Two in three blended families split within five years

Not all happy blended families last  Photo:

New research suggests two in three blended families do not survive for more than five years and many experience child maintenance payment problems.

A survey of 621 people conducted by the Association of Family and Inheritance Lawyers and Divorce Mediators (vFAS) found 44% of ex-partners do not financially contribute to the costs of rearing their own children.

Alexander Leuftink, chairman of vFAS, called that shocking. ‘I often see the discussion about whether the amount of child support should be adjusted if an ex, often the mother, starts living together with a new partner,’ he told AD. ‘The father then thinks: “Now you and your new partner should make it together.” Or the mother also wants to get rid of her ex financially. But completely stopping the alimony is unwise, because it is still a joint child.’

Some two-thirds of blended families split up within five years, with distance between exes and agreements over childcare and finances playing a huge role in the success of a new family. Of the people in blended families surveyed by vFAS, one-quarter indicated that forming them is a difficult process. One in five families is still not close (or less close) after several years.

Leuftink chalks that up to little advance planning, despite the increased financial and psychological challenges of blending families. ‘The parenting plan now focuses on two parents who are separating, but often does not say anything about what to do next,’ he said.

He believes that needs to change, especially because the majority of partners in blended families (65%) live together without getting married and a third of them don’t have cohabitation contracts. ‘That is worrying, because we know that these people will have more problems if they break up,’ he said. ‘This is precisely what we want to prevent, especially with these families, because the children have been through a divorce before.’

Leuftink also finds it striking that 62% of children in blended families are not involved in making important decisions concerning their lives. ‘It is worrying that two in three children are not involved in important decisions, while every child has the right under the International Convention on the Rights of the Child to express his or her opinion on important decisions that affect him or her.’

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