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Family sizes grow as people divorce and remarry

As an increasing number of Arizona couples have gotten divorced, the definition of "family" has also expanded. Many families are now headed by one stepparent, and they may have a blend of extended biological and step-relatives.

As divorces have become more common, the size of families has increased by 66 percent. For people who are in families that are headed by people who are under the age of 55, almost one-third have at least one stepparent. Among those who over 55, nearly one-third have at least one stepparent. Many divorced people remarry or live in cohabiting relationships, and they may have stepchildren, biological children and other relatives that are added to their families.

The expansion of American families means that both step- and biological children might have more elderly parents to care for as they age. Older people may also have more children on whom they might be able to rely. However, the addition of step-relations may not necessarily mean that the families are close. Some families are now composed of people who have weaker relationships with each other.

Divorces may involve much more than the division of assets and determinations about child custody and support. After couples divorce, they might remarry and add new family members. People who are getting divorced might want to talk to family lawyers about the legal issues involved with their divorces and the types of financial planning they might need to engage in. If they add to their families after their divorces, they might want to take time to think about how they will handle what can often be a stressful situation.

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