Remarriage and Child Custody Rights

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What are Some Legal Issues Involved With Remarriage and Child Custody Rights?

Remarriage after a divorce or legal separation can have several far-reaching legal effects.  In particular, remarriage can have drastic effects on child custody rights.  Generally speaking, child custody and visitation orders are created with the “child’s best interests” in mind. 

After remarriage, the circumstances may change such that the custody arrangement no longer serves in the child’s best interest.  In such cases, the court may decide to modify an existing child custody order to incorporate the changes brought about by the remarriage. 

What if the Custodial Parent Remarries?

The main concern here is how the child will interact with their new stepfather or stepmother.  In some cases, having a new parent in the home can cause difficulties for the child or children from the prior marriage.  If this is the case, the parties may need to have their custody/visitation schedule re-evaluated.  Again, the court will consider the child’s best interests, not the parents’, when reformulating the custody order.

Also, if the custodial parent remarries, it may affect the distribution of child support payments.  This is especially true if the new spouse is able to provide extra financial assistance for the child.  In such cases, the non-custodial parent’s child support obligations may be reduced accordingly.

What if the Non-Custodial Parent Remarries?

For the non-custodial parent, remarriage can actually have some favorable effects in terms of custody and visitation.  This is because most courts view remarriage as creating a more stable environment for the child than if the parent were single.  Of course, the court must still consider the child’s needs, but remarriage can translate into more custodial and visitation time for the parent. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With Remarriage and Child Custody Rights?

The interaction between remarriage and child custody rights can often present many challenges for the parents and the children.  If you need assistance with remarriage laws in your area, you may wish to speak with a family lawyer immediately.  A competent attorney can help you during court proceedings, and can explain how the custody laws in your area will affect your rights as a parent. 

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Last Modified: 07-19-2012 02:07 PM PDT

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