The end of a marriage doesn’t necessarily shrink the family unit, according to researchers. All across the United States, Wyoming included, families are getting bigger due to remarriage and stepfamilies. A person facing divorce may have some fears of reducing the number of individuals with whom to share life, but actually, the opportunities can continue to grow over a lifetime.

A group of researchers have found that divorce is making families in America 66 percent bigger, once stepchildren, stepparents and extended family is accounted for. In households headed by an individual 55 years of age or younger, almost a third include a stepparent. In couples over 55 that have adult children, a similar number have a stepchild. 

The relationships expand both the size and definition of a family, and have given rise to questions about what to call some of the new family members, as well as raising some questions about obligation and responsibility to those who aren’t directly related. While divorce rates are down overall, rates are rising for older Americans, and more of those older individuals are remarrying. In practice, the data shows that individuals have less time to devote to children. 

Some fear the reduction of a divorce, whether it is financial, romantic or familial. This does not have to be the case, as the results of the study shows. With careful planning, and the possible help of an attorney, an individual in Wyoming may find the healthy growth and generation of new relationships after the end of a marriage. 

Source: Bloomberg, “Divorce Is Making American Families 66% Bigger“, Ben Steverman, Dec. 18, 2017