Posted by Jemma Breban on 19th December 2011

An estimated 18 million people in Britain today are part of a step-family. A relationship with a woman who already has children inevitably brings with it a good deal of extra responsibility.

If you don’t have children of your own, you are gaining an instant family. If you already have children of your own, you will face the daunting task of merging two families together. However sensitively this is managed, there is bound to be conflict along the way. Below we have put together some hints and tips to make the process a little easier.

It is natural that there will be some conflict. Children can be fiercely loyal to their biological parents and naturally find it challenging to accept a new ‘father figure’ into their lives. Nevertheless, children often appreciate the effort you are making to bring them on board even when the situation is difficult and becoming a step-dad can be a rewarding experience with the opportunity to create a stable and loving environment for everyone.

Parental Responsibility For Step-Dads

Step-dads can acquire Parental Responsibility through a formal agreement or Court Order but all others with parental responsibility must agree before it is granted.

On acquiring Parental Responsibility, a step-dads have the same duties and responsibilities as any other individual including a natural parent with Parental Responsibility. Same sex partners in a registered Civil Partnership are also able to acquire Parental Responsibility by formal agreement or Court Order.

Another order that results in Parental Responsibility to a step-dad or other individual (e.g. grandparent) is a Residence Order which regulates where a child will live and gives the individual with the Residence Order Parental Responsibility until the child is 16.

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