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How Does Remarriage Affect My Spousal Support?

second marriage and spousal support

How Does Remarriage Affect My Spousal Support?

When it comes to remarriage, you may be unsure how it will affect your spousal support arrangements. Remarriage in fact can have a major impact on spousal support. If you are considering remarrying, make sure to review the specifics in your divorce decree on spousal support. Your spousal support may very well end with remarriage. In this article, we will discuss the various ways in which remarriage can affect your spousal support agreement, including changes to the amount of support or its duration.

If You Get Remarried

Spousal support (sometimes known as alimony) is a court-ordered financial arrangement that requires the paying spouse to make regular payments to the receiving spouse. It is designed to help the receiving spouse support themselves after a divorce because one spouse was the primary breadwinner for the couple while they were married.

If the paying spouse gets remarried, the court order does not usually end. The paying spouse may still be legally obligated to continue making payments until the receiving spouse remarries or until the court order ends. Generally, if you are responsible for paying spousal support to your ex and you get remarried, you will still need to pay.

If Your Former Spouse Remarries

According to California Family Code 4337, the former spouse responsible for paying spousal support no longer has to pay if the receiving spouse dies or remarries. When a former spouse remarries, the alimony payments may terminate because the remarriage of the recipient spouse is typically assumed to provide financial support and relieve the former spouse from an obligation to pay alimony.

If your former spouse remarries, the assumption is that you are no longer responsible or needed for support. When and how spousal support ends is usually outlined in the divorce decree. If for some reason, you should refer to California applicable law. Always rely on the specifics of your divorce decree about your spousal support obligation, whether you are the paying spouse or receiving spouse.

Sometimes the receiving spouse may not remarry if they are dependent on the support awarded at the time of the divorce. Spousal support is to designed to help a receiving spouse support themselves including, housing, food, and other necessities, after the divorce. Spousal support comes in designated time periods. It can last a few years including rehabilitative support which is designed to allow the receiving spouse to get back into the work force and become self sufficient. Some support is designated permanent which means support continues until the paying spouse dies or the receiving spouse remarries. Some ex spouses will require life insurance on the paying spouse to ensure that have money they would have received is replaced by insurance benefits should the paying spouse pass away.

Are There Situations Where Alimony Continues After Remarriage?

In some situations, alimony may continue after remarriage. California allows spousal support to continue after the remarriage of the party receiving payments if both parties agree to it in writing.

Spousal maintenance can be requested by the receiving spouse if they are unable to support themselves financially after a divorce. The payments would be based on the other spouse’s ability to pay and the financial needs of the receiving spouse. However, there are cases where both parties will agree to continue the support.

Generally though, when the receiving spouse remarries, the financial obligations of the paying spouse will end, but there are instances in which making payments may still be required. For example, if a person has been ordered to make spousal maintenance payments for a certain period of time or if they have a significant amount of money coming in from other sources such as investments, then they may still be obligated to make those payments even after they remarry. It is important to look at the specifics of your divorce decree before thinking payments are no longer required.

Does Remarriage Impact Child Support?

When a former spouse remarries, it does not have a direct impact on the child support obligation. A new spouse’s income and debts are not taken into account to modify the existing order. Generally, the person paying child support will still need to pay the same amount as outlined in the court order. There may be other reasons to revisit child support obligations such as a significant increase or decrease in income.

If a new union results in new children it may be worth revisiting child support to see if there is a need to recalculate child support. You cannot reduce your payments to your children by a previous marriage due to financial obligations with the new family. You need to discuss your concerns with a family law attorney to see if it is reasonable to petition the court for a modification of child support. If there is, then child support can be legally modified by the court.

Schedule a Consultation With a Divorce Attorney Bradley Bayan

Recently relocated to offices in Redwood City, CA, Bradley Bayan has been practicing Domestic Relations law for over 20 years with an emphasis on divorce law which includes dissolution of marriage, child custody, spousal support, and distribution of marital assets. Contact the Law Offices of Bradley D. Bayan at (650) 364-3600 to schedule a free consultation. 

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