It’s a situation many divorced parents face: You divorced many years ago and at that time agreed to paying child support every month. Now you’re getting married again and will need to help support your new stepchildren too. Alternatively you might be considering starting a family with your new spouse and would like to gain a better sense of your financial responsibilities. Regardless of what your circumstances might be, you may want to know whether you have any legal options.
Child support laws vary by state; however, there are general principles or rules that remain the same (or similar) irrespective of where you reside. The following information can help you to gain a sense of your legal rights regarding child support after remarrying. You should follow up with a lawyer to clarify these rules and ensure you have not missed anything.
When the Custodial Parent is Remarrying
The custodial parent will have sole custody of the child. This parent would spend the majority of time with the child and receive child support. If you are the custodial parent and are getting remarried, it is a good idea to consider how this could affect your child support.
In general, remarriage will not affect whether or not you receive child support. Under the law, the child’s’ birth parents have a responsibility to care for the child. In nearly all states, the court will not reduce child support payments when the custodial parent chooses to remarry.
It is possible, however, for the non custodial parent to file a motion to contest the original child support agreement if he or she feels that is no longer fair. This could particularly apply when the new spouse can provide financial assistance for the child. In this case, a judge might order the payments to be reduced. Until this happens, child support payments likely will remain the same.
Adopting Children from a Previous Marriage
Only if the non custodial spouse has agreed to relinquish his or her parental rights can your new spouse adopt the custodial parent’s children. If the non custodial parent is actively involved in their children’s life, it is very unlikely for a judge to grant a request for adoption. Should the non custodial parent agree to terminating their rights, he or she will not be responsible for paying child support. Your new spouse would be legally obligated to take on any financial responsibilities of the child during or after the marriage (in the event of a divorce).
When You No Longer Need Child Support
If your remarriage has given you greater financial stability and child support is no longer needed, you have the right to opt out of payments. However, this is not advisable because you don’t know what the future holds. If you’re considering this, a better option might be to put the money in a special account for your child’s education fund.
When the Non Custodial Parent Remarries
When the non custodial of a parent remarries, they will still be obligated to pay for their child’s care. The court believes that no child from a previous marriage should financially suffer because of their parents wish to start a new life. There are many exceptions to this situation, as well as, considerations such as combined income, taxes, and so forth. It is advisable for a non custodial parent to discuss the financial challenges that could arise with a family law attorney Plano, TX residents turn to.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Scroggins Family Law for their knowledge about child support and family law.