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.