Take Control of Your Finances Get Experienced Counsel & Guidance Today SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION

How Does Remarriage Affect Your Divorce?

William E. Morgan, Attorney at Law Aug. 10, 2023

Divorce concept with gavel and wedding ringsAfter your divorce, you probably caught yourself thinking, “Well, I will never get married ever again!” However, after getting a divorce, it is still possible to fall in love and find a partner to settle down with. While there is nothing wrong with remarriage, you should consider the potential impact of remarriage on various aspects of your divorce before you walk down the aisle and say, “I do.” 

Everyone’s situation is different, which is why you might want to consult with an attorney to understand how remarriage could potentially affect your existing divorce arrangements, including alimony, child support, and child custody. William E. Morgan, Attorney at Law can help you evaluate the impact of remarriage on your divorce. The experienced family law attorney provides legal counsel and guidance to clients throughout Grays Harbor County in Washington, including Montesano, Hoquiam, and Aberdeen, as well as Pacific County, including Raymond and South Bend.  

Impact of Remarriage on Alimony

Generally, an individual’s obligation to pay alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, ends when the recipient spouse remarries or registers a domestic relationship. Otherwise, an alimony order can be modified if the party requesting changes can prove a substantial change in circumstances.  

Remarriage will typically terminate a spousal maintenance order without any action on behalf of the payer spouse. However, the spouse receiving alimony has a responsibility to notify their former spouse about the remarriage. If the recipient spouse fails to inform the payer spouse of their remarriage, a court may order the recipient spouse to refund all alimony payments made after the remarriage.  

However, remarriage does not end alimony if (a) there is a past-due balance (until the balance is paid) or (b) the parties waived the remarriage provision when getting a divorce.  

Impact of Remarriage on Child Support

In most cases, remarriage itself is not a basis for modifying or terminating a parent’s obligation to pay child support because the remarried parent’s new spouse does not have a duty to support their partner’s children from previous marriages/relationships. However, remarriage could still warrant a request for modification if any of the following is true: 

  • The remarried parent and their new spouse have a child together. While having another child, in and of itself, cannot be a basis for a reduction of child support, it can be a factor. Courts recognize that the amount of income that is available to pay child support may be reduced due to the parent’s obligation to support another child.  

  • The new spouse’s income may be considered. While the new spouse’s income is not taken into account when calculating an obligation to pay child support, it can affect their partner’s existing obligation indirectly. For example, if the new spouse’s income is used to pay household expenses (e.g., utilities, groceries, rent, etc.), it means the parent with a child support obligation has more income available to support children from a previous relationship/marriage.  

However, each case is unique, which is why you might want to speak with an attorney to understand how remarriage may affect your obligation or your ex-spouse’s obligation to pay child support.  

Impact of Remarriage on Child Custody

In Washington, a child custody arrangement is always based on the best interests and needs of the child. Thus, remarriage itself may not impact your existing child support order unless any of the following is true: 

  • The parent’s new spouse has a negative influence on the child; or 

  • The parent’s new spouse poses a danger to the child (e.g., due to abuse).  

However, proving that the new spouse has a negative influence on the child or poses a danger to the child can be tricky. You might want to seek advice from an experienced family law attorney who can help you prove or disprove these allegations after remarriage.  

Your Rights After Remarriage 

If you or your former spouse are getting remarried, you need to figure out how remarriage could affect your divorce and any existing arrangements, including alimony, child support, and child custody. William E. Morgan can explain your rights after remarriage and help you navigate the potential issues or challenges of remarriage. Schedule a free consultation today to find out what you should expect after remarriage.