Call Us Today! (973) 447-3943

Remarriage and Child Support Payments: Common Questions and Answers

By Sarah Jacobs, Esq.

Remarriage is a topic that doesn’t always make it to the negotiating table when talking about child support—romance often isn’t on co-parents’ minds when they’re discussing potential payment schedules or how they’ll handle unreimbursed medical expenses. 

But the reality is that more than half of divorced Americans will remarry at some point. That means, for many, the question of how remarriage might impact child support is likely to come up at some point. 

(Note that even if you and your co-parent were never married, you still may have this question—divorce isn’t a prerequisite for establishing child support or upholding an existing obligation!) 

Every family’s circumstances are different, but if you’re planning to remarry and wonder about your child support payments, here are a few questions you might be asking—and the answers to help you get started. 

Does remarriage affect child support payments?    

There are a few angles to consider when discussing the impact of remarriage on child support payments. 

If you receive child support and remarry

If you receive child support and remarry, will the amount you receive change?

Typically, getting remarried won’t impact the amount of child support you receive. Although child support outcomes always depend on the facts of a specific situation, parents aren’t required to reduce or stop child support payments when one or both parents remarry. That’s because your new spouse isn’t required to contribute financially toward raising your child. 

However, other financial aspects of co-parenting might change. For example, if your new spouse has great health insurance that can cover your child, you may need to have discussions about who will get the medical insurance credit. 

If you pay child support and remarry

In general, if you pay child support and remarry, it likely won’t affect how much you pay in child support. Your new partner’s income is not factored into the amount you pay for child support. 

Like most aspects of family law, though, there are exceptions. If your disposable income significantly increases after you remarry, it could affect your child support amount. 

For example, say you move into your new partner’s house. You and your new spouse decide you don’t have to contribute to the rent or mortgage. This means that, in theory, you could end up with more disposable income, which could increase the amount of child support you owe if your co-parent wishes to revisit your child support arrangement.

If you or your co-parent has another child

If you or your co-parent have another child (whether by marriage or not), this doesn’t automatically adjust existing child support arrangements but it may provide circumstances for modification of the existing support arrangements. 

In situations like these, determining whether the “Other Dependent” deduction—which is a piece of the child support calculus—applies to you, and how, may be something to examine following the birth or adoption of a new child. 

  • If you currently receive child support from your co-parent, your new child doesn’t change your former partner’s child support obligations, as they have no responsibility to contribute financially to your new child’s upbringing. 
  • If you’re the payor, you have financial obligations to your new family member which may impact the amount of income available to you for support of prior dependents. 

Understanding how your child support needs and financial situation change over time can be challenging. Bringing your questions to an experienced child support attorney is generally the best way to get answers that address your specific needs.

How do I change my child support arrangement?

When you or your co-parent remarry, your existing child support plan does not automatically change. For any changes to be implemented, one party must request a child support modification

Child support modifications can be pursued in two ways:

  • Via mediation: In mediation, both parents must agree to the change, which is then filed with the court. 
  • Through the courts: If you are unable to reach a mutual agreement, one party must file a motion for a hearing with the court. If the judge finds sufficient evidence of a change in family circumstances to justify a child support modification, both parents will have to submit updated financial information. 

Remarriage isn’t typically the sole justification for a child support modification—as noted above, this is because, as per the law, your new spouse isn’t financially responsible for your child under most circumstances.

Updating your child support arrangement, whether through mediation or through the courts, should start with a candid conversation with an experienced family law attorney. They have in-depth knowledge of the legal processes, what strategies might help you achieve your goals, and how to navigate the complexity of New Jersey’s child support system with minimal stress. 

How can a child support attorney help me figure out child support?

If you or your co-parent are considering pursuing a child support modification following remarriage, working with an experienced child support attorney is critical. 

Child support is often quite nuanced and decided by judges on a case-by-case basis. Even if you pursue a modification through mediation, a lawyer is an essential resource to help you understand and navigate child support rules and advocate on your behalf. 

At Jacobs Berger, our child support attorneys have extensive experience in successfully helping parents pursue or contest child support modifications. Our de-stress divorce doctrine focuses on providing pragmatic solutions that protect your family’s best interests.

If you or your ex are contemplating remarriage and you want to understand your options, make an appointment to coordinate your strategy session with our team.

Contact Our Morristown Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.