When a married couple files for divorce, the court will often make one spouse pay alimony and child support. However, what happens if either spouse remarries? The following is an overview of how remarriage can impact a previous divorce order.
Remarriage & Alimony in Missouri
If the spouse who receives spousal support remarries in Missouri, alimony payments automatically end. However, there are two exceptions: the divorce decree states alimony will continue after a supported spouse remarries or the alimony payment is a lump sum that needs to be paid in full.
In addition, if a supported spouse cohabitates (i.e. moves in with) a romantic partner, the paying spouse can ask the court to terminate alimony if he/she can prove cohabitation.
If a paying spouse remarries, he/she must continue to make alimony payments. Despite an increase in household expenses, the spousal support obligation remains the same unless the paying spouse experiences a drastic change in finances.
Remarriage & Child Support in Missouri
When it comes to child support, a parent’s remarriage won’t have much of an impact. Each parent has a duty to financially support his/her child—even when a new spouse enters the picture.
However, the judge will factor in each parent’s financial standing when determining or modifying child support. For example, if a paying spouse remarries and his/her new spouse is taking care of all the household expenses, the judge may increase his/her support obligation since the paying spouse has more money available to provide more support.
In order to modify child support, either parent must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances. Keep in mind, the court cannot consider a new spouse’s income to modify child support. Yet, a stepparent’s contributions to the household may inadvertently increase a parent’s child support obligation, as we mentioned above.