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Step family statistics, types of custody, interesting facts and figures....we've got it all right here! See what you're up against, statistically. Beat the odds and make your step family work!


  • One out of two marriages ends in divorce
  • 52-62% of all first marriages will eventually end in divorce.
  • 75% of divorced persons eventually remarry.
  • 43% of all marriages involve a remarriage
  • About 65% of remarriages involve children from the prior marriage
  • 60% of all remarriages eventually
    end in divorce
  • 40.9% of all unmarried couples living together also have children living with them
  • Of children under 18 years of age
    living in two-parent households:
    • 10.3% lived with a biological
      mother and stepfather
    • 0.6% lived with a biological
      father and stepmother
    • 9.8% lived with a combined stepmother-stepfather household.
  • 1 out of 3 Americans is now a stepparent, a stepchild, a stepsibling,
    or some other member of a stepfamily













Sole: Sole custody means that only the custodial parent has physical custody and legal custody of a child, and that the noncustodial parent has visitation rights. In most states, courts are moving away from awarding sole custody to one parent, and they are often enlarging the role a father plays in his children's lives. This translates into physical custody for one parent with joint legal custody shared by both -- plus a generous visitation schedule. Courts may not hesitate to award physical custody to the father if the mother is deemed unfit. It's understandable that there may be animosity between you and your ex-spouse, but sole custody shouldn't be sought unless the parent is a direct harm to the children.

Joint: Parents who don't live together have joint custody (also called shared custody) when they agree, or a court orders them, to share the decision-making responsibilities for, and/or physical control and custody of, their children. Joint custody may be joint legal custody, joint physical custody (where the children spend a significant portion of time with each parent) or both.

A common pattern is for children to split weeks between each parent's house. Other joint physical custody arrangements include alternating years or six-month periods, or spending weekends and holidays with one parent while spending weekdays with the other.

Physical: Physical custody is the right of a parent to have a child live with him. Some states recognize the concept of joint physical custody where the child spends approximately half the time in each parent's home. The latter arrangement is tricky and should be considered only if you have an amicable, respectful relationship with your ex. Also, it works best if you live near the other parent. This lessens the stress on children and allows them to maintain a somewhat normal routine.

Legal: Legal custody of a child is the right and obligation to make decisions about a child's upbringing. Decisions regarding schooling, and medical and dental care, for example, are made by a parent with legal custody. In many states, courts now award joint legal custody to the parents, which means that the decision making is shared. If you share joint legal custody with the other parent and exclude him or her from the decision-making process, your ex can take you back to court and ask the judge to enforce the original custody agreement.


There is a holiday called
"Step Family Day"?
It is celebrated on September 16

In Oregon, there are laws granting
step parents certain rights

The UK has addressed issues of
stepparent rights and responsibilities.
There is an entire legal process
there to acquire rights and
responsibilities as a step parent.

In the U.S., twenty states have a statute imposing a financial responsibility
on the stepparent while the stepchild
is living in the household.
They are Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa,
Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire,
New Jersey, New York, North Carolina,
North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon,
South Dakota, Utah, Vermont
and Washington.

The duty to support stepchildren is
considered in the guielines for child
support calculation in 4 states:
Michigan,New Hampshire,
South Dakota and Vermont