During the process of your divorce, any issues regarding child support were decided in your divorce decree, a court-ordered document. However, if your ex-spouse remarries into an improved financial situation, are you still responsible for the same amount of child support?
This is a good question. With spousal support, a change in financial circumstances for either spouse can trigger a modification order. However, this isn’t the case with child support. The ultimate goal of child support is to allow both parents to provide equitably for their child. Remarriage typically will not change child support payments, either for the person paying them or for the person receiving them. Even when parents remarry, their responsibility to their children does not change.
Unless a court is provided with significant financial information that speaks to the need for a change, child support orders remain effective until the children become legal adults – no matter the relationship status of their parents. Therefore, while it is potentially possible that your child could receive additional support if your ex-spouse remarries, the more likely response is “no.”
Modifications to child support orders
Child support only factors in the parent’s income, not a new spouse. It doesn’t count who else contributes to the household or how much money they make – the parent’s income is the only factor.
That being said, if you bring in more money that significantly increases your personal income by at least 25%, then your ex-spouse may want to modify the child support agreement. (The same is true if the positions are reversed.) A modification can be made if there has been a “material change in circumstances” for that parent or the child. Other reasons why a child support order may be modified, either to increase or decrease the amount paid, include:
- Additional expenses required for a child’s healthcare, such as those associated with a long-term illness or severe injury.
- Significant loss of income of the paying parent, such as the loss of a job.
- One parent being sentenced to jail or prison.
If you are paying or receiving child support and are planning on remarrying, talk to the attorneys at Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC. We’ll work to ensure your financial interests are protected. For a consultation at our Annapolis office, please call 410.921.2422 or fill out our contact form.