Whether or not your spouse has been granted joint custody or visitation of this child, your spouse has a legal responsibility here, and you and your family will be financially affected, so it’s crucial that you find a way to deal with it.
1. Think of this child as you would a child from a previous marriage (even though he or she may be younger than your own children.)
It helps to approach this situation as you would children from a previous marriage. It may make it easier to accept the child and treat him or her normally.
2. Be certain you have all the legal aspects handled.
Consult a lawyer, and go over your finances, your wills, health care arrangements, etc. If something bad happens, you don’t want a lack of legal preparation to make it worse. Once you have the legal details handled, you can forget about them unless or until you need them. 3. It’s difficult to know what to tell the children.
As tough as it is, I believe telling the truth is the best policy. If you have small children, you can just tell them this is their “stepsister” or “stepbrother” and they’ll accept that. If the children are older, and you explain this is a child from another relationship, they’ll be upset, but they’ll learn to deal with it. How you deal with extended family depends on how close you are. Close family will probably need to know the truth.Tina Tessina, Ph.D., has been a licensed California psychotherapist for more than 30 years. She has authored more than 11 books, including "Money, Sex and Kids"; “The Commuter Marriage: Keeping your Relationship Close While you’re Far Apart”; "How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free"; "The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again"; and, “It Ends with You: Grow Up and Grow Out of Dysfunction.” Tina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.