Legal Effects of Remarriage

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 What Happens to Alimony After Remarriage?

Alimony is financial support that a person is ordered by a court to give to their spouse following divorce. Alimony orders often provide that the alimony ends on remarriage. If the order does not include such a provision, remarriage is one of the reasons your ex-spouse could request a court to end an alimony award. Alimony automatically terminates upon the remarriage or death of the recipient unless the decree of divorce says otherwise.

Moreover, alimony ends if the recipient cohabits with another person after the order for alimony is issued, but the other spouse cannot discontinue paying alimony. They must first prove the cohabitation to the court. Cohabition means to reside together, or to live together on a regular basis, in the same residence and in a relationship of a romantic or sexual relationship.

A motion to terminate alimony for cohabitation must be filed no later than one year from the day on which the party knew or should have known that the former spouse has started to cohabit with another person. Keep in mind that the party requesting the court to terminate alimony does not need to prove that the former spouse was cohabiting on the date they file their motion to terminate alimony.

What Happens to Child Support After Remarriage?

All parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children, even if those children are not in their physical custody. When a parent remarries, this often comes with financial consequences. For example, if a single, non-custodial father remarries and has another child, this could justify an alteration of the child support order regarding a child from a previous marriage.

In many states, a formula is utilized to calculate child support based on the parental income, including salary, tips, commissions, pension income, trust income, and social security benefits. Although a parent’s child support obligation will not change automatically when their lifestyle or income changes, either parent can petition the court to alter the child support order if there has been a material change in circumstances, such as remarriage. In calculating a child support award, courts generally cannot assign a new spouse’s income to the parent paying child support, as it is not considered “actual income.”

However, if a new spouse is paying all the parent’s bills, then the judge will consider this upon petition to modify the child support order. This can justify an upward adjustment in child support payments because the parent now has more expendable income. An experienced child support lawyer can subpoena financial records to determine who is paying a spouse’s bills in petitioning the court for a modification.

Courts are hesitant to reduce child support payments because a parent remarries and has other children. If the parent can demonstrate that their overall household expenses have increased, courts are unlikely to modify the award.

If you are paying or receiving child support and there is a shift in circumstances of the paying spouse, it is critical to file a modification request immediately. Keep in mind that child support payments cannot be retroactively modified.

If you are paying child support and your spouse remarries someone with a comfortable income, you should continue paying your child support payments on time, but consult a knowledgeable child support lawyer if needed. When people miss payments or fall behind on child support payments, the states can take action, such as garnishing your wages, denying your passport, taking your tax refund or unemployment compensation payments, or imposing jail time for more significant offenses.

Although remarriage does not terminate a parent’s obligation to pay child support, it may still have an impact. For instance, if a paying parent remarries a wealthy spouse, it is possible his or her child support obligation will increase since the new spouse’s additional income enables him or her to pay more support.

However, if a parent who has primary custody of a child remarries and noncustodial parent’s income has increased, the former cannot request additional support from the paying parent because his or her financial situations improved as a result of remarriage. Either parent can file a request to alter child support if there has been a significant change in scenarios.

State courts often permit modification if the current order is at least three years old, a parent cannot provide health care coverage for the child, or there has been another material change in circumstances, such as getting fired or suffering a serious injury.

What Happens to Child Visitation After Remarriage?

There is not a specific legal impact after a remarriage to child visitation but bear in mind that things may not be the same as they used to be before you remarried. For example, after remarriage your ex spouse may have other commitments now and you both may need to alter your schedules to meet the needs of both the families now. Therefore, after remarriage child visitation will shift but not to drastic legal extent. Moreover, the families can arrange to come to an agreement that helps meet both their needs.

Most lawyers agree that effective communication is key to building a working relationship for both the parents after remarriage. Additionally, the life changes that come with remarriage can be difficult for many children. It is crucial to understand the emotional aspect of the remarriage to better assist the families experiencing this. There is professional counseling available for families experiencing challenges in adjusting to the new family relationships.

What are Some Other Impacts of Remarriage?

Besides the legal impacts on remarriage there are changes in your living and financial arrangements. For instance, difficulties can arise in stepfamilies when a partner moves into an existing home, particularly if there are children living there. The living arrangements shift and therefore the family dynamics shift.

Children who enjoyed complete access to the family home may not welcome sharing their resources with newcomers, and conflict can arise. These scenarios can negatively impact some relationships therefore keep in mind that navigating these new relationships may create tensions.

Given this, it may be in the best interests of the new stepfamily to move to a house that is new to all parties, if possible, rather than moving into one of the existing houses. This can assist in establishing a neutral place for everyone to reside in. If this is not possible or realistic, and you are sharing a residence one of you residing in during your previous relationship, it is crucial to outline how this will take place. Additionally, it is important to discuss how money will be distributed.

Generally, money is often a measure of power and it is critical that both members of a couple feel that they have influence in a relationship. Couples who share finances need to consider and discuss important issues before – not after – moving in together. Money can create conflict in marriages and it is evident that remarriage will change the financial dynamics.

When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?

If you have remarried and have concerns about any legal issues that may arise from it. It is recommended to contact your local family law attorney to assist you with the process. Remarriage can have other impacts besides legal ones and it may be useful to examine those as mentioned earlier.

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