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What duties do Colorado residents have to their stepchildren?

As more families in Littleton, Colorado, become blended, issues regarding money and finances can become very complex when a person becomes remarried after divorce. Observers believe that one of the most pertinent topics in a second marriage is that of stepchildren. This is an important issue in the arena of family law, because whether or not your new spouse receives or pays child support or alimony proves to be very important in blended family budgeting.

According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 4.4 million stepchildren living in the country. Additionally, more than 40 percent of American adults have a stepparent, step sibling, half sibling or stepchild. Clearly, this is an issue that impacts many families throughout the state of Colorado.

Though it may not be the easiest conversation to initiate, discussing financial matters with your new spouse is of the utmost importance. In addition to getting an idea of your new spouse's assets, it's also good to understand the terms of their divorce settlement, if they were previously married. As a result of that agreement, they have an arrangement for child or spousal support. This can have a significant impact on family budgeting and how much support you will need to assist financially with your stepchildren. Furthermore, if you decide to legally adopt your stepchildren, it is best to understand how that will change your overall financial picture and obligations.

A person's financial situation can change very quickly, especially considering that the struggling economy and job market. Knowing this, it is important to make frequent assessments of your family's financial situation. In cases where you may not be able to make spousal or child support payments, it may be worth considering a request for payment modification. Likewise, it is important to stay abreast of your ex-spouse's financial situation, should there be a change in their arrangements for support payments.

Above all, keep lines of communication open. If you have children from a previous marriage, you will likely have to maintain some sort of relationship with your ex-spouse. At the same time, be sure to remain open and honest about your financial concerns and obligations with your new spouse in order to avoid financial headaches down the road.

Source: Fox Business, "Money Management Tips For Step Parents," Andrea Murad, April 16, 2012

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