How a New Child or Marriage May Affect Child Support
It's common for individuals who were previously married or have children from previous relationships to get remarried and/or have new children. But how can having a new child or getting married again affect your existing child support or alimony obligation? The answer depends on the circumstances of your unique case and the state where you live.
Understanding how a new child or marriage may affect child support and alimony in your specific case can be tricky. That is why you may need to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your case.
The family law attorney at The Law Office of Glen A. Norton PLLC can help you evaluate the potential impacts of getting remarried or having a new child. With an office in Minnetonka, Minnesota, the law firm provides legal guidance to clients in Plymouth, Wayzata, Maple Grove, Eden Prairie, Hennepin County, and other parts of the state.
Under Minnesota law, alimony, which is commonly referred to as spousal maintenance, is awarded to one spouse when there is a significant financial gap between the earning potentials of the two parties. The purpose of awarding alimony is to ensure that the economically disadvantaged spouse can maintain the standard of living established during the marriage.
But how does remarriage affect alimony in Minnesota? Under state law, the paying spouse's remarriage does not terminate their obligation to support their former spouse. However, if the supported spouse gets remarried, alimony payments will automatically end. In fact, the paying spouse may have grounds to modify spousal maintenance if there is evidence to prove that the spouse receiving support is cohabitating with a new partner.
Sometimes, a spouse may be ordered to pay both spousal maintenance and child support when they get a divorce. But does remarriage affect child support the same way it affects alimony in Minnesota? No, the impact of remarriage on child support is entirely different.
Typically, remarriage does not affect a parent's existing child support obligation regardless of whether it is the paying parent or the receiving parent who enters into a new marriage. Under Minnesota law, a parent's child support obligation does not become the obligation of their new spouse after the remarriage. A step-parent does not assume the responsibility to support their spouse's children from previous relationships.
Since remarriage does not typically affect the existing child support obligation, what about having another child? Would the paying parent's child support obligation decrease or end if they have new children?
Potentially, yes. Having another child could affect a parent's existing child support obligation, but only if there is a new order entered against that parent. Suppose you were ordered to support your child from a previous marriage, and then you entered into a new marriage. Then, you decided to end your marriage (again) and were ordered to support your child from the new marriage. In that case, a new child support obligation can affect the existing obligation.
If having a new child or remarrying does not affect child support, what are the grounds that warrant a child support modification in Minnesota? Minnesota law provides two requirements to modify child support:
- The existing obligation is no longer reasonable or fair; and
- There has been a substantial change in circumstances.
Some of the most common examples of "substantial changes in circumstances" are the paying parent's involuntary loss of a job or reduction in income. If you think your circumstances warrant a modification of your existing support order, you might want to discuss your case with a skilled child support attorney to explore your legal options.
If you want to learn more about how getting remarried or having another child would affect your existing spousal support and/or child support obligations, you might want to get legal guidance from an experienced attorney. The results-driven and knowledgeable family law attorney at The Law Office of Glen A. Norton PLLC provides compassionate representation to clients in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and other parts of the state. Schedule a consultation to get the personalized legal counsel you need.