Can Changes in Circumstances Affect Child Support and Alimony Agreements?

Following a divorce, many individuals feel as though they’ve been given a new lease on life. With this fresh start and plethora of opportunities for new beginnings, they can fall in love again, get remarried, and maybe even have more children. But how does remarriage impact legal agreements such as child support obligations and alimony payments?

When people consider significant life changes that may impact their ability (or need) to pay child support or alimony, some of the first examples that come to mind are job loss, new illnesses or injuries that force a person to miss work, and increases or decreases in income. Does the recipient spouse getting remarried count as a significant change in circumstances?

A family law court will decide whether to modify an existing child support or alimony arrangement because of remarriage based on the unique factors of each individual case.

Does Remarriage Impact Child Support Payments?

If the recipient spouse remarries, does the paying spouse still need to provide child support payments? In many cases, yes. When either parent remarries, family law does not typically regard remarriage as a single, solitary ground for modifying child support obligations. The new spouse’s income is not generally considered a legitimate reason to modify existing child support payments.

While there may be some exceptions to this rule, California family law courts will always do what they believe is in the best interests of the children, and remarriage may not be deemed adequate grounds for child support modifications.

If you are paying child support to your ex-spouse and he or she is getting remarried, you may wish to have your payments decreased or terminated. To pursue this aim, you will need to file a request with the courts and provide additional reasons to back up your request.

Will Having New Children Affect Child Support Obligations?

If you are the paying spouse and you have new children in a new relationship, you may think that this is a reason to decrease or terminate your child support obligations from your previous relationship. This is not the case. You are voluntarily having more children in another relationship, and that is not considered a valid legal argument to request the court to lower or terminate child support payments.

Changes in either parent’s income, job loss, incarceration, parenting time, and changes in a child’s needs may be acceptable reasons for modifying child support orders in California.

Does Getting Remarried Affect Spousal Support?

Alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is not awarded in every divorce case. Alimony is typically only awarded in California divorces where there is a considerable difference in income and ability to maintain a standard of life that was previously enjoyed during the marriage.

But what happens if you or your former spouse get remarried?

If the supported spouse (the spouse who is the recipient of alimony payments) remarries, then the paying spouse automatically has their obligations to provide alimony terminated. In fact, it is not even necessary to file a motion to terminate alimony or take any other type of court action.

The receiving spouse must inform the paying spouse of their new marriage, or else the family law courts will order the recipient spouse to provide the paying spouse with a refund. If the supported spouse claims that the paying spouse must continue their alimony obligations despite the remarriage, the paying spouse must take these matters to court and file a motion to terminate support. During this time, the paying spouse may also request a refund for any excess payments.

Does Cohabitation Affect Alimony in California?

Spousal support is automatically terminated when the recipient spouse remarries. But how do California family law and alimony rules pertain to cohabitation with nonmarital partners?

Under the California Family Code, cohabitation can be perceived by a family law judge as a significant change in circumstances, which may result in alimony payments being reduced or terminated. Unless the recipient spouse can establish that they still need alimony payments while they are living with someone else, a judge may presume that a reduction in alimony or termination is appropriate.

It is important to note that, in these circumstances, cohabitation is more than just a roommate situation. Cohabitation requires a personal, often romantic relationship. However, some courts may still find the need to modify alimony payments, even if it’s just a roommate who is affecting the supported spouse’s financial situation. Also worth knowing is that the cohabitant’s income will not be part of any considerations at a courtroom hearing.

Contact Us to Schedule Your Case Evaluation with an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

Remarriage can open up a new world of possibilities for individuals after a divorce. However, some of their previous legal obligations may still persist.

The Law Office of Patrick O’Kennedy has extensive experience representing clients in a variety of family law cases, including divorce matters, child support negotiations, alimony disagreements, and more. Our highly skilled legal team would be proud to assist you with these legal matters as you pursue the most optimal outcome for your case possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about how remarriage may affect child support obligations or alimony payments, please don’t hesitate to contact our Orange, CA, law offices to schedule your initial consultation today. In your consultation, we will discuss your legal options and help you determine the right path forward.

Call The Law Office of Patrick O’Kennedy to schedule your consultation today. You may reach us at 714-701-6356.