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Child custody tips when you're ready to remarry

You became a successful business owner during your first marriage, but all that time at the office took a toll. Your spouse left you, saying the relationship did not have the spark it once had. You had more money and more success professionally, but you had to sacrifice in other areas to get it.

During the divorce, you got shared custody rights for the kids. They were your primary focus during the entire process. You have them every other week, splitting time with your ex.

Now you're ready to get married again. You still want to focus on the kids. It's about more than just your own relationship, and you never lose sight of that. To help, here are a few key tips:

1. Remember that children may miss your old family life.

You feel happy to have moved on from a broken relationship, but the kids may have hoped you and your ex would patch things up. When you marry again, they know that's never going to happen. You can't avoid this potential impact on their lives, but knowing it is there helps you plan for it and offer them the support they need.

2. Talk with the children about routine changes.

Life will not be the same now that you're married again. Perhaps you were fairly relaxed with routines, letting the children do what they want. Your new spouse wants to set up more guidelines. Talk to the kids about your hopes for the future, what it means for them and what types of routines and schedules they want. Give them a voice.

3. Give them time.

You have been in this new relationship for months or years. The kids have not. Do not expect your new spouse to walk in, replace your old spouse and create some sort of perfect family unit instantly. Adapting to new circumstances takes time. Give your children the time they need without getting angry or frustrated.

4. Understand your own custody rights.

Are any changes to custody needed? Does your new spouse have children from a previous marriage? Does your ex want to alter your custody rights now that someone else will live in the house? Does this have any impact on child support and other costs? It is possible that your custody situation can stay the same, but these are all important questions to ask. Address them up front, as soon as possible, so that you can avoid any surprises. Communicate openly with your ex and the children.

A new chapter

This marriage opens up a new chapter in your life and your children's lives. Make sure you understand your legal options, your rights, and the positives and negatives of the new living situation.

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