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Does an ex-spouse’s remarriage change child support?

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2021 | Divorce

The details that North Carolina parents need to address when they get a divorce can go far beyond what couples without children need to handle. In particular, child custody and child support matters can be significant in both importance for ensuring that the children have the love and support that they need, and in that custody and support can be points of contention for parents.

When you went through your divorce, you and the other parent may have had a hard time seeing eye to eye on these issues, but you, or the court, eventually came to terms. However, now that some time has passed, your ex-spouse may be getting remarried, and you may have concerns about what that could mean for the child support you receive.

Does remarriage change support obligations?

In some instances, remarriage could result in a change in support obligations, but it is not something that the court will automatically apply. If you believe that your ex’s new marriage warrants a change in support or if your ex thinks so, either you or the other parent would need to submit a petition to modify the current support terms. It is worth noting that remarriage is not always enough of a change in circumstance to warrant an approved modification either.

For instance, you may think that, because the other parent remarried and now has a household with two incomes, you should receive more child support. However, most state laws do not place an obligation on a stepparent to support stepchildren. As a result, unless your ex’s new spouse is significantly wealthy, the court may not approve an increase in support.

Can the other parent reduce support?

In another scenario, your spouse may think that, because he or she now has a new spouse to support, decreasing the child support may be possible. Again, it is unlikely that the court will approve the reduction for such a reason, but it also depends on state-specific laws. Some states indicate that the parent and new spouse would simply need to adjust their spending in order to continue meeting the current support terms.

If your ex gets remarried and then has children with his or her new spouse, a reduction in your child support could occur because now that parent has additional dependents to support. Essentially, whether a modification suits your circumstances can depend on numerous details. As a result, gaining an assessment of your particular situation may be wise.