After a divorce is finalized, it is not uncommon for a divorced individual to get hitched once again a short time later. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately half of all Americans remarry within five years of divorce.
But how does remarriage affect an existing divorce agreement—especially in regard to alimony and child support?
How Remarriage Impacts Alimony in Virginia
If the supported spouse remarries in Virginia, alimony will automatically end. However, this only applies to monthly and periodic payments of spousal support. In cases where a divorce order requires a lump sum payment, remarriage does not terminate alimony.
When it comes to cohabitation—a live-in relationship of at least one year or more where the partners act like they’re married—a judge will not terminate alimony automatically. A paying spouse’s support obligation may be lowered if the court decides that a supported spouse’s financial need is reduced or eliminated due to cohabitation.
Alimony After Remarriage
On the other hand, the remarriage of the paying spouse rarely alters his/her alimony obligation. But if the paying spouse’s new marital obligations make support an ex-spouse difficult, it is possible to seek modification of alimony payments in court.
A judge will decide whether to alter or keep alimony the same after looking at the finances of both parties.
How Remarriage Impacts Child Support in Virginia
When a supported spouse remarries, the court will not consider the new spouse’s income when calculating child support from a previous marriage. A judge will only decide child support based only on the respective incomes of each parent of the child—even if more income is available to the child due to their stepparent’s financial assistance.
If a paying spouse remarries and has a new child, it is possible to adjust child support payments. “Actual monetary support for other family members” is one of the factors considered by the court—and a new child can fall into this category. However, a change is child support payments doesn’t automatically happen when a new child arrives. It is only a factor in modifying a child support order.