In a California divorce, the court may order one spouse to pay the other spouse alimony or spousal support and/or child support, if there are children. But what happens if one or both parties remarry? Does the new marriage impact alimony and child support payments? The following blog post is an overview of remarriage impacts current court orders stemming from a divorce.
Remarriage & Alimony in California
In California, if the supported spouse—the one who receives alimony—gets remarried, then the paying spouse’s obligation to provide spousal support automatically ends, unless both parties agreed to waive Family Code Section 4337. Filing a motion to terminate alimony or any type of court action is not necessary.
The receiving spouse must inform the paying spouse of the new marriage, or the court will order the receiving spouse to provide the paying spouse with a refund for excess payments after the date of the wedding. However, when it comes to lump-sum payments, property transfers, and overdue support, such forms of alimony will not be terminated.
If a supported spouse fails to notify the other spouse of the remarriage or claims the paying spouse must continue making payments, the paying spouse must go to court and file a motion to terminate support. The paying spouse may so request a refund for any excess payments.
In addition, if the supported spouse cohabitates with another person, the court will presume that the alimony payments can be either reduced or terminated, unless the receiving spouse can show he/she still needs alimony despite cohabitation. Cohabitation means being romantically involved with the person you are living with.
Remarriage & Child Support in CA
Since the child’s biological parents are the only parties responsible for supporting the child, remarriage will not directly impact child support in California. Judges are prohibited from considering a new spouse’s income, unless both of the child’s biological parents do not earn enough money to properly provide for the child’s basic needs or other extraordinary circumstances.
If a noncustodial parent remarries and has more children, he/she cannot use the new expenses associated with starting a new family as a reason to lower child support payments. Yet, the court will consider other child support and even spousal support obligations when determining an initial amount for child support payments. But when it comes to modification, the noncustodial parent must prove that there has been a significant change in one or both parents’ financial standing.
If you are interested in modifying or terminating a child support or spousal support order in Irvine or Orange County, contact The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc today at (949) 577-7935 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. Our legal team has more than two decades of combined family law experience.