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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My sweetheart and I are preparing to embark on a blended family journey.
As I read through your prior posts, what pearls of wisdom can you share?
I am interested in your best advice for as smooth sailing as possible.
Also for organizing, meal-planning and all around keeping order and sanity in a small space. (we have a large family (6) and a small house (3 bedrooms) we will be fitting everyone into, until we can find something larger in our neighborhood.)


To give you a little background on our family dynamic...
We have been friends since we were 15, dated briefly at 19, each married others in our 20s and got divorced in our 30s...and then it was our turn again... and in a blissful relationship together for 1 year. We just recently decided, to stop missing each other all week long, and to sell his home and start our journey together. We will live in my current home, and rent and save for a home together for a bit.
Our childrens ages are: (my dd 22, my son 13, his two sons (my bonus kids) 12, 10.)
I have a small house, and none of our kids have ever shared rooms, since very young.
My 2 are full time, his are 50/50.
our kids all go to school locally.


any advice is great!
 

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It really seems like your daughter will need one room, and the three boys share a room. I can see that might get stressful on your younger though. Could you do a bunkbed and a single bed? Maybe if he gets to choose his bed first he'll be happier with the idea of sharing a room. How much longer will your daughter be at home?

I am happy for you to have rediscovered your love!
 

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Advice from my experience:

  • Unified front is crucial. Both of you will need to be involved in dealing with responsibilities and punishment if needed. Decide what you will do in advance, and TRUST each other's judgment. If you disagree, do so privately and show the kids a unified front.
  • Remember that step parents are not parents. The kids will resent it if either of you insist otherwise.
  • You are immune to your biokids annoying habits. A step parent is not. Be sensitive to this, and willing to talk it through.
  • Don't make significant parenting decisions without consulting one another.
  • Decide in advance how you will handle issues regarding child support. Specifically, how you plan to address your finances, court requests for records, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you.

I've been thinking bunk bed and single bed as well. I am also encouraging the oldest to find her own place. It would be nice if the two brothers could have their own room. Just too many bodies! :blush:

In all honesty she will be the hardest to transition - just knowing her personality.

It really seems like your daughter will need one room, and the three boys share a room. I can see that might get stressful on your younger though. Could you do a bunkbed and a single bed? Maybe if he gets to choose his bed first he'll be happier with the idea of sharing a room. How much longer will your daughter be at home?

I am happy for you to have rediscovered your love!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you! Great advice. We tend to follow that route. We talk about the kids and how to approach their adjustment regularly.

We are both totally on board with parenting as a step and not as the parent to each other's kiddos.

He is the only one with child support. I have full responsibility for my two.

We sat down and went over finances this weekend. Putting together household accounts in addition to our separate accounts for our shared expenses. It seemed logical...does that sound like a good choice from your experience?

Question- the court won't have anything to do with my records for him will it?
It's my understanding that my income won't be considered in his child support. Is that right?

Advice from my experience:


  • Unified front is crucial. Both of you will need to be involved in dealing with responsibilities and punishment if needed. Decide what you will do in advance, and TRUST each other's judgment. If you disagree, do so privately and show the kids a unified front.
    Remember that step parents are not parents. The kids will resent it if either of you insist otherwise.
    You are immune to your biokids annoying habits. A step parent is not. Be sensitive to this, and willing to talk it through.
    Don't make significant parenting decisions without consulting one another.
    Decide in advance how you will handle issues regarding child support. Specifically, how you plan to address your finances, court requests for records, etc.
 

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Are the kids ready for this? How do they all feel about the divorces? How do your kids fee about not living with dad anymore? How will his feel about their dad living with other kids full time while they only see him half time? What are the other parents like- will they encourage a healthy blending or try to poison the kids against it?

Do they get along? How much time have both families spent together?

I've seen adults rush into blending families when their kids are NOT ready, and then spending years suffering. It can destroy your relationship with your children and your spouse if you aren't careful.

You're focusing on logistics but haven't commented on the kids' emotions. Thats a much more important consideration. If your kids can emotionally handle it, your family will weather the adjustment period even with a lot of hiccups. If your kids are not ready, the best plan in the world can fall apart.
 

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I have a dd 18, ds 13 and dd12. My bf's kids are ds14, ds11 and dd 7. We've been together 2 years but live separately. I completely miss him all week and it's rough, but we have no plans to move.

I think having non-sibling kids share a room would be difficult, especially older ones. What does your son say about sharing with 2 other kids? All our kids get along great on the weekends, but I don't know how they would feel about living together.

Do all the kids get along? How long have you been divorced?
 

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We sat down and went over finances this weekend. Putting together household accounts in addition to our separate accounts for our shared expenses. It seemed logical...does that sound like a good choice from your experience?

Question- the court won't have anything to do with my records for him will it?
It's my understanding that my income won't be considered in his child support. Is that right?
Finances are a very personal decision. Do what makes sense to you. Just make sure you understand how money will be spent on the kids, and which accounts are used for this.

Regarding your income and his child support... This depends on how much you make, the state you live in, and what's in his support order. When I married my husband, I was told the same thing as you. My husband has kids from two moms. He was given an exception from the standard calculation for the younger kids due to the older child from another mom.

