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Divorce makes family structures more complex

North Carolina residents may have trouble identifying their family members as divorce complicates how families are structured. Of families headed by someone under the age of 55, roughly 33 percent are headed by a stepparent. Of those who are 55 or older and have adult children, roughly one-third have a stepchild. This was according to data from research conducted by a professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston and other parties.

The data indicates that about 30 percent of those over the age of 50 have been married multiple times. Overall, the divorce rate for those over the age of 50 has doubled according to a study from Bowling Green University. Getting married for a second or third time could lead to conflict over how to treat children from these marriages. Couples may also have conflicts over whether to take vacations or spend money on children in the current marriage instead of those in former marriages.

Stepchildren may also have to answer questions as to what their obligations are to a stepparent compared to a biological parent. As a general rule, stepchildren tend to give less time to stepparents while stepparents tend to give less time to their stepchildren. This may negate the benefit of older stepparents having more children to help them out as they age.

After a divorce, there may be questions related to who may get custody or other rights to a child. If a divorced parent gets married again, those questions may be even more complicated to answer. An attorney may be able to help a parent learn more about his or her rights after the end of a marriage. A child's biological parents may be more likely to be granted custody or visitation even if the other parent gets remarried.

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