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Do You Still Have to Pay Child Support If Your Ex Remarries Someone Else?

Child support. In the world of Texas family law, there isn’t a subject that gets blood boiling quicker. Determining what is in the best interest of your child is the central focus of a family law court. Many times, families arrive at an amount of child support in the initial child custody case only to see circumstances change. These changes are to be expected. For a young family, change is about the only constant they experience. We can all think about changes in our own lives that have altered our circumstances positively and negatively.

We can usually take these changes in stride. However, in some situations, there are significant changes that lead families towards different outcomes. For instance, suppose that you are a parent who pays child support. This has been the case since you and your wife got divorced five years ago. However, your son came to see you one weekend and informed you that his mother is getting married in a month. You knew that she was dating someone but did not know their relationship was that serious.

This leaves you wondering whether you are still obligated to pay child support. After all, not only does she work but now has a second income coming into the household. Isn’t that enough to absolve you from paying child support? This is the question that we are going to answer in today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.

Evaluating your child support scenario

Much of the information available online about child support has to do with the initial child support case. That would be the first child support case involved in a child custody or divorce matter. The calculation of child support, the payment of child support, and the orders themselves. These are the focus of your initial child custody case. If you are interested in learning more about these subjects you need only look through the blog for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We have a countless number of blogs on these subjects.

However, in today’s blog post, we are going to spend some time discussing what it means to evaluate your circumstances with child support in the years following a family law case. This is the time when you have final orders in place. However, it is not as if a court or an attorney is looking over your shoulder actively. Rather, you are expected to be able to handle your circumstances when it comes to child support.

This means paying your child support on time and in full each month. Sometimes this is more difficult than you would be led to believe. Many families run into situations where money is tight from time to time. Despite your circumstances, the court expects you to continue to pay child support. Losing your job or seeing a reduction in your hours is not a valid excuse to stop paying child support. Therefore, you need to have a plan for your life in the period following a family law case.

Budgeting as a means to pay child support

Leading up to your divorce or child custody case it wasn’t as if you had a line item in your budget for child support. Many people do not even have a budget for their daily lives. As you shift gears into a child custody circumstance it is important to know where your money is going each month. Many people have negative views of budgets. You may believe that a budget forces you to do more work than you would like. Or a budget forces you to not spend money where you would otherwise like to.

On the contrary, budgeting gives you freedom. Allow me to explain. When you have a monthly budget that is targeted to your income and expenses you know where your money goes each month. This gives you the freedom to spend money without worrying about whether you can afford a particular item or not. We all know that fear of picking up an item at the store and wondering whether we can afford this. Much of the time we shrug our shoulders and make the purchase anyway.

What we are left with at the end of the month is a lot of regret. Instead of wondering where your money went at the end of each month, having a budget is an alternative to fiscal responsibility. This becomes even more important when you have a monthly obligation like child support to care for. Ultimately, the child support you pay benefits your child the most. Do not look at the situation as one where you are paying child support to your ex-spouse. Rather, you are paying the support to your ex-spouse on behalf of your child.

Having an emergency fund and paying child support

An emergency fund is the second helpful hint that the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to provide to you. We have seen the benefits of an emergency fund for clients many times over the years. an emergency fund is a rainy-day fund. Having an emergency fund allows you to plan for unexpected occurrences in your life that tend to pop up from time to time. These are things that each of us run into though we cannot predict when we will run into them.

An emergency fund is not the same thing as a savings account. For many of us, a savings account ends up being a second checking account that we tend to borrow from when we overspend or have a big-ticket item that we need to pay for. An emergency is not the same thing as buying a new car in most situations. Buying a new car is something that we can plan for over many years. 

However, an emergency is a situation where you get into a car accident and there is an issue with your insurance and the other drivers. When you get into a car accident and have no money from insurance to buy a new car that truly is an emergency. In that situation using an emergency fund would be appropriate. The same goes for acute and sudden health issues. The emergency fund helps prevent you from having to dig into your savings at every opportunity. The emergency fund is your buffer between you and life’s unplanned events.

Your ex-spouse is getting married. Now what does that mean for child support?

Let’s get back to the topic at hand. You find out from your son that his mother is getting married. The circumstance that immediately comes to your mind relates to child support. You recall from your divorce that your attorney told you remarriage absolves an ex-spouse from having to pay spousal maintenance. Therefore, you wonder whether the same is true when it comes to child support.

You and your ex-spouse have a good relationship, so you sent her a casual text message congratulating her. Your text message is sincere, but you’d also like to confirm that the marriage is occurring. Your ex-wife texts you back saying thank you. The wedding is going to happen. Now that you know this wedding will happen it is reasonable for you to begin to think about whether your obligation to pay child support is ongoing.

