Legal Blogs

Does Remarriage End Spousal Support?

Spousal support can be ordered on a temporary basis for a set period of time. In some cases, spousal support is ordered on a permanent basis and the higher earning spouse must continue to pay support to the lower earning spouse indefinitely.

If you are paying support to your ex, it is important to understand the rules of when your obligation ends. In some cases, remarriage can end spousal support. However, this is true only if the person who is being paid the support gets remarried. An Irvine, CA family lawyer can help you to understand the rules for remarriage and spousal support. Contact Brown & Charbonneau, LLP today to learn more.

When Does Remarriage End Spousal Support?

If you are paying spousal support and you get remarried, your obligation to your ex is not going to end. You must continue to pay support as required or you could face legal problems including potentially being held in contempt of court. However, if the recipient of spousal support remarries, this should end the support obligation and you should no longer have to pay.

When you are ordered to pay permanent support, there are only limited situations in which you will be able to alter or end your obligation. You could ask the court to reduce or eliminate support if it becomes a hardship for you to pay and you can no longer afford to continue to do so. Remarriage is not a situation that would lead to this type of hardship. However, if you have a new child in your new marriage and the necessary costs of providing for that child begin to take a large portion of your income, then you could potentially make a case that your support obligation needs to be altered. You would need to make a compelling argument to the court that a change in circumstances necessitates a reduction in support. For example, if your child had significant medical expenses due to a disability or illness, you may be able to show that it is too much of a hardship to continue paying the same amount of support to your ex.

Typically, you cannot willfully reduce your income in order to avoid paying support. This means if you remarry and you decide to stop working at your job because of this new relationship, or because you have a new child, your support obligation may not be reduced. Whether you could lower your support payments under these circumstances is going to depend upon how the court views your reasons for giving up your employment.  In many cases, you will still need to pay as required.

Because the question of whether you can end spousal support is going to vary depending upon your own unique circumstances, it is important to talk to an attorney if you want to reduce or discontinue support. Your lawyer can help petition the court if there is a reasonable chance that the court will allow a change. However, simply remarrying is not going to be sufficient reason to stop making your payments.

To learn more and to get help from an attorney who can assist you in arguing for a reduction or end to support, contact Brown & Charbonneau, LLP today.