When a marriage ends, and the couple has a minor child together, the court may order child support payments from one parent to the other. In most cases, these payments continue until the child reaches adulthood — the parents go their separate ways and stay that way, and the child support obligation is fulfilled over the years.
Rarely, however, the parents may reconcile after a legal divorce and decide to remarry. This type of situation is uncommon, but the implications are very real for those who find themselves in it.
If you are in this situation of pursuing formal remarriage, a critical question may arise: “What happens to child support if parents get back together?” Let’s take a closer look.
How Texas Law Handles Child Support with Reconciled Parents
A child support obligation in Texas is terminated when either the child or the parents experience a qualifying event. However, qualifying events don’t automatically stop the child support payments — they must be addressed through the family court system.
The most common qualifying events include the child turning 18 or graduating from high school. Other qualifying events include the following:
- The child’s death
- Genetic testing reveals that the parent who pays child support is not the child’s biological father
When it comes to parents reconciling and remarrying, however, the Texas Family Code does not have a clear-cut rule. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of the court to make a determination about the status of the child support order.
The purpose of child support is to provide the necessary financial support for the health and welfare of their child that aligns with the quality of life the child would have had if the family had stayed intact.
When parents get back together, they can pool their resources to meet the child’s needs. In this situation, the court is very likely to decide that the financial needs of the child are being adequately met, and therefore, the obligation to pay child support should end.
The Importance of Formally Remarrying
While it is possible for parents who get back together to end child support payments, it’s crucial for them to formally remarry if they want to achieve their goals. If they simply move back in together under the same roof, there is no guarantee that the court will terminate the obligation to pay child support.
The termination of a court-ordered child support arrangement is a permanent change. Without a marriage in place, either parent could move out or end the relationship at any time.
While it is possible to seek a new order after termination, this is a complex legal process that takes time to complete, and the child’s needs could go unmet in the meantime. The court may feel uneasy about this possibility and decline to terminate the original order.
A formal marriage shows – in a legally binding manner – that the parents are re-joined in a formal union, and they can share their resources to provide for their child. It also puts the court at ease that the financial needs of their child will be taken care of and there will be no interruption in their support.
To formalize your remarriage and support your argument for the court to terminate the child support order, you should present a valid marriage certificate so the court can recognize the change in status and make a ruling accordingly.
Consult With a Family Law Attorney About What Happens to Child Support if Parents Get Back Together
The impact on child support orders is just one of many possible legal considerations when parents remarry the same person. Other matters, such as child custody, property division, and spousal support, should also be considered.
This reality is not meant to discourage anyone from reconciling with an ex. Instead, the point is to emphasize the importance of knowing what happens to child support if parents get back together and what can happen to other areas of their lives.
Remarrying your ex-spouse can be a beautiful event and a chance to start anew, but it’s best to go through the process with as much knowledge about the legal implications as possible. And with the guidance of a Texas family law attorney, you and your partner can move forward with peace of mind that no lingering legal issues are holding you back.
When you turn to my law office about your potential remarriage, I can carefully evaluate the terms of your original divorce order and pinpoint any areas that may cause complications.
You will receive sound legal advice about the best course of action for your situation. I will file the proper paperwork to help ensure that you and your partner can resume your previous marital relationship with minimal disruption.
I currently help clients in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County with post-divorce family law matters. If you live in one of these counties, reach out to my law office today at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to get started on your case. I look forward to helping your family reunite and thrive.