What is a "blended family"?
A "blended family" refers to a family where there is a couple (parents) with at least one step child (a child of either of the couple) and at least one child born to the couple.
A "blended family" is different from a step family. A step family is one where parents repartner following separation and at least one step child of either of the parents forms part of the family. That is, there is no biological child of the new couple (parents).
Does the family court treat "blended families" differently to other families?
Blended families are increasing in number in Australia as second marriages increase in number. Blended families have some particular challenges. Making arrangements for children to spend time with parents who live away, while trying to make sure children also spend time with step-parents and step-siblings can be challenging and sometimes more difficult because of the number of relationships involved.
The Family Court will always make orders they think are in the Best interests of the children involved in the case. That means that the court will try to balance out the need for children to be safe, the need to spend time with each parent and the need to develop relationships with other siblings and other adults significant to the children's lives.
Who can I contact to work out what arrangements are the best for our child?
There are a number of agencies that can assist you with issues about blended families:
Last reviewed: 01/09/2010