Divorce in Texas can be a complex process with many things to think through, such as protecting assets, alimony (spousal support), child custody, and child support. One thing that spouses often do not think about is what would happen if one or both spouses remarry.
Remarriage after divorce can have a significant impact on the original divorce order. This could have implications on your finances, alimony received or owed, child support, child custody, and other issues related to the relationship with your children.
If you or your ex-spouse are about to get remarried or recently remarried, I’ll help you understand how the new family situation could affect the original divorce settlement from a legal standpoint.
How Remarriage After Divorce Affects Family Issues
Consider the impact of remarriage on these key aspects of a divorce decree in Texas:
- Spousal Support (Alimony)
- Child Support
- Child Custody
Alimony (spousal support in Texas) is determined at the time of the original divorce. The court determines the amount that you receive (if you are the recipient) or the amount that you owe (if you are the payor).
In general cases, the judge will use a formula that the paying spouse should pay $5,000/month or 20% of gross monthly income (whichever is lesser).
However, the unique circumstances of a divorce case may dictate a different amount that is ordered. For example, if the recipient is unable to earn a sufficient income on their own to provide care for themselves and children – if there are children involved.
Typically, the court will set an expiration date for when the spousal support ends. This is determined by the age of the parties, the length of the marriage, each party’s earning capabilities, and other factors. The order will also typically include verbiage that spousal support will end if the recipient remarries.
– For recipients: if you are in the process of remarrying or if you were recently remarried, then you can expect to receive notification that your ex-spouse will want to modify the original court order because their spousal support obligations have been satisfied.
– For payors: if you are currently paying spousal support to an ex-spouse who remarries, then you can request a modification of the original divorce decree. This way, the court will release you from your obligation to continue providing spousal support to your ex-spouse.
If you and your ex-spouse had children, then the original divorce order includes specific language about how child support should be paid from one spouse to the other.
Child support is typically paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent, who is primarily responsible for the care of the children. However, if either party remarries, the original court order could be modified to reflect the new circumstances.
– If the custodial parent remarries: the original court order could be modified to release the non-custodial parent from their child support obligations. The non-custodial parent needs to be able to prove that this change in circumstances is “material and substantial.”
– If the non-custodial parent remarries: the original court order could be modified to account for the non-custodial parent now being responsible for more children than before. For example, the original child support payment was based on the married couple having 3 children. Now, the non-custodial parent is responsible for 2 more children through re-marriage, bringing the total to 5 children. The non-custodial parent could seek a modification of the original order to reduce the amount of child support owed to the original spouse based on the new circumstances.
When a divorce decree is made, the court is tasked with acting in the best interest of the children when determining child custody. But, if one or both parents remarry, this could affect the relationship between the children and their original parents and/or step-parents.
In the event of a material and substantial change in circumstances, either party in the original divorce decree can seek a modification of the order as it pertains to child custody. Some common examples of when either party will want to modify the court order include the following:
- One of the original spouses intends to move out of Texas after remarrying, which would affect the parent/child relationship with the other original spouse
- There is a dispute about schooling or parenting decisions after re-marriage that could require court intervention to act in the child’s best interests
- There could be a significant change in income for either spouse after re-marriage, affecting their ability to provide care for the child
There are other specific changes in circumstances that could qualify. Be sure to contact me for legal support if you are facing a unique challenge.
Find Support Modifying a Divorce Decree for ReMarriage
If you or your ex-spouse is about to remarry or recently remarried, then you should consider working with a family law expert in Texas to modify the original divorce order.
Remarriage after divorce comes with its own unique set of challenges: blending families, helping children adjust, and looking out for your financial well-being. Let me help you arrive in the best possible situation for you and your family by protecting your rights.
Call my offices today at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss a modification of the original divorce order in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, or Harris County. I’ll help you solve this legal challenge so that you can best support your family.