The short and direct answer is, “No.” Under Illinois divorce law, your obligation to pay child support only terminates if your child is emancipated or has reached the age of 18. However, if at 18 your child is still attending high school, then the support will end when he graduates, or at age 19, whichever is first. Illinois divorce law does not provide for a termination of child support upon your ex-wife’s remarriage.
In the event that your ex-wife’s new husband were to adopt your child, then your obligation for child support would end. A formal court case for adoption would have to be filed by the new husband unless you agreed to the adoption.
Child support can always be modified, up or down, when circumstances change. You could file a court petition and ask the judge to decrease the amount of child support that you are paying. You would argue that your ex-wife’s new husband now pays the family expenses or a good portion of them. Therefore, your ex-wife is relieved of some of her financial obligations and can get by with less child support. There are Illinois cases which suggest that this approach might work, but in the end it would be up to the discretion of the judge.
Jay A. Frank is a senior divorce practitioner with Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa in Chicago. He has been selected as one of the top family-law attorneys in Illinois. With more than 35 years of experience, he focuses his practice on all aspects of Illinois family law. He can be reached at (312) 828-9600. View his Divorce Magazine profile.