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Does a co-parent's remarriage affect child support obligations?

When most parents divorce, they work out a child support agreement (or a court determines one for them.) The agreement may be modified based on a significant change in circumstances, such as if the paying parent loses a job. However, what if one of the parents remarries?

Unlike spousal support, which the paying spouse can terminate if the receiving spouse remarries, child support is generally not impacted by the remarriage of either parent.

Usually, it's the noncustodial parent who pays child support to the parent with whom the children live most of the time. These noncustodial parents may wonder why they have to continue to pay child support if their ex has married someone who can easily provide for the children -- perhaps more easily than the noncustodial parent.

However, under the law, it's not the responsibility of the new spouse to support someone else's children. The same is true if the paying spouse marries someone with considerable resources. That parent isn't required to increase his or her child support payments. The new spouse's income or other assets can't be factored into the payment equation.

Sometimes a custodial parent who's been receiving child support will opt to terminate the agreement if he or she feels the co-parent's money is no longer needed. However, your family law attorney may advise against that. Even if you no longer need your co-parent's child support for your kids' everyday expenses, you may want to use the money to build up their college funds.

If you believe that it's unfair to continue to pay child support after your spouse has remarried, it's still essential to continue to make your payments in full and in a timely manner. Even if you and your ex have verbally agreed to decrease or end the payments, they're still required by law until and unless you change the child support order. You could face fines and even criminal charges if you fail to make your payments as directed.

If you are planning to remarry or you learn that your co-parent is and you have any questions about your child support, talk with your Rhode Island family law attorney. Don't take any action on your own.

Source: Verywell Family, "What Impact Does Remarriage Have on Child Support?," Jennifer Wolf, accessed May 02, 2018

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Providence, RI 02909

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