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What will happen to child support if you remarry or cohabit?

| Jan 21, 2021 | Family Law |

The loss of companionship that divorce causes is palpable. It makes sense, then, that many divorcees start dating soon after their proceedings end. In your case, you might have had little trouble meeting a new partner, and you two may now be ready to begin your life together. Yet, if you have children, you may feel apprehensive about cohabiting or tying the knot, especially if your former spouse provides you with child support. Your concerns are understandable, since the amount of child support you receive could change.

How remarriage can affect child support

Under North Carolina law, child support payments are modifiable in two situations. The first situation is if three years have passed since the last modification of your child support order. And the second situation is if either you or your former spouse have experienced a substantial change in circumstances.

If your former spouse petitions to modify their child support payments after you remarry, there is no guarantee that the court will consider the event a substantial change in circumstances. Since your new spouse has no obligation to provide for your children, their income alone will not affect the amount of child support you receive. But if you and your children’s standard of living has markedly improved after your remarriage, the court may conclude that you have more income available than before to support your children with. In this case, the court could reduce your former spouse’s child support payments.

How cohabitation can affect child support

If you and your partner decide to cohabit, yet are in no rush to marry, it is very unlikely you’re your choice will affect the amount of child support you receive. One possible exception to this rule, though, is if your partner makes significant contributions to your life – such as paying your expenses or providing you with free housing or transportation. In this case, your former spouse can petition to modify their child support payments if they believe these contributions represent a substantial change in your circumstances. The court will use its discretion, however, to determine whether they have changed enough to warrant a modification of your child support order.

In North Carolina, the impact of remarriage or cohabitation on child support is often determined on a case-by-case basis. To understand whether your circumstances could affect the amount of child support you receive, you will want to consult a family law attorney.