A new study by Stepdadding.com shows that stepdads divorce their new wives at a rate nearly twice that of husbands in marriages that involve mutual children. Specifically, 61 percent of men surveyed who left a second or subsequent spouse with stepchildren stated that they were the ones who initiated divorce. According to other statistics, the percentage of men who leave their wives in marriages in which their own children are involved is around 30 percent.
About two-thirds of the men who responded that they were the ones to initiate divorce said that unclear expectations and lack of strong communication contributed to the divorce.
Making a marriage with stepchildren work is difficult, and many studies have shown that there are particular skills involved in being a stepparent. Many men who are placed in the role of stepfather find that it is hard for them to reconcile their own parenting styles with that of their spouses. Anecdotal evidence shows that many men feel that their feelings are not considered in disciplining the children. For example, and that they may have different ideas on the role a parent should play in the life of the offspring than the children’s mother.
This disagreement between the parents can quickly lead to a breakdown of the marriage structure and ultimately to divorce. As many divorces lead to financial difficulties for men, it is in their best interests to understand the dynamics of step-parenting prior to committing themselves to a relationship with a woman who already has children.
In today’s society, many individuals already have children from a previous relationship before marrying a second or subsequent time. These children may range in age from infants to adults, and different skills are needed to insure that the stepdad and children can get along and that the parents have good communication skills about their expectations for the kids. Unfortunately, many men grow attached to stepchildren only to find that they have very limited legal rights in the event of a divorce to visit the children or play a role in their lives.
For fathers and stepfathers who are facing divorce, it is vital that they receive sound legal advice about child custody, visitation and support issues. A family law attorney can explain the father’s options and help him decide on the best course of action to pursue in a divorce situation.
Source: Huffington Post, “Divorce Study Shows That Stepdads Are More Likely To Divorce Their Wives,” August 9, 2013.