Blended Families

Blended families present a wide array of practical, social, emotional and legal issues.  A blended family may have child custody issues, estate issues, and/or adoption issues.

Types of Blended Families

Occasionally, a step-parent may have child custody right if the spouse separates from him/her.  Blended families sometimes need to discuss the option of adopting one of the children if the other parent to the child/children has been absent from the child’s life for an extended period of time.  Sometimes people have a blended family because of a nasty divorce in the recent past, the couple decides to not marry but just live together and that presents an incredible host of legal problems (and other problems as well) that really require one to get advice from an attorney.


Every blended family should have a Will as it is very easy to have all of a couple’s estate go to one set of children and none to the other if a couple dies without a Will.  In addition, life insurance, retirement plans and other accounts that have death beneficiary designations must be coordinated with the Will to be sure that the intentions of the couple are carried out if one dies and has an asset with a death beneficiary designation.  A blended family absolutely should have a Will for both the husband and the wife.  Interestingly, their Will’s need coordinated and, therefore, they probably should go see an attorney about drafting a Will and should see an attorney together, rather than separately.  On the other hand, if the married couple had a weak marriage and they are concerned about the possible breakup of the marriage, then they should seek separate counsel as it is unethical for the attorney to try to draft a Will for both husband and wife in that kind of a precarious situation.

If you need help with child custody issues, estate issues, and/or adoption issues, please contact the family law and estate planning lawyers at Trinity Law at 717-843-8046.

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