Step parents bring added joy into your life in the form of additional families. Obviously in some cases this can go awry and people don't always get on, but I've been lucky in the fact that I can count my step-parent's families as my own. They're all wonderful.
All relationships have their ups and downs, but when these are aired publicly via social media, problems can also arise - and lead to irreparable damage.
The divorce courts have become mired in disputes about who has what, and where. Not everyone loses out in this wrangling, of course. The lawyers' meters keep ticking as the very assets to be divided get depleted by fees.
It is sad to say that even the most amicable of break-ups can turn nasty when discussions about money start. Obviously a divorce will have a financial impact on lifestyle for most people. It seems this poses such a threat to some that they will go to great lengths to deprive the other side of what is legally theirs.
Divorce is never going to be easy for any of the parties involved - especially if children are part of the equation. Divorce is linked with a huge number of negative effects on children; not only the stress and anxiety of going through a period of severe change, but also a decline in exam results and even negative effects on health.
What you need to remember, that happy parents tend to have happier children. And if the two of you are much happier divorced, then your children will eventually accept, that divorce is a pure act of two adults who have decided they are no longer happy to be together.
At the heart is a child who is also hurting and confused and wants stability through this difficult time. More than that, they want time with each parent because they love them no matter what politics are going on.
It's important not to "stuff down" negative emotions and to face then head on. The more we face our fears the faster they will dissipate and the quicker we can be free from them. It's not always easy to do but there is a lot of help available these days to help us through these times.
As a divorce lawyer I am often asked what my general advice is for people contemplating or going through divorce. I thought it might be helpful for me to provide a brief summary via my blog in the hope it will prove helpful for people in this situation.
Involving forensic accountants as a matter of course, or even legal requirement, would deter deception and reduce the pain and anguish. if assets were valued at the start of a separation the process of divorce might generally be less fraught.
Some predict that marriage will soon be a thing of the past, and people will no longer see the need to legally bind themselves together. I find this unlikely. Most people don't marry because they fundamentally believe in the institution of marriage itself, they marry because it's the most socially acceptable way to 'keep someone'.
You will make mistakes no doubt about that. You will say things and do things with your child in the room that you wish you hadn't. Then you will spend time worrying that you have somehow permanently damaged him/her.
Many of us get stuck in a rut after a break-up and find it hard to move forward. It can be hard to get over someone when they are constantly in your thoughts. Confidence and self-esteem always take a hit when it's not your choice to end the relationship and hiding away can be a good way of avoiding having to face up to this.
The reasoning behind taking a sabbatical is that it provides a breathing space to reflect on your life, what your relationship means to you, ponder the good and the bad, really consider what it is you want. But are there other ways of reaching that same level of insight and awareness?
Following divorce proceedings, they gain residency of the 'object' that both parents probably care most about. She has one up on the father who is forced to resign his fatherly duties to alternate weekends. But what strain does this then put on the mother?
It is important to learn from ones mistakes. My Blackberry was like my first husband. It was the wrong decision from day one. I should have gone with an iPhone (and the redheaded hockey player who wore his dark side much closer to the surface).