If you are getting married for a second time, you may wonder if your prior divorce will affect your second marriage. There are a few ways that a prior divorce could matter, such as in managing your child support and custody arrangements and in deciding whether to sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Child Support and Custody After a Second Marriage
If your previous divorce also involved a child support payment order or a child custody dispute, getting married again could lead to some changes. First, keep in mind that your new spouse generally has no obligation to support your children from your prior marriage. However, if the children live in your home and your new spouse takes a parental role, your spouse might have a support obligation.
Second, your new spouse’s income could influence a court to modify a child support order. The amount of child support that a spouse receives or has to pay depends on many factors considered by the court. Two of the factors that the court considers are your and your ex-spouse’s income and expenses. You may wonder, then, why a new spouse’s income is relevant. New spouses often contribute to a portion of household expenses, such as rent or mortgage, utility bills, and household expenses. As a result, your expenses may decrease and the disposable income you have available may increase. This might be considered a substantial change in circumstances, which is enough for a court to alter a child support order.
If you have a new child in your second marriage, your child support obligation could be affected. Having a new child alone is not enough to constitute a substantial change in circumstances, but it could contribute to a judge’s decision, in combination with other factors, to alter the support order. In addition, there is a deduction applied to a parent’s income when determining the child support amount for any children who live with him or her. This would apply to children from the second marriage.
Moreover, a second marriage could lead to altered child custody arrangements. Like child support, child custody decisions are based on a variety of factors. These factors include the parents’ living arrangements, the child’s relationship with the parents, and the parents’ ability to care for the child. Judges decide child custody based on what would be in the best interests of the child.
When someone remarries, their new living situation, their relationship with their child from a former marriage, and their ability to care for the child all could change dramatically. If you have a child from your previous marriage, be sure that you discuss how custody (or your lack of custody) could affect the marriage with your new spouse. Your ex-spouse could ask the court to change the custody order because of your marriage.
Prenups and Postnups for a Second Marriage
When you decide to get married for a second time, you may want to protect yourself with a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement. These agreements (entered into before or after marriage) can settle matters such as finances during your marriage, protecting your individual assets, and deciding how to divide property after divorce. Prenuptial agreements cannot decide issues of child support or custody, but they can include an agreement about spousal support should you divorce.
Why would you want a prenup or postnup in a second marriage? Many spouses enter a second marriage with children from previous marriages, assets, retirement accounts, homes, debts, or business ownership interests. A prenup or postnup can help determine how these things are affected should the second marriage not last.
People who have been divorced and are now getting married again may particularly want prenups or postnups. The breakup of the previous marriage may have given you ownership of the family home, an interest in your spouse’s pension, or other significant individual assets that you want to protect. In addition, you may want to ensure that your children from your first marriage are provided for. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement prepared by a knowledgeable family law attorney can help you achieve these goals. You also may want to consult an estate planner for help.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
If you are considering remarriage, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.