Complex Family Structure Lawyers in New Jersey
Experienced Law Firm Handling Complex Family Law Issues in Brick, Holmdel, Freehold, and Colts Neck NJ
Family structure in the U.S. has changed significantly over the last 60 years. With the arrival of women into the workforce and university classrooms, a societal shift moved gradually away from the notion of getting married fresh out of high school. People began to put marriage on hold for at least four or five years while they moved up the career ladder, earned a college degree, or both. Couples who wanted a family without leaving their jobs had fewer children than their parents. The cost of living was also on the rise, making having several children difficult for a young family. By the 1980s, nearly 50% of all marriages ended in divorce, a figure that had not changed until recently. Children of the ’80s and 90s lived in two homes after their parents divorced. They were obligated to receive stepparents and half brothers and sisters.
Because of that high divorce rate and living among conflict and strangers, many children have grown up a little gun-shy about getting married. They don’t want to go through the struggle they watched their parents suffer when their parents divorced. The divorce rate now is 40%, significantly lower than before. Couples are waiting into their late twenties and early thirties before committing. Some marry, but others live together and leave it at that. Their focus has changed as they want to travel, work, explore, educate themselves, and tick off some things on their bucket list. A house, marriage, and babies used to be on the bucket list as far back as the 1970s, but now their list has changed.
Our family law firm, Bronzino Law, is constantly staying updated about recent legal developments and is skilled at developing original solutions to meet the changing needs of complex family structures in Tinton Falls, Sea Bright, Eatontown, Point Pleasant, Red Bank, Wall, Toms River, and elsewhere in Ocean and Monmouth County. Get in contact with a firm that has proven expererience in handling problems arising from non-traditional family structures. Call (732) 812-3102 or complete our online contact form to share the details about your particular situation and let our attorneys create a personalized solution for your case.
Statistics Depicting Complex Family Structures in NJ
According to a recent study, when asked if marriage was important if you want to have children, 76% of women said it was not, while 44% of men responded in kind. The study also found that 31% of women 45 and older had children from two separate fathers; of that group, 18% had more than two fathers. These kinds of unions make for complex relationships between the parents and the children. A famous example of a very complex relationship is that of actor and musician Nick Cannon, who has eleven children with six women. Most of the children were born in the last three years. If the children’s mothers choose to marry, a stepfather and possibly his stepchildren would be brought into the picture. If one were to add on children born into that relationship, it would probably require a genealogist to map everything out.
Different Types of Complex Families
The concept of family has evolved significantly over the years, and the definition of what constitutes a family can vary widely depending on cultural, social, and legal contexts. Here are some ways in which the concept of family has evolved:
Until the early seventies, families often lived in multi-generational groups, including grandparents and sometimes aunts, uncles, or cousins. Nuclear families with only the parents and their children are the norm today.
As divorce rates have augmented significantly, blended families have become more frequent. When a couple gets married and both have children from a previous relationship, it is referred to as a blended family. Stepparents and stepchildren share the home. Sometimes the children get a bonus pair of step-grandparents as well.
The recognition of same-sex marriages facilitated by reproductive procedures such as IVF and surrogacy, as well as adoption rights, have led to the formation of same-sex families, where two parents of the same gender raise the children.
Patrifocal and matrifocal families have become more common due to divorce, abandonment, and unwed motherhood. 27% of all births measured between 2015 and 2020 were born out of wedlock or live-in relationships.
In some cultures, multigenerational families are still typical, with several generations living together under one roof. Families influenced by other countries’ traditions and cultures sometimes continue to maintain an extended family under one roof. It is not unusual for grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins to share a home. Frequently, grown children do not leave home until marriage, and in rare cases, the newlyweds move in with the family while saving for their own place.
Boomerang families occur when adult children move out, usually to go to college, but are forced to return home for economic reasons after graduation. The complexity of this family is caused when the adult children have children of their own; those children establish a close relationship with their grandparents, and sometimes visitation battles ensue.
Overall, the concept of family has become more diverse and inclusive over time, requiring laws to adapt and shift with the variations on the theme of what a family can be.
How Are Complex Families Made Today?
Complex families, formed through remarriages, step-parenting, adoption, or other non-traditional arrangements, are created in various ways nowadays.
When one or both partners in a previous marriage divorce or are widowed, they may choose to remarry and form a new family. This can result in step-parents, step-siblings, and half-siblings.
Meanwhile, some individuals or couples may explore adopting children domestically or internationally while also having their own biological children. In addition, with reproductive technology evolving continuously, methods such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or surrogacy allow single parents or infertile couples to have children.
New Jersey Family Courts’ View on Complex Family Structures
The family courts are designed to handle various issues related to complex family structures, including child custody, child support, visitation rights, and property division. Regarding child custody and visitation issues, family courts typically prioritize the child’s best interests. This means that they will consider various factors when determining which parent or guardian should have custody, including the child’s age, health, and overall well-being, as well as the ability of each parent to provide a stable and loving home.
In cases involving complex family structures, such as step-parents or blended families, the courts may also consider the relationship between the child and other family members, such as step-siblings or half-siblings. They may also consider the child’s wishes, particularly if they are older and can express their preferences.
Regarding child support and property division, family courts will generally consider the financial resources of both parents or guardians and any pre-existing agreements, such as prenuptial agreements or cohabitation agreements. They may also consider the length of the marriage or cohabitation and any contributions made by each partner to the household.
Overall, family courts will seek to provide a fair and equitable resolution to any issues related to complex family structures while prioritizing the well-being of any children involved.
Consult our Family Lawyers to Tackle Issues Arising from Complex Families in Monmouth or Ocean County, NJ
A family attorney can be valuable when dealing with complex family issues. Family law is a specialized area of law that deals with issues related to marriage, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, adoption, and other family-related matters.
The Bronzino Law Firm has worked with many complex families for over 10 years in Brick, Lakewood, Middletown, Tinton Falls, Ocean Township, Howell, Barnegat, Lacey, and other communities in Monmouth and Ocean County. We believe every family is unique and will listen to your concerns. Our family law attorneys aim to manage your legal issues to protect you and your family. Our role is to provide legal knowledge and possible outcomes in a way that you understand and feel comfortable with.