Are Step Fathers More Likely to Divorce?

A stepfather helps his young stepchild walk on the beach

With statistics showing that 1300 new stepfamilies are being formed every day and the nontraditional family units outnumber the traditional families, it is important for researchers to delve deeper into these familial relationships and their success rates, as well as the contributing factors to their demise. Therefore, your Orlando Divorce Attorney has compiled some data on the stepfather relationships within their marriages.

One study found that individuals engaged in a relationship or marriage involving step-parenting roles will divorce at a rate of 66%. Similarly, husbands who are in a stepfather role are twice as likely to leave their marriage than men who are in a traditional family setting. Of those stepfathers who engaged in a divorce, 61% of them reported initiating the separation, while only 30% of men in traditional families initiate a divorce proceeding. With this staggering data, it is imperative to look into the reasons that may contribute to the dissolution of a marriage involving a stepparent and steps to take that may prevent or improve these relationships.

Researchers found that undefined parenting roles, unprepared fathers, lack of communication, and under appreciation were large factors in the decision to divorce. When entering a new marriage, even without children, it is important to have an open and honest discussion about expectations, roles, or chore distribution among the couple. When children are involved, this conversation is even more important because, failure to address the parenting styles, or the amount of involvement you would like to have in the lives of children that are not biologically yours can be sensitive and result in serious arguments. It is common that stepfathers feel as though their opinion does not matter when the step child is involved and that results in a great deal of resentment and belittling. It is critical to be clear about your parenting roles in a stepchild’s life and consider both sides of the situation as to not overstep boundaries with the child but also not remove the stepfather’s input altogether.

Further, if a stepfather enters the role with no prior child experience it can become overwhelming. The stress of raising a child rises with any parent, however, when you are a stepparent, the stress may be heightened due to the lack of legal or biological connection between you and the child and can cause a stepparent to second guess every action they take with the child. The stepfather could continually feel unprepared for the task of raising a child and their self-doubt may result in detriment to the marital relationship. Once again, this is where an open conversation where the parties define their parenting roles will aid greatly in the relationship.

Another contributing factor to the dissolution of a stepparent’s marriage is the underappreciation that they experience. Many stepfathers enter into a difficult arena where more parties are involved in their life than necessary, such as the biological father of the child. Therefore, the stepparent is not only charged with maintaining a healthy relationship with their spouse, but also their stepchild, and the child’s biological father. This is a lot to take on and needs to be acknowledged. Further, they are assisting in raising a child that is not their own. They may aid in the child’s education, extracurricular activities, or financial assistance and therefore, failure to appreciate their active role in the child’s life can result in bitter resentment fueling many arguments.

If you are entering into a stepparent role ensure there is open communication, clearly defined parenting roles, and mutual appreciation is exchanged between the couple through their marriage in relation to their activities in the family. If you are a stepparent who wishes to dissolve their marriage for any of the discussed reasons or others, contact an Orlando Divorce Attorney who has invested time in researching these nontraditional family units and has a clear understanding of your needs.

Speaking to an attorney at our Orlando office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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