Divorce and Blended Families - Tessmer Law Firm
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Divorce and Blended Families

Divorce and Blended Families

Today, we continue our movie recommendations with a great story about the struggle to produce a happy, blended family after divorce.



Stepmom is a 1998 film starring Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon and Ed Harris. The movie tells the story of Luke and Jackie Harrison (Harris and Sarandon), a divorced couple struggling to raise their children, Ben and Anna, and create a new blended family. Luke is living with his new girlfriend Isabel (Roberts), who is several years younger. Isabel tries hard to befriend Ben and Anna. Ben seems comfortable and happy with her, but Anna completely rejects her. Anna and Jackie do not get along at all. Isabel believes that Jackie overcompensates for the divorce by spoiling the children. Jackie, who left her career to be a stay-at-home mom, thinks Isabel is an overly ambitious career woman.


Luke and Isabel decide to marry, which causes even more friction between Isabel and Jackie. Then, Jackie is diagnosed with terminal cancer. She experiences a range of negative emotions, angry at Isabel, who she feels was responsible for breaking up her family. She is angry that after all the sacrifices she has made for them, she will not live to see her children grow up.


As Anna begins to finally warm up to Isabel, Isabel and Jackie continue to clash, mainly over Isabel’s parenting style. After Ben goes missing on Isabel’s watch, the two women establish a truce, forced to accept that Jackie is dying and Isabel will be a mother to Anna and Ben. The women bond when Isabel tells Jackie how much she admires her maternal instincts. Jackie, in turn, praises Isabel’s youth and style as a way to connect with Anna. The film ends with the family celebrating Christmas. As Isabel is taking a family photo of Luke and Jackie with their children, Jackie invites Isabel to be included in the picture.


The lessons to be learned from this movie are all about blended families. With divorce as prevalent as it is today, many children have step-parents and step-siblings. As long as your child’s future stepmom or stepdad is not a criminal and is not harming them, it is in your child’s best interest that you help them accept the new family arrangement. Just as a divorced parent should never speak ill of their ex to their child, they also should never disparage the child’s future step-parent. Even if you feel they are the cause of your breakup, this person is going to be in your child’s life. If you can come to a place where you can all get along together and maybe even like each other, how awesome would that be for your kids?  Always keep your children’s best interests in mind.  If necessary, seek out a family counselor to help bring everyone together. Your kids will thank you for it someday.

Tessmer Law Firm, PLLC can help you navigate your divorce and will always work for the best interest of your children.  Call us at 210-368-9708 to schedule a consultation. We are your San Antonio family lawyers putting families first!