Moving on from divorce takes time and effort. However, a lot of divorced spouses will eventually enter new romantic relationships, and some will decide to remarry. The ramifications of divorce can affect the spouses far beyond the final judgment and usually include responsibilities and rights that become erased because the marriage is over. When one of the divorced spouses remarries, a question of how this change in marital status affects the terms of a prior divorce tends to emerge. Sometimes there can be both legal and practical issues that arise, and a return to court may be needed to determine if some of these obligations are no longer applicable or need to be revised to reflect the new circumstances.
Although the newlyweds may be caught up in the honeymoon phase of their marriage, it’s essential to contact a family law attorney if ongoing financial responsibilities and custody arrangements are in place, because these obligations will need to change. Below is how remarriage can impact your child support, alimony, and child custody.
Child support is a constant responsibility that is held by both parents of a child and is based upon their respective incomes. Therefore, any change in marital status, even if the new spouse is well off, will not impact the amount owed. Also, the duration of the child support is set by the law to last until the child is the age of 18 unless a parent has their parents right revoked. Therefore, remarriage, on its own, will not justify a modification. However, if a new marriage produces new children and a parent is ordered to pay child support for them, the earlier support agreement may be lowered to account for the additional responsibility.
Alimony is often viewed from a different perspective, and if the former spouse receiving support remarries, Florida law automatically terminates the alimony award. Even cohabiting in a supportive relationship is enough for the Florida courts to justify termination. However, if the remarriage is of the payor, then the responsibility for alimony will continue. Although, this general rule does not apply if the divorce decree stated alimony would continue despite alimony, or if the support is part of giving the other spouse part ownership of their marital estate. Therefore, a court order or settlement agreement needs to be considered before any action can be taken.
Lastly, child custody is often the most affected by a remarriage from a practical point of view. The remarried parent will naturally want their child to spend time with their new spouse to solidify their new family, but the standing custody will still apply. Therefore, the parent is now obligated to unilaterally change the terms since they have a new life with their spouse. If one of the parents truly wants a change in the custody arrangement, a petition can be modified, but it would have to be filled within the family court. However, judges will only do this if it’s in the best interest of the child. Some reasons a remarried parent could argue a modification in the custody include:
- A better ability to support the child due to an increase in income.
- The remarried parent is better able to make decisions for the child due to added stability and emotional support of the new spouse.
- The remarried parent moved to a new area with a better school system.
In summary, an argument against modification would be due to the child having a hard time adapting to their new situation, especially if new siblings are around, and more time with the family will add to the adjustment of the child.
Contact a Florida Family Law Attorney
Nobody’s life stands still, and new relationships are part of the divorce process. However, remarriage can affect post-divorce responsibilities, and this change should be discussed with a family law attorney at Konicek Law to learn how the law applies to their situation. The attorneys at Konicek Law represent clients in all aspects of family law, including post-divorce issues, and are available to talk about your case.Contact the Orlando family lawyers at 407-894-1122 if you have any questions or concerns.