Finding new love after a divorce can make it easy to overlook how a remarriage might affect a divorce decree from a past relationship. If one or both parties plan on getting remarried, however, they must understand how this might affect parts of the divorce order, including either party’s financial obligations.
Before you start a new chapter of life, consult with a divorce lawyer in Colorado to understand exactly how this may impact your child support obligation.
Most Remarriages Do Not Affect Child Support
For the most part, getting remarried will not affect a child support obligation. In Colorado, the courts do not take a stepparent’s income into account when determining child support. Thus, the custodial parent or noncustodial parent remarrying will have no effect on a child support arrangement from a previous marriage.
There is an exception, however, if the new spouse pays his or her partner money each month that would be part of that spouse’s income. In this rare circumstance, the child support obligation may change, as the parent’s income has increased. This will only apply if the money given counts as the spouse’s income – not if the new spouse spends money on a mortgage, groceries or household expenses.
What About Stepchildren or New Children?
If the party’s remarriage means he or she will become a stepparent, or if the new couple has children together (by birth or adoption), this also will not affect a child support obligation from a past marriage. The courts in Colorado do not allow the addition of new children to interfere with the financial support given to existing children. It will be the parent’s responsibility to keep up with the costs of the new child in addition to fulfilling an existing child support order.
Do You Need to Modify Your Child Support Order?
If you experience a significant change in your financial situation, this is grounds to request a child support order modification. A modification asks the courts to change your child support obligation based on your new income or change in circumstance. If you lose your job, for example, or get demoted, you may be able to request a modification to reduce your child support payments.
Only certain changes in circumstance will be accepted for child support modifications. The most common is a change in financial circumstance, such as a large raise or job loss. The courts may also modify a child support order if the child’s needs change, such as after a serious medical diagnosis.
A judge will only grant a child support order modification request if the paying parent can prove a significant change in circumstance that is outside of his or her control. If the judge discovers that the parent quit his or her job or took a lower-paying job on purpose to reduce a child support obligation, the judge can deny the request and impose further financial penalties.
How to Modify a Child Support Order in Fort Collins
If you wish to modify your child support order in Colorado, you must file a motion with the county court clerk’s office. You can find the necessary paperwork online or by contacting the county clerk’s office. You will need to explain your reason for requesting the modification and provide evidence of your change in circumstance.
You and your ex-spouse will then have to attend a hearing before a judge, where you will explain why the support order should be modified. Your ex will have the chance to argue why it should remain the same, if desired. If the judge rules in your favor, the modification will go into effect immediately.
Do not stop paying your child support obligation if you remarry, lose your job or experience another change in circumstance. Nothing gives you the legal right to change your payments except for a court order. If you need professional assistance requesting a child support modification, contact an attorney in Fort Collins today.