Step and extended families
Social and economic changes have led to more diverse Australian families. Some families are getting bigger—more people divorcing and remarrying means more stepfamilies.
Each type of family offers its own benefits, but can also present unique practical, interpersonal and legal challenges.
Relationships in step and extended families can sometimes be more complex because of:
- conflicting expectations
- practical issues (e.g. living arrangements)
- past experiences.
If you are a member of a stepfamily you can find information and support from:
If you live in an extended family, you might find the following information useful:
- A guide for multigenerational families under one roof
- Carer support for those looking after seniors
- Becoming a grandparent
- Raising grandchildren
- Help with care and housing for seniors
- Advice on caring for the elderly
Help with family relationships of all kinds is available from:
There are a number of legal issues that can affect step or extended families. For example, you might want to change your child’s family name (surname) if it’s different from the rest of the family. A step-parent might want to adopt their stepchild.
Find information on some of the legal issues that can affect children in stepfamilies, including:
- adopting a stepchild
- alternatives to adoption—parenting orders, changing a family name and inheritance rights
- child support and stepchildren.
Contact Legal Aid Queensland for more information.
If you are living in an extended family in rental accommodation, remember that the owner of the property has a right to know about everyone who is living at the property. You need to have the owner’s permission before any new tenants or sub-tenants can move in.
If you are letting or sub-letting a property, you should always use a written agreement even if the person renting from you is a family member.
Read more about share homes, co-tenancies and sub-letting.