In most divorces, one spouse will lack the means to support a child and/or support herself independently without the other’s income. When this is the case, the court will set up alimony to provide for an ex-spouse until she becomes self-supporting, and child support payments to provide for a child until they reach 18 years of age and graduate high school.
But what happens to alimony and child support orders when your ex-wife remarries? The answer depends on the circumstances of your current divorce decree.
Remarriage & Alimony in Michigan
A divorce decree can contain provisions to alimony in the event of remarriage, whether it means spousal support stops at remarriage or continues into a second marriage. But when a divorce order doesn’t address remarriage in regard to alimony, a judge will decide if payments continue.
There is no Michigan law which states alimony ends after remarriage. However, if the judge determines the supported spouse’s financial standing have been improved due to the new spouse’s income, the judge will end alimony. This decision can also apply if a supporting spouse cohabitates with a new partner.
On the other hand, if a paying spouse remarries, alimony payments are not typically affected. Nevertheless, if a new marriage makes it difficult to maintain paying spouse’s household while supporting an ex-spouse, the judge may reduce alimony. Remember, the supported spouse’s needs are given more weight compared to the paying spouse’s needs.
Remarriage & Child Support in Michigan
Both parents are responsible for supporting their child until they become adults. In general, the state court won’t consider a new spouse’s income when calculating child support.
However, that doesn’t mean a parent’s financial standing following a new marriage isn’t a factor when calculating and modifying child support. If a supported spouse remarries and the new partner contributes a significant amount to household expenses—giving the supported spouse more income to care for the child—the paying spouse can ask the court to reduce child support payments.
On the other hand, if the paying spouse remarries and the new partner contributes to the household, then the supported spouse can request an increase in child support payments—since the paying parent has more available funds to pay for child support.
In some cases, the remarriage of a supported spouse could result in an increase of child support payments, especially if the supported spouse loses alimony and the new partner cannot contribute to the household.