Remarriage in California: How Does It Affect Alimony & Child Support?

When a couple gets divorced in California, the court will often order one spouse to pay the other alimony and child support. However, former spouses may find love with new partners and choose to remarry.

So how does remarriage affect alimony and child support payments?

In California, the obligation to pay spousal support automatically ends as soon as the supported spouse remarries. If a supported spouse is simply living with a new partner (also known as cohabitation) or has an increase in income, the paying spouse can file a court order seeking to reduce or end alimony payments.

On the other hand, remarriage won’t directly have an impact on child support. In nearly every case, only the child’s biological parents have a legal responsibility to support the child, not the child’s stepparents. Judges in California are prohibited to look into the income of a new spouse, unless extreme and severe hardship to the child is caused by extraordinary circumstances.

For instance, if a child’s biological parents fail to earn enough income to support the child’s basic needs, while a new stepparent has significant income, a judge may consider the supported spouse’s available funds through her new spouse when deciding child support. In another example, the court may agree to reduce the amount of monthly payments if the paying parent must also pay support for children from another relationship.

For more information about remarriage in California, contact our Newport Beach family law attorneys at Burch, Coulston & Shepard, LLP today.

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