Money Issues for Blended Families

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Getting together with a new partner can have its difficulties, especially when there are children from a previous relationship involved. While there are many practical issues to resolve, often the most complex are to do with money.

Decisions need to be made on how best to pay for the household running costs and who has responsibility for expenses relating specifically to individual children. If each partner has a different number of children living in the household should they pay for household expenses such as food and power in different proportions? Should household expenses be paid from a joint account or should each bill be divided in half? Difficulties with paying or receiving child support can cause financial pressures in the relationship.

People coming together in a second relationship have sometimes lived on their own for a long time and are used to managing their own money. Suddenly having to consider another person or people is not easy. Each partner may have different views and habits with regard to managing money. Often, there will be fears around sharing money that come from bad experiences with a former partner as result of addictions to gambling and alcohol, or excessive spending, for example. There may also be different views about how much to spend on children. Lavish spending by one partner on his or her children can cause friction within the blended family.

One of the most difficult issues is sorting out what happens if one partner dies. Does each partner have a responsibility for the welfare of the survivor and the survivor’s children? What if the surviving partner enters into a new relationship? How can the rights of the deceased partner’s children be protected?

Resolving these issues requires a strong commitment to the relationship as well as expert legal and financial advice.

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