Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Issues that can complicate blended families in Massachusetts

Any resident of Worcester, Massachusetts, may be familiar with same-sex couples, domestic partnerships and blended families. Blended families exist when two divorced spouses decide to remarry and bring their children together under one roof. While such a setting may provide an opportunity for the partners to move on from their first marriages, blended families may encounter pitfalls and non-traditional family matters, particularly when it comes to money and finances.

Just like any family in Massachusetts, blended families can face financial problems. According to the National Stepfamily Resource Center, 65 percent of remarriages that include children have disagreements over the role of ex-spouses regarding financial support and how much to spend on the children. However, blended families may prevent such arguments if they are able to understand these financial challenges.

A common issue for blended families may be child support. In this case, a former spouse who fails to pay child support may affect everyone involved, especially the children and step-parent. The custodial parent together with the step-parent need to find ways to meet the back child support payments. This kind of situation may cause stress and problems for spouses.

Financial aid for blended families may also be an issue because both incomes of remarried spouses are added in the calculation. This may either increase or decrease the amount of financial aid available. During the holiday season, some blended families may face stressful times. Sometimes visitation times during the holidays may foster sibling rivalries and place a strain on close relationships, which is why flexibility and being more considerate of all of the parties involved may be necessary.

More importantly, advance planning may make the situation less complicated.Through preparation and considering the circumstances, partners may avoid fights and arguments regarding finances. The plans should be formulated carefully and with the consideration of both spouses' suggestions.

Source: MSN, "4 money traps of blended families," Robert Laura, Feb. 15, 2013

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