How Does Remarriage Affect My Divorce?
Fewer couples are getting divorced in Kentucky. There has been a 25% drop in divorce since 2009. There has been an even larger decline in the number of marriages in the state. The state has experienced a 34% decrease in that category.
Somewhere in between those statistics are remarriages after divorce. After all, when couples dissolve a marriage, they are free to start a new life with someone else. If they do, how does remarrying affect divorce agreements, often hard-fought and forged during the divorce process?
The short answer is, “It depends.” It depends on who is getting remarried and on the terms of those divorce agreements. In some cases, remarriage may have no effect at all.
If you have questions about the effect your remarriage or that of your ex-spouse may have on your divorce agreements, we have the answers. At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, our family law attorneys serve Elizabethtown, Radcliff, or Shepherdsville, Kentucky, or in the surrounding areas, including Hart County, LaRue County, and Breckinridge County. If you’re in need of a divorce attorney, reach out and schedule a meeting.
How Does Remarriage Impact Alimony in Kentucky
Kentucky law provides for three types of alimony, also known as spousal support, in divorce. Temporary alimony may be awarded for the duration of the divorce process to a spouse who needs transitional support. This alimony ends as soon as the divorce is final, so it will not be affected by remarriage. That does not mean remarriage and alimony are not affected in other ways.
Rehabilitation alimony may be awarded if a spouse needs a limited amount of time following the divorce to find employment that will support them or complete the education or training necessary to obtain self-sustaining employment. In rare cases, a spouse may be awarded permanent spousal support, usually when the marriage has lasted at least 10 years, the receiving spouse has a medication condition that keeps them from employment, and the receiving spouse’s income is little or none when the paying spouse’s income is much higher.
Unless you entered a marital agreement in which one spouse agreed to pay the other spouse alimony, rehabilitation and permanent alimony will be terminated upon the remarriage of the receiving spouse.
The remarriage of the paying spouse does not affect the alimony order, except in the rare event the paying spouse’s other financial obligations leave them without the ability to pay it. Remember, alimony awards are based on one spouse’s need for the financial support and the other spouse’s ability to pay it.
In addition, the paying spouse can request that the court modify an alimony order if the receiving spouse does not remarry but cohabitates with a partner. The paying spouse would need to prove that the receiving spouse no longer needs the financial support.
How Does Remarriage Impact Child Support in Kentucky?
Although one parent pays child support and the other parent receives it, a child support order is for the benefit of the child and not of either parent. Both parents remain financially responsible for their children regardless of their marital status.
However, just because remarriage does not automatically affect the payor’s child support obligation, it can, under certain circumstances, warrant modification of the existing agreement. That is because the amount of support being paid depends on a complex formula of the child’s needs, the income of each parent, and the child custody arrangement. Change one factor significantly enough in remarriage, and child support could be modified if requested by the paying parent and agreed to by the court.
For example, if the parent receiving child support remarries, it stands to reason that their financial status will improve. While the new spouse is under no legal obligation to provide financial support for the child, the fact that the recipient spouse now shares the financial burden of, for example, the mortgage, reduces the amount of support that spouse needs.
Likewise, the remarriage of the paying spouse does not automatically reduce their child support obligation. However, if the paying spouse has children with the new spouse and therefore, shoulders additional financial responsibilities, the paying spouse could ask the court to modify the amount ordered in the existing child support agreement.
How Does Remarriage Impact Child Custody in Kentucky?
Remarriage and child custody may also be called into question when the marital status of one or both parents changes after divorce. The remarriage of one or both parents, in and of its own, does not affect the terms of the child custody order. However, a parent’s relationship with a child from the prior marriage may change once they are remarried. Child custody arrangements are ordered based on the best interests of the child and not of either parent.
Remarriage can affect those best interests. If the custodial parent remarries and the child has conflicts with the new spouse or the new spouse’s children, the court may decide the child’s interest may best be served by the other parent having primary custody. Since child support orders are based in some degree on the time the custodial parent spends with the child, child support could be modified if custody is modified.
If the noncustodial parent remarries and there is conflict with that parent’s new family or if that parent fails to adhere to the visitation schedule in the parenting plan, that too could result in a modification of the child custody agreement.
Turn to Caleb Bland Law, PLLC
Every case is different, as is every divorce attorney in Kentucky. What we do differently at Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, is treat every client’s situation uniquely. Marriage, divorce, remarriage, and child custody are major life events we don’t take lightly. We will do what we need to protect our client’s best interests when life changes.
If you want to know how your remarriage or your ex-spouse’s remarriage may affect your divorce agreements, call Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, so reach out today.