After a divorce is finalized, many parents wonder how child support payments may be impacted after they remarry someone else in the future. In general, when a parent marries again, the new marriage won’t affect current child support orders. This is because only the biological parent’s income will be a factor in how much child support should be paid or received.
Child Support Modification
Your former spouse cannot file a request for child support modification simply because you have married someone else. He or she can seek a modification if there are other legitimate reasons for doing so, such as an increase or decrease in earnings, injury or illness, or a change in the child’s needs. If one parent — either the recipient or paying — decides to request modification, they will have to bring forward evidence to the court as to why this update needs to occur.
The court won’t have much patience for a parent who frequently requests changes, so it’s important to consult with your attorney and make sure that it is the right time to submit a petition. Depending on the terms listed in the divorce settlement, the parents may not be allowed to file for modification at all, or strictly when certain life circumstances arise. It may be a good idea to review the court documentation about the child support payments for clarity before moving forward.
Valid reasons for filing a child support petition include:
- One of the parents has been let go from his or her job
- The child has a new medical or educational need
- One of the parents has been given a large inheritance
- One parent is serving time behind bars
- There have been significant changes to how much time each parent spends with their child
- An increase in household expenses for either parent
- A joint tax return for the paying spouse and new spouse may have been confiscated to fulfill a child support obligation, and the new spouse wants their half returned
Late Child Support Payments
Child support payments may halt for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the paying parent forgot, is facing financial hardships, or is trying to seek revenge on the other parent. Whatever the reason is, the recipient parent does have the right to notify the court and request that they hold the paying spouse accountable for back payments. If the paying spouse has remarried, the court can garnish his or her wages, but not the earnings of the new spouse’s income.
The new spouse can offer to help with child support payments if they wish, but such a gesture is not required by the court. However, the court will not prohibit the new spouse from helping out with overdue child support payments until their spouse can get back onto their own financial footing. The main concern of the court will be whether the child is getting the funds he or she needs to live the best life possible.