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How Might Remarriage Affect My Divorce Settlement?

Call Today 559.900.1263

How Might Remarriage Affect My Divorce Settlement?

When you or your ex-spouse remarry, some of the agreements from your divorce may change. After a divorce, especially one involving children, one party may have a financial duty to the other through court-ordered payments of child support or spousal support. When your financial situation changes, as it does in remarriage, this could justify a modification to your divorce settlements, or the remarriage itself could stop payments altogether.

In California, spousal support payments will lawfully end when the receiving spouse remarries. Spousal support, also called alimony, is designed to financially assist the receiving spouse after the marriage ends, but when that individual remarries the responsibility therefore ends. While the supporting ex-spouse may choose to continue to make alimony payments, he or she is under no legal obligation to do so. This is not the same as a modification, so neither the receiving individual nor the payee should need to take any action to stop payments, as the remarriage will take care of that on its own under California law. However, the spouse who marries does have a legal obligation to inform the paying spouse of the remarriage.

If the paying spouse remarries, he or she will still need to make spousal support payments. If the marriage comes with a drastic change in financial position, a modification may be possible, but in most situations, the remarriage of the paying party will not change the obligation to continue alimony.

Child support payments, on the other hand, will likely be unaffected by the remarriage of either parent. While spousal support payments are paid for the benefit of the divorced individual, child support payments paid purely for the benefit of the child, not the parent who receives the support. For this reason, a remarriage does not often alter the responsibility either parent has to their child.

However, if the remarriage also comes with serious financial changes, the court may consider a modification to the support payments. For example, if the paying parent is now responsible for supporting other children from another relationship his or her financial situation may require an adjustment to the child support payments. A parent who makes child support payments may also wonder why payments are still necessary when the custodial parent and his or her new spouse are financially well-off. Even if the custodial parent is capable of taking on full financial responsibility for the child, the point of child support is to ensure that both parents take equal financial responsibility for their child. Therefore, it is in both parents’ best interest to continue making payments.

In some cases, when a divorced parent remarries they may wish to make adjustments to child custody. If they wish to relocate, for example, they may need to agree to a change in custody or seek permission from the child’s other parent. In other instances, the parent’s new spouse may wish to adopt the children from a previous marriage. This is not typically doable unless the non-custodial parent has relinquished all parental rights.

It is important to remember, however, that every situation is different. If you are remarrying, or your ex-spouse has remarried, it is important that you seek the professional advice of a family law attorney, especially if you have any concerns about your divorce settlements. Our firm can go over your settlements and help you determine your next step.

Contact Arnold Law Group, APC to discuss your situation with our Fresno family lawyers.