Alimony (i.e., spousal support) and child support orders are common terms of a Pennsylvania divorce agreement or court decision. But what happens if one or both of the parties remarries? The following blog post is an overview of how remarriage affects alimony and child support in Pennsylvania.
Remarriage & Alimony in Pennsylvania
If the supported spouse (i.e., the party receiving alimony) remarries, alimony is automatically terminated. Therefore, as soon as the paying spouse learns of the supported spouse’s new marriage, he/she may file a motion to terminate spousal support.
If the supported spouse has been married for months before the paying spouse discovered the remarriage, the court can order the remarried spouse to pay back any alimony paid from the date of the new union. On the other hand, if a paying spouse owes alimony payments to the supported spouse prior to the remarriage, he/she must make the necessary payments.
When it comes to “cohabitation” in Pennsylvania, if a supported spouse starts cohabitating with someone of the opposite sex who is not a relative, then he/she is no longer eligible to receive alimony. Cohabitation means that two people involved in a romantic or sexual relationship are living together, rather than occasionally staying over.
Remarriage & Child Support in PA
Since both parents are responsible for financially supporting their child(ren), remarriage in and of itself does not generally qualify as a “significant change in circumstances” to modify or terminate a child support order. However, there are certain situations that may impact child support.
For instance, if a parent has a new child from a remarriage, the court will take into account the parent’s total child support obligation. If the total support obligation surpasses 50 percent of the parent’s monthly net income, it is possible the existing support order could be reduced. In contrast, if the total support figure is 50 percent or less of the parent’s monthly net income, then the court will not grant a reduction.
Additionally, if a new spouse’s income lessens a parent’s expenses, the parent essentially has more income available to support the child(ren). For example, if a new spouse pays a portion of household expenses (e.g., mortgage, rent, multiplies, groceries, etc.), the court can consider this circumstance when deciding to modify a child support order.
If you are interested in modifying an existing alimony or child support order in Philadelphia, call William Kirby Law at (215) 515-9901 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an initial consultation. Serving clients across Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties.