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Families increase with addition of stepchildren

For families in Michigan and throughout the country, a divorce may eventually result in bigger ones. A study found that counting stepchildren in families with adult children gives a number that is 66 percent larger.

Despite an overall reduction in the divorce rate, there has been an increase in divorce among older adults. Around one-third of couples older than 55 with adult children have a stepchild. For the purposes of this study, researchers included unmarried couples who were cohabiting. However, a study by researchers at Bowling Green State University found that nearly 30 percent of people older than 50 were on their second or later marriage. That study found that there were stepchildren in the families of around 40 percent of older adults who had children.

These stepfamilies can create a number of issues including a lack of certainty about what stepparents and children owe one another compared to their biological relatives. For example, a person might wonder whether a stepparent deserves the same amount of care-giving a biological parent might receive, or what a stepparent's obligation is toward a stepchild's education.

When parents get a divorce, they might think about some of these issues. For example, they might consider how they will pay for things such as their children's college education or even a wedding. The children might not be minors at that point, but the parents will still be co-parents and still may need to work together to help their children. Parents might include this information in a parenting agreement that Oakland County, Michigan divorce attorneys may help them create. They also might consider how their children could be affected by new families and new partners.

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