In many divorces, one spouse will lack the means to support themselves independently without the other’s income. When this is the case, the court may set up alimony, or spousal support to provide for an ex-spouse until she becomes self-supporting, or until some other agreed upon or ordered date of termination. But what happens to alimony, or spousal support when your ex-wife remarries? The answer depends on the language of your divorce judgment, and also depends on the circumstances.
Remarriage & Alimony in Michigan
A divorce judgment will usually contain language that addresses what happens to alimony in the event of remarriage. Often there is an agreement in the judgment that says that if your ex-wife remarries, spousal support terminates and you no longer have to pay it.
However, there is no Michigan law which states alimony ends after remarriage. So it is not in your judgment of divorce, it does not necessarily terminate if your ex-wife remarries. But when a divorce order doesn’t address remarriage in regard to alimony, and your ex-wife remarries, that can still count as a change in circumstances and you will have the right to ask a judge to decide if payments continue. In that case, you can file a motion to terminate spousal support with the court and ask that the payment be reviewed and the court will review the entire situation to determine if there is a change of circumstances and if so, if that should lead to the end of your spousal support payments.
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.