Getting remarried after a divorce could have legal implications for you. Remarriage is not something you will be able to do without preparation. That’s because if you get remarried, you will still be bound by the terms of your divorce order. Unless a court makes a change to the terms, the divorce order will take priority. Not only must you prepare legally, but you should also communicate with everyone involved in the situation, including children and your ex-spouse. Here are some considerations you should think about before deciding to get remarried after a divorce.
Your Divorce Must Be Absolutely Final First
It goes without saying that your divorce should be absolutely final before you get legally remarried. In order to get a marriage certificate, you would need to prove that you have been legally divorced. This would require a copy of your divorce certificate or more specific information about your divorce. While you may not want to focus on the past, the state will want to make sure you are in a legal position to be able to get married again before you can get a marriage license. Nothing stops you from getting engaged while you are separated, but the actual legal marriage requires a finalized divorce.
Child Support Usually Will Not Change
One of the biggest impacts of remarriage is likely to be felt in your finances. To be clear, remarriage will usually not impact child support payments. Child support is a right that belongs to the child or children and is not dependent on the income of a second spouse. If the receiving spouse gets remarried, their child support payment will not be reduced, nor will the obligation of the paying spouse be impacted if they are the one remarrying.
There are only very limited circumstances in which remarriage will affect child support payments. Courts may grant a modification if there has been a substantial change in circumstances as a result of the remarriage. For example, if the paying parent had additional children with their new spouse, it could affect their ability to meet their child support obligations, and the court may consider reducing it. The ex-spouse will receive credit for the new child they support, and it could lower their child support obligation.
The ex-spouse who gets remarried will not have their child support obligations raised. The legal obligation to support the children belongs to the biological parent. It does not belong to the new spouse, so their income will not be considered in any child support calculation.
Remarriage Also Impacts Alimony
Where remarriage tends to impact finances is when one ex-spouse is receiving spousal support for the other. The purpose of spousal support is to raise the receiving ex-spouse’s standard of living to make the circumstances of the two ex-spouses more equal. Remarriage will affect alimony. The law believes it is unfair to make one person continue paying alimony when the recipient could draw financial support from someone else.
In Texas, alimony is automatically terminated when the receiving ex-spouse gets remarried. Demonstrating that the financial circumstances have changed is not necessary. This is a hard-and-fast rule, with no ifs, ands, or buts. Even living with another partner can end alimony payments without a marriage. If you are the one who is paying alimony, your remarriage would usually not affect your obligation to pay.
Communicate with Your Ex-Spouse and Children to Avoid Potential Problems
Beyond the financial aspects, you should also communicate with both your ex-spouse and children about the financial aspects of remarrying. First, there may be necessary changes to the visitation or custody arrangements depending on where you will live. In some cases, marriage could require relocation outside the area specified in the custody agreement. It is always better to work out any such modifications to custody agreements or changed arrangements on your own through negotiation instead of having to go through a contested hearing.
In addition, you should also communicate with your children about your remarriage. If there will be any changes to their lives, you should discuss them well in advance. Some children may struggle with the fact that their parent is marrying someone else other than their other biological parent. Take the time to answer all their questions and to offer them the necessary reassurance during what could be a difficult time.
In any custody case, the children’s best interests always come first. If you are getting remarried, the court will look at any legal issues in terms of how they impact the children. If there is any contested legal issue, the judge will balance your right to get remarried against what is best for the children.
Speak to an Attorney to Help Prepare
If you are planning on getting remarried, you should have a conversation with an experienced family law attorney to understand what potential legal issues may arise as a result of you doing so. This does not automatically mean that you will end up in court. It is just helpful to understand what you may be facing. You may also be able to avoid some simple mistakes that could complicate your financial or custody situation.
To schedule a consultation, contact us today. Our Brazoria County, Texas family law attorneys are ready to help.