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What Happens to Alimony & Child Support If I Remarry in California?

When couples divorce, it is not uncommon for one or both spouses to enter another marriage sooner or later down the road. However, what happens to spousal support, otherwise known as alimony, and child support payments from a divorce decree if one or both spouses get married again in California?

How Remarriage Affects Spousal Support

In the event of a divorce, the court may order the higher-earning spouse to pay alimony, to the other spouse to help him/her become financially independent. Alimony often ends on a specific date; however, there are some orders which last until either party passes away.

If the receiving spouse remarries in California, the paying spouse’s obligation to provide spousal support automatically stops. In addition, if the receiving spouse starts living with a romantic partner—which is known as cohabitation—or has increased his or her income, the paying spouse may be able to lower or end alimony by filing a motion with the court.

How Remarriage Affects Child Support

Remarriage doesn’t directly affect child support in California. In most cases, it is the legal responsibility of both biological parents to support their child—not the child’s stepparents.

However, state courts may take into account a stepparent’s income only in extraordinary cases which result in extreme and serious hardship to the child. For example, if a noncustodial parent becomes unemployed or experiences a reduction in income and the child has a serious medical issue, the court may decide to consider the finances of the custodial parent’s new spouse when modifying child support.

Keep in mind, if a noncustodial parent remarries and has more children with a new spouse, he/she cannot automatically lower his or her child support obligation due to the decision to voluntarily start a new family.

If you are interested in the modification of a spousal support or child support order in California, contact our Newport Beach family law attorneys at Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara today.

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