I make more money than my husband. The mom of the younger kids took him to court and argued that he shouldn't get a deduction from the older child any more because of my income. Technically, I shouldn't have mattered because the deduction had nothing to with me. But I was forced to show my income, pay stubs, and bank statements. In the end, his support was increased even though I financially wasn't responsible for any of the children in the household. Our attorney said this was a very unfair ruling by the judge, and not based on standard decisions in the past. But I made good money, so the judge took pity on the biomom.

So, in theory, your income won't matter. But your income will be reported to the court, and if the exwife is money hungry, she could make it into a point of argument.
 

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That could be a tough age for 3 boys to share a room. I would suggest having a sofa sleeper in the event 3 boys in a room doesn't work out well. We have our youngest share a room and they are 4. My dd wishes she didnt have to share and complains occassionally. Not so much the sleeping part but because she doesnt have her own space to retreat and play or be alone. Sometimes i allow her to go olay alone in her room and not let dsd in there sonce dd nneds more auiet time than dsd. Or i let dd retreat to mine and dps bedroom. I would think those ages would be difficult. Whats the story on 22 year still at home? Any chance of her moving before you blend? I personally would encourage her to move in the next year and tjen have boyfriend move in after she moves.
 

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Fiances for us: i manage most of it. We got a joint account when we got engaged this summer but we still have separate accounts. Dp has his hobby and fun money account and i have my separate account where my child support goes. Prior to that do would give me 500 per week to pay all our joint rent utility bills etc. Now we have it that he pays rent through his work checks and i pay all utilities. We got back snd forth on groceries. I am the better money manager so i decide which account things come from. At this point we are able to afford the two oldest in extra activities regularly and occasionally for smaller kids. I try to buy things for dsds out of joint account and things for dd and ds out of my personal account. Like clothes, shoes etc but sometimes it makes more sense to use one account if i am making a purchase for all of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sillysapling: in response to your questions....


Are the kids ready for this? I don't know. Are we all ever really ready for change? I talked with each of them independently. I don't think either of them were thrilled with sharing me. But they like him, and were 'ok' with it.


How do they all feel about the divorces? My kids are long over my divorce. His are still going through ranging emotions. His youngest, is a mama's boy, and I can see that I am definitely an interloper to him. But he is respectful, and we get along 90% of the time.


How do your kids feel about not living with dad anymore? My oldest has never lived with her father. And my youngest has not lived with his father since 2008. He visits his father every summer and thanksgiving as his father lives out of state. As far as how they feel about it. The emotions surrounding that change are long since dealt with.


How will his feel about their dad living with other kids full time while they only see him half time?
I'm not sure how they feel about it. They aren't very communicative emotionally. I think they are excited he will be living closer, and can walk to our house anytime. Whereas before they couldn't. They have only seen him half-time or less anyway, as his wife left him and has pretty much called all the shots on that front.


What are the other parents like- will they encourage a healthy blending or try to poison the kids against it? My ex's have no say in it. My daughter's father, probably doesn't even know where we live, though we have been there 3 years. My son visited his father at Thanksgiving, and told me he told his father about my SO moving in. It seemed to be a matter of fact exchange. He said he told his father that he liked my SO.

Do they get along? Yes. Occasionally my son gets a little clingy, as though he is claiming me as his own. It is a lot less than it used to be. But I think he is protective of me.
How much time have both families spent together? Quite a bit. My daughter has chosen to not spend much time, but all the boys have. And are very much 'siblings' in their daily interactions at this point. They get along for the most part. Though the younger two sometimes get on my sons (the oldest boys) nerves. Which sounds about right as I remember my own interactions with my siblings growing up.


I think having non-sibling kids share a room would be difficult, especially older ones. What does your son say about sharing with 2 other kids?
He was 'ok' with it. Didn't exactly like the idea, but was going to take one for the team. I agree it seemed like a lot. So I talked my 22 year old daughter and her BF, into moving out. And just last week we set up my SO's boy's room, with a bunk bed for the two of them, my son keeping his room.


All our kids get along great on the weekends, but I don't know how they would feel about living together. ...You might be surprised.

Do all the kids get along? 95% of the time, yes, the boys get along fine. My daughter, gets irritated with all of them, including her own sibling. Being 10 years older than the next oldest (22, 13, 12, 10) - I can understand that.


How long have you been divorced?
I have been divorced 7 years. He has been divorced. 2 1/2 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you for the finance advice. Much appreciated.


We have opted to get a 3rd household account for household expenses. food, utilities, rent, vacations, savings.
Personal spending, savings, and child support, as well as personal bills will be paid from our own accounts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I agree completely on your feedback.... I'll post an update on our progress in a minute. I agree about retreat and alone space. Especially when we are already in a small house.



That could be a tough age for 3 boys to share a room. I would suggest having a sofa sleeper in the event 3 boys in a room doesn't work out well. We have our youngest share a room and they are 4. My dd wishes she didnt have to share and complains occassionally. Not so much the sleeping part but because she doesnt have her own space to retreat and play or be alone. Sometimes i allow her to go olay alone in her room and not let dsd in there sonce dd nneds more auiet time than dsd. Or i let dd retreat to mine and dps bedroom. I would think those ages would be difficult. Whats the story on 22 year still at home? Any chance of her moving before you blend? I personally would encourage her to move in the next year and tjen have boyfriend move in after she moves.
 

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Sounds like you have put a lot of thought into it. Hope it works out for you all.
 
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