved and to take note of any potential issues either of you may have.

Be reasonable

It is understandable that you will want to spend as much time as possible together as a family with your new partner, but you need to remember that the other parent needs time with the children too. You should be as reasonable as possible when it comes to arranging contact. Remember any ill feeling will be noticed by your children: you want to nurture that relationship, not create problems.

Listen and act accordingly

Often with so-called ‘blended’ families there will be children — and parents — on both sides. It is helpful for both parents and new partners to remember that the children will be going through a lot of change and stability will make a huge, positive difference.

You should listen to any concerns of the other person and act on it accordingly, after all if you don’t have a sturdy structure your showstopper won’t stand up!

And of course, if you come across difficulties, it’s important to get the correct advice at an early stage. Often cases can be resolved with negotiation and we can, in most cases, provide you with a written agreement which will set out the minimum for the children giving you all peace of mind.

Emma Somerville

Aberdeen-based associate, and GBBO fan, Emma supports clients, both in and out of court, with a wide range of family matters, including: separation; child residence and contact; cohabitation agreements; adoption; and divorce.

Posted, 10 September 2018 by Emma Somerville
Categories: Family law

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