You know that the man she has been dating is successful financially. It is not as if he is someone who does not work or earns a very low salary. You want to do some digging on the requirements of child support after remarriage. Since you have your bills to pay, stopping child support would be great financially. However, you always want to do what is best for your son. How is this likely to shake out in your situation?

Looking at the best interests of your child

The answer to the questions regarding child support always comes down to what is in the best interests of your children. A best interest determination seeks to account for your child’s present and future needs. Trying to predict the future of a child is difficult. There are so many circumstances and other factors to consider. However, families like yours do their best to make these determinations using the information available to them at the time. However, as you will see changes in circumstances do occur. When those changes occur modifications of child support are possible.

One of the important aspects of this discussion is that even if there has been an important change in your life that does not mean child support will automatically be changed or updated. Rather, the most important criterion is still the best interest of your child. It is presumed that parents such as yourself make decisions in the best interests of their children. A court will also make the best interest determination on behalf of the children.

Talking to your ex-spouse about child support

One of the most uncomfortable conversations that you can have with your ex-spouse has to do with child support. Simply put, it is not something that anyone wants to discuss. Once you have a child support set people want to leave the discussion there. However, circumstances do change, and you need to communicate with your ex-spouse about those changes. Hopefully, the two of you have the kind of relationship where discussions like this informally can take place.

If not, the time to begin those discussions is now. Do not assume that you will get nowhere by talking to him or her. That is the sort of attitude that results in problems arising in your relationship. Rather, presume the best of your parents and work towards positive resolutions. Remember that your co-parent wants what is best for your children, as well. You may not see eye to eye on every subject, but it is still worth talking to him or her. Honesty goes a long way in these kinds of conversations.

Without a doubt, child support is not an easy subject to discuss with your co-parent. However, the benefits of doing so are continually great. At the same time, the two of you can resolve issues before they become major problems for your child. Learning co-parenting skills takes time and effort. Working with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan allows you to develop the skill set necessary to do so.

Modifying child support after remarriage

Getting back to the subject at hand, your child support obligation may end once your ex-spouse remarries. However, it is unlikely that your obligation to pay child support would come to an end because of the remarriage. The reason for this is that you and your co-parent have the obligation to support your child. Your ex-spouse’s new husband does not have a legal obligation to support your son.

As a result, the focus remains on you and your child’s mother to support him. A remarriage does not strictly change anything about that relationship. However, filing a child support modification when your ex-wife remarries is worthwhile. As we just discussed, a court will look at whether a material and substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the last time you were in court. If it is determined that a material and substantial change has occurred, then the possibility exists that the modification may happen.

However, any reduction in the child support that you pay would have to be in line with the best interest of your child. The court would still look at the circumstances of your child and determine whether receiving less in child support was in his best interests. It may not be the case that this is true. For example, if your child has developed an illness or other chronic issue then he still may need the same amount of child support. Presenting a full perspective on the circumstances of your family is critical.

Paying child support in Texas means thinking about your options

One of the nice parts about a Texas family law case is that the parties can decide on issues themselves. It is not as if the family court judge swoops in on day one and starts making decisions. Rather, you and your co-parent are given every opportunity to settle the issues yourselves. This can be done informally between yourselves. Or you may choose to go through formal settlement negotiations.

Informal settlement negotiations occur all the time in Texas family law cases. This would involve you and your co-parent negotiating the case yourselves. You can utilize your knowledge of the circumstances to determine the best interests of your child. As we just discussed, nobody is in a better position to settle your case than you and your co-parent. Setting aside your differences is the key to this entire discussion. Focusing on the best interests of your child unless you roll to do so.

Formalized settlement negotiations occur in mediation. Mediation involves you and your co-parent meeting with a third party. That third party helps to resolve any outstanding issues in your case. When it comes to child support a mediator helps by bringing to light circumstances the two of you may not have. Most of the time a mediator is an experienced and practicing family law attorney. This person does not give advice but does provide a different set of eyes and ears to examine your issues.

Final thoughts on family law cases involving child support

If nothing else, we hope that you take away from this blog post an observation that circumstances are constantly evolving in a family’s life. For you and your family, it is important to keep your eyes and ears open. What was in the best interest of your child one day may no longer be so. As a result, focusing on your child puts you in a great position to serve him or her.

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are grateful to our clients. We gained the opportunity to serve clients throughout the family courts of Texas. It is our aim to do so with a great deal of humility and with an attitude geared towards serving our clients and their families. We are a group of lawyers who approach cases with an eye toward detail and the heart of a teacher.

Thank you for joining us today on our blog. Our attorneys post unique and interesting blog posts every day of the week geared toward educating our community. If you have any questions about the material you have read today please do not hesitate to contact our office. Our attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week. There, we can answer your questions and provide you with helpful information for your circumstances.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan    

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. Interested in learning more about how your family is impacted by the material in this blog post? Contact us today.

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