Stepfamilies

Each year approximately one million American children and adolescents will experience their parents' divorce. Most of their parents (70-75%) will remarry or begin living with a new partner within three to five years. These new families are labeled stepfamilies or blended families. The 1996 United States census indicated that 32 percent of African-American, 16 percent of Hispanic, and 15 percent of Caucasian children live in stepfamilies. Approximately one-fourth of all American children will live in a stepfami-ly before they reach adulthood. Most children and adolescents who live in stepfamilies live with their biological mother—17 percent of children are in the father's custody after the divorce. More than half of second marriages end in divorce within the first five years. Consequently, children in stepfamilies may experience a second divorce. Research indicates that the more divorces children experience, the more they are negatively affected.

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