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 if an ex-wife remarries, does it affect child support or alimony? Or, as a father with custody, can you get more child support if your ex-wife remarries? Essentially, how does getting married affect child support?
The answers to such questions depend on the circumstances of your current divorce decree.
Remarriage and 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 that alimony ends after remarriage; however, if the judge determines that the supported spouse’s financial standing has improved due to the new spouse’s income, then 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, then 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 and Child Support in Michigan
Both parents are responsible for supporting their child until they become adults. So does a new spouse affect child support?
For receiving parents who remarry – the addition of their new spouse’s income might allow the paying parent to request a modification of child support. For paying parents who are unemployed and remarry – the addition of their new spouse’s income might allow the receiving parent to request a modification.
In general, the court won’t consider a new spouse’s income when calculating child support; however, that doesn’t mean a ex-wife’s or ex-husband’s financial standing following a new marriage isn’t a factor when calculating and modifying child support.
If a supported ex-spouse remarries and the new partner contributes a significant amount to household expenses—giving the supported spouse more income to care for the child—then the paying spouse can ask the court to reduce child support payments.
On the other hand, if the paying ex-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 ex-wife or ex-husband 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.