Family Law

Stepfamilies and The Blended family

Stepfamilies and the blended family

Step-parenting is a common experience in our society. When it comes to step-parenting it is the best interests of the children that must come first and will require delicate handling.  It can take years for a family to rebuild, so it is wise to be aware of this and be patient.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines “a family” as

  • two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (regular or de facto), adoption, step or fostering, and who are usually resident in the same household.”

ABS also defined the basis of a “family” as being

  • formed by the identification of the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. This means that some households will have more than one family.

Families are the basic unit of society and the place where most children grow up (Weston & Qu 2014).  In 2015 about 88% of the Australian population were living in family households; of adults in private dwellings, 64% were married (52%) or in a de facto marriage (12%).

Of the 5.2 million children 0-17 years, 21% had a natural parent living elsewhere and of these children, 75% lived in one parent families, 10% in step families and 12% in blended families.

By definition, stepfamilies are made up of two adults at least one of whom has children from a previous relationship.  It may be that each adult has children, and it may be that ex-partners have also re-partnered. The new partnership may also have a child.

There is plenty of information and support available.  Stepfamilies Australia offer a range of resources, educational tools and training for family members including tip sheets and information on topics such as

  • Tips sheets
    • Being a stepparent;
    • Stepfamilies – Teamwork
    • Stepfamilies – A Kids’ Guide;
    • Stepfamilies – A Teen’s Guide;
    • Stepfamilies and Schools.
  • Resources
    • Stepfamilies and the child support system.

Quick Tips

  • Give it time and build trust slowly
  • Balance optimism with a realistic approach and remember that the children didn’t choose this new arrangement
  • With your partner, role model a loving, respectful and emotionally secure relationship for the children
  • Be kind to yourself – remember it might take some years for this new arrangement to settle
  • Make it clear to the children that you are not replacing their mother/father, but you will support them whenever they need you
  • Understand the house rules and agree to stick to them
  • Be a support but leave the disciplining to your partner

Where to access further information:-

Family Relationships Advice Line 1800 050 321

Raising Children www.raising

MyMob – a communication app to stay connected to one another wherever you live

De Saxe O’Neill – experienced Northern Beaches Family Law lawyers


  • The Law sociaty of NSW
  • Doyles - Family Law 2020
  • Doyles - Family Law 2022
  • Family Law Section - Law Council of Australia - Member 2021/2022
  • Collaborative Professionals (NSW) inc

Contact Us

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Phone: 02 9948 3820