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Does Remarriage Affect Child Support and Alimony in Missouri?
Once divorce is final, each ex-spouse is legally free to marry another partner. However, there are implications you’ll want to think about before remarrying, such as how a new marriage might impact child support and spousal support (alimony). Here’s how remarriage can affect these post-divorce arrangements in Missouri. If you need specific advice for your situation, don’t hesitate to consult a family law attorney.
What happens to child support if I remarry?
Generally, remarriage does not affect child support. Any child support obligation continues even if one or both parents remarry. The rationale is that parental duties do not end even if a parent enters a new marriage, so this new marriage isn’t grounds for child support modification.
Some parents ask, “What if I have new children with my new spouse? Can I reduce my child support payments?” The answer is most likely no. Starting a new family does not end one’s obligation to their child from the previous marriage. The court presumes that if you decide to have new children during the time you are paying child support, you are accepting your increased financial responsibility.
However, in the event that the other parent requests an increase in child support, your new children might be a factor to deny or minimize such increase. Your responsibility for your new children will be included in your Form 14 child support calculation.
Another common question is, “What if my ex’s new spouse has a considerable income and helps raise the child as a stepparent? Can I stop my child support payments?” The answer to this is no, because a stepparent’s income cannot be considered in child support determination. Only the divorced parents’ incomes and expenses can factor in the calculation.
That said, if a stepparent’s contributions somehow changes the income and/or expenses of the divorced parent, it may become a reason to modify child support. Speak to a competent divorce lawyer to see how your rights or obligations may have changed.
What happens to alimony if I remarry?
The impact on alimony or spousal support depends on whether you are the payer or the receiver of the support.
If you’re the paying party and are getting remarried, your alimony obligation continues. Again, the law will presume that you are accepting the increased financial responsibility that comes with your decision to remarry. The new marriage is not grounds to modify your spousal support obligation.
On the other hand, if you are the receiving party, your alimony will automatically end once you marry a new partner. There are exceptions to this but they are rare, such as if your divorce decree stipulates that your spousal support should continue even after remarriage.
If you are the payer and your ex-spouse has remarried, you don’t need to take any action to end the alimony as this is automatic. However, make sure your ex-spouse’s new marriage is recognized by law, as Missouri does not recognize common law marriage.
What if the receiving ex-spouse does not remarry but instead moves in with a new partner? In this case, it is possible for the paying ex-spouse to stop alimony payments. The payer will need to prove to the court that the receiving party is cohabitating with a new partner, hence warranting the termination of alimony.
Contact a Family Law Attorney at Shea Kohl Law
Post-divorce life can be complicated, especially if you have support orders and are planning to remarry. Make sure you navigate it well so that your rights and entitlements are protected.
For any concerns about remarrying in Missouri, talk to us at Shea Kohl Law. Our divorce attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in family law. We have helped untangle family legal issues for numerous couples and individuals in Missouri, with favorable results for our clients.
Call Shea Kohl Law at (636) 946-9999.
Call Shea Kohl Law, LC at (636) 946-9999
or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation.
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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.