“If I get remarried, do I still have to pay alimony?”
This is a pretty common question – and it’s one there’s a definite answer to.
Yes, you still have to pay alimony to your former spouse if you get remarried. Here’s a closer look at what alimony is, why you pay it, and when you can stop paying it.
If I Get Remarried, Do I Still Have to Pay Alimony?
When you remarry someone after a previous marriage, you’re still obligated to pay alimony to your former spouse. (Only if you have a court order, though – otherwise, you aren’t legally obligated to pay spousal support.)
However, if your former spouse remarries – the one to whom you’re paying alimony – your obligation most likely ends.
What is Alimony?
Alimony, which is technically called spousal support, is money one party to a marriage must pay the other party. Spousal support can change hands for a short period of time, or the paying spouse may have to pay the receiving spouse until one passes away. When a court orders spousal support, these are the factors the judge must consider:
- Each party’s earning capacity
- How much the supported party contributed to the supporting party’s education, career or licensure
- The supporting party’s ability to pay
- Each spouse’s needs based on the standard of living established during the marriage
- Each spouse’s assets and obligations
- The duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age and health
- Evidence of a history of domestic violence or criminal convictions
- Tax repercussions for each spouse
- The balance of hardships to each party
- The ultimate goal that the supported party will be self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time
- Any other factors the court feels are just and equitable
Spousal Support: Why One Party May Have to Pay
Spousal support is typically only meant to help the lower-earning spouse to get on his or her feet. A judge may order it for a few years or longer, depending on the amount of time it should take for the other party to become self-sufficient.
In cases where one spouse stayed home to care for the children and the home while the other was the only income-earner, the court may award the stay-at-home spouse alimony so that he or she can gain the skills necessary to get a job and be competitive in the labor market. Likewise, in cases where one spouse stayed home to “hold down the fort” while the other went to school or furthered his or her career, the judge may order spousal support.
How Long Do You Have to Pay Alimony?
You have to pay alimony for as long as the judge orders it. Most spousal support orders come with conditions that will terminate spousal support. For example, if the receiving spouse remarries, he or she won’t be entitled to spousal support payments any longer; there’s a new spouse in the picture who can contribute to that person’s income.
“But if I get remarried, do I still have to pay alimony?” If that’s what you’re wondering, the answer is yes. Your remarriage doesn’t have any bearing on your former spouse’s needs. You must still pay alimony until your court order terminates it (such as when the supported spouse gets remarried or dies, or when the court ordered it for a specific period of time and that time expires).
You can ask the judge in your case to modify your spousal support order, though, even if none of the conditions that would ordinarily stop alimony payments have been met. You must show the court that circumstances have changed significantly. For example, if your income changes drastically and you can no longer afford to pay, you can petition the court to change your order. If the supported spouse moves in with someone, or if he or she starts making a lot more money, you can also ask the court to change your order. Your best bet is to consult with an attorney if you want to change the amount of spousal support you must pay.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Spousal Support?
While you can call us to ask, “If I get remarried, do I still have to pay alimony?” and we’ll be happy to hear from you, please know that the answer is yes. You still have to pay alimony if you get remarried. Otherwise, you can talk to us about changing your spousal support order, or get legal advice on whether you’ll have to pay alimony as part of your divorce – just call us at (209) 989-4425 or get in touch with us online to schedule your consultation. We’ll help you with every aspect of your divorce, from child custody and child support to property division.