What to Expect When Your Ex Remarries
Divorce orders aren’t the only way your ex’s remarriage can affect your financial life. Retirement funds and estate plans often need to be reconfigured if either one of you marries again.
For many people, the goal of a divorce is to permanently end their relationship with their ex. Most divorcing couples want to untangle their lives from each other as much as possible so they can move on. The problem is that even after a divorce is declared final, your ex’s actions can still legally and financially impact you. Specifically, if they remarry, you might find out that your divorce decree changes significantly. Here’s why your ex’s relationship status could still affect you long after you finalize your divorce and what to expect if it looks like your former partner is about to get remarried.
Why Your Ex-Spouse’s New Marriage May Impact Your LifeYou might think that divorce decrees are written with nothing more than your new, single life in mind. After all, there’s no way to tell if either of you will go on to remarry in the future. However, well-written divorce decrees are designed to last a lifetime. That means that they often include clauses that change the restrictions or requirements placed on you and your ex should life circumstances change significantly. For instance, if a divorce decree includes any kind of long-standing order such as alimony or child custody, it’s common for there to be a clause that explains what happens if either party remarries. These clauses help protect both parties from unfair outcomes. However, they can also cause your former spouse’s marriage to dramatically impact your life, even if you no longer speak to them. Divorce orders aren’t the only way your ex’s remarriage can affect your financial life. Retirement funds and estate plans often need to be reconfigured if either one of you marries again. Below you’ll learn how your ex’s marriage can impact everything from alimony to retirement and what you can do to prepare for it.
Remarriage and AlimonyThe most common reason for your ex’s marriage to impact your life is through alimony. Don’t worry, though: their wedding won’t harm your finances. Your ex’s new marriage either won’t affect you, or it will release you from a significant burden. If a judge ordered you to pay your former spouse alimony, there are usually only three reasons the order would end early. Either your finances changed dramatically, and you can no longer afford it, one of you died, or your ex remarriage. Most spousal support orders include a clause that specifically states that you will no longer be obligated to pay alimony once your ex remarries. This clause is inserted on the presumption that your ex will have the support they need from their new spouse and no longer need yours. This means that if your former spouse gets married again, you’ll be freed from your alimony obligations entirely. However, this clause does not go the other way. If your ex was ordered to pay you alimony and they get remarried, they are not released from their obligation. Despite their marriage, they are still required to pay you the ordered amount on schedule. You don’t have to worry about losing the money you rely on early.
If Your Ex Remarries, Could it Affect Child Custody and Support?Another common reason for your ex’s new relationship to impact your life is through child custody and child support. If you share children with your former partner, their new marriage could impact any court orders related to your kids. In California, it’s unlikely that remarriage would directly impact child support. Regardless of the income level of your child’s new step-parent, that person isn’t considered responsible for financially supporting your child. Only your co-parent shares that responsibility with you. Unless your ex voluntarily quits their job, lowers the income, or remains unemployed because of their spouse’s income, their new relationship isn’t grounds for raising or lowering child support payments either way. However, their marriage could impact your child custody agreement. For instance, a new step-parent could cause changes like:
- Impacting your co-parent’s fitness to raise kids by introducing a dangerous adult to the home.
- Encouraging your co-parent to move away, which would make it harder to share custody.