If a Divorced Spouse Gets Remarried, Does This Terminate Spousal Support?

Spousal support is a way to give financial security to a recently divorced spouse who significantly earned less during the marriage. In this way, the quality of that spouse’s life won’t drastically decline due to separating from his or her spouse. The couple can decide what the terms of spousal support look like and then present it to the court for final approval. However, if they cannot agree then a judge will decide instead.

Let’s say that the judge determined one spouse needs support, and is to receive payments from the other spouse for a certain period of time or permanently. But what happens if the recipient spouse begins cohabiting or married another person? Does this mean the spousal support will be terminated? Here we answer that question:

What Spousal Support May Be Used For

When a spouse is awarded spousal support, these funds are often used for basic necessities of living, such as rent, clothing, groceries, and medical care. In some situations, the spouse in need may have to take classes or go through training in order to find a job. The spouse paying support may have to help fund this education if it will help the recipient spouse begin to earn a solid living on their own. The court will determine if this is necessary based on the circumstances of the marriage.

The spouse receiving spousal support should be careful as to their spending habits and how they portray their lifestyle during this time. The paying spouse can file for spousal support cancellation to the court if they see that their ex is taking lavish trips, failing to apply for jobs, and living a luxurious lifestyle, when they formerly made it seem like they would be homeless without spousal support. The court may terminate spousal support if they feel that the recipient spouse has had plenty of time to find a job and/or has abused these funds. 

When The Recipient Spouse Remarries

A big factor that can change spousal support is when the recipient spouse remarries. Since the recipient spouse would then be benefiting from becoming a dual-income household because of the remarriage, there may not be a need for spousal support payments any longer. If you are the recipient spouse who is worried that spousal support will be terminated after you remarry, you may want to consult with a divorce lawyer, like from Gray & Becker, P.C., before taking that step. 

When The Paying Spouse Remarries

If the paying spouse remarries, then spousal support is unlikely to change. The payments are probably just going to continue as normal. The only time spousal support modification may be needed is if a child is born within the new marriage. In the eyes of the court, supporting the new child usually takes precedence over funding an ex spouse. If the paying spouse finds that they are having trouble keeping up with spousal support payments after the new baby, they can petition to the court for modification and/or termination.