Child Alimony: How Remarriage Affects Alimony and Child Support

It’s common for one or both parties of a divorce to eventually remarry. A remarriage though brings up a host of issues including alimony, child support and rights of the stepparent.

Below are answers to some of the more frequent questions about remarriage submitted through DadsDivorce.com’s popular Ask a Lawyer feature:

  • Can income from a new spouse be used in computing child support?
  • My ex is getting remarried so can I stop paying alimony?
  • Can a judge order my fiancé to not be around my kids?
  • When awarding child support, do the courts take into consideration children from my other marriage?

New Spouse’s Income

When a divorced father remarries, he frequently asks will income from the new wife be used to determine child support payments?

Income from a new spouse is not considered because a new spouse does not have a legal duty to support the child, but it may be considered indirectly, according to Cordell & Cordell attorney Jennifer Paine.

For example, a new spouse may assume payments for the ex’s debts, thereby freeing the ex’s previously devoted resources for child support.

 

Alimony After Remarriage

Traditional alimony payments are modifiable when the support recipient (usually the ex-wife) remarries, Paine said. This is because support is intended to help the ex-wife maintain a standard of living that, when remarried, is easier to obtain.

Even before remarriage occurs, your ex-wife’s cohabitation can be used as an argument to reduce the amount of alimony. A cohabitating relationship is one marked with the signs of serious commitment akin to marriage, such as joint purchases, joint savings, joint debts, a financial dependence on each other, etc.

But there are exceptions, including lump sum payments, property settlement payments the recipient uses for support, and of course, agreed upon non-modifiable support.

 

Can a Judge Keep Me From Her Kids?

There have been dads who have come to Cordell & Cordell complaining that their ex-wife is threatening to withhold their children from visiting if they don’t like who they are dating or engaged to. Is this legal, they ask?

According to Jason Hopper, another Cordell & Cordell attorney, a judge could restrict a new relationship partner from coming in contact with the children if the judge felt that person’s presence in some way threatened the safety or welfare of the children, or otherwise acted in a manner that was not in the children’s best interests.

However, unless the new girlfriend or fiancé were a sex offender, drug abuser, or career criminal, it is very unlikely she would be restricted from being around the children.

 

Children From Other/Previous Marriages

Remarriages typically involve blending children from two different families. In that case, dads want to know if their ex-wife comes back for a child support modification, will the stepchildren he is now supporting be considered in the formula?

In determining child support, children born prior to the child at issue are considered, but children born after the child at issue are not considered.

 

Of course, the best advice in any of these situations is to seek out competent legal representation, particularly from an attorney who practices exclusively in domestic litigation. Cordell & Cordell represents men in divorce across the nation.

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6 comments on “Child Alimony: How Remarriage Affects Alimony and Child Support

    If my ex-wife got remarried do I have to continue to pay child support and I’m on disability I have major breathing and heart problems

    You would be able to apply for a modification based on disability, assuming the court buys into it and doesn’t in effect determine that you’re “sandbagging it” and apply an imputed income level based on your earnings history. However, your ex-wife remarrying doesn’t directly affect HER obligation to provide for your respective children any more than YOUR remarriage would.

    Typically, Section 4057.5 of the Family Code prohibits the income of the new spouse from being used to PAY support, it is asked for to estimate the tax liabilities of obligor and recipient. However, again, if your ex is also “sandbagging” it, for example, she worked during your marriage and thereafter, but now that she’s remarried, and her new husband brings in enough to live on, she quits her job to be a “stay-at-home” Mom. The court would generally look at that as a deliberate choice and would be inclined to impute likewise based on her earnings history. However, every case in different, and only an attorney examining your case and knowing how the family courts in your jurisdiction treat the matter can give legal advice.

    I would say that even if all goes your way that likely you’ll have to pay SOMETHING; the presumption being that if you were a widow(er) and the sole support and supervision of your minor child, or otherwise Mother is not in the picture, that you’d do so with the means that you have available, be it disability or whatever. Again, your medical problems and associated costs can be factored in calculating your child support obligation.

    My husband had his CS modified last year and it stated that it is to stop upon her remarrying. Is that possible? I’d never heard of that before. We assumed nothing would come of it because one is 15 and the other 12, that she wouldn’t be remarrying soon. She has told us that she will be remarrying this end of October. Do we need to let the judge know or how does that work?

    remarried and had kids how does this affect child support
    I remarried and had an additional 2 kids, how does this affect my payments of child support to the xwife? does my new wife’s salary get included and does my payment reduced now that I have 4 kids? 2 new and 2 xwife?

    I was paying child support and just recently remarried. But now my wife is signing the checks for the support. Does my ex have a case in court?

    FOR….??

    It’s amazing that a court order to attach your wages to pay the child support isn’t in effect; they’re fairly much mandatory in all states.

    It doesn’t matter WHO signed the bank checks to pay the support (and keep them, banks can be bought out or merged, and if you have to go back a few years to get your banking records you CAN be out of luck!), all that matters is that the support was PAID. It’s a good idea to always include the Family Law case, and specify (“June 2018 Child Support per 15FL03341, $847.00 of $847.00 ordered monthly”, or something like that). You don’t want your ex to make a bogus claim that you NEVER paid your support on the basis of insufficient documentation.

    In California, generally your ex has NO case for an increase in child support per section 4057.5. The burden of proof would be on her to demonstrate that you’re “sandbagging”, or deliberately under-performing (snicker, snicker) to avoid an increase. Just as the courts generally don’t grant a DECREASE for temporary “ups and downs” (the assumption being that you’d not accept that paltry level of earnings if you and Mother were together, having the best interests of your child(ren) in mind, but would seek to increase your earnings by whatever reasonable means are avialable), neither will the Court impute a higher level of earnings than your actual wages unless there is substantial evidence that indeed you’ve made a choice (voluntarily cutting hours, “going back to school”, or leaving a higher paying job and accepting a lower paying one on the expectation that eventually you’ll be making more). In general, you’re also not on the hook for “moonlighting”, as typically those arrangements are temporary (wouldn’t apply to National Guard or Reservist duties).

    However, remarriage, even when the new spouse substantially out-earns you, doesn’t increase YOUR obligations by default. Only an attorney can give you legal advice, so I’d discuss the particulars of your case with HIM/HER.

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