Getting Remarried? Legal Considerations for ‘Blended Families’

Congratulations on giving marriage another shot! We know this is an exciting time, but we want you to be aware that it can also be a challenging one, especially if you and your partner have children from previous marriages or relationships.

Before saying, “I do,” think about how your new marriage will affect your situation, legally.

Custody Orders

You may be getting a new spouse, but your children still have the same parents. The same thing is true for your new partner’s children. You and your partner will need to balance existing child custody orders and visitation arrangements or ask the court to modify them.

Keep in mind that your partner will have to interact with your ex, and you may have to interact with your partner’s ex. Try to be respectful and work together. The last thing you want is to end up in court because someone has hurt feelings.

When it comes to decisions about your children with your ex, remember that your ex still has a say. Legally speaking, your ex has a say, and your new partner does not. Before moving, enrolling your child in a new school, or making any big decisions about your child’s life, discuss the situation with your child’s coparent.

Moving to the next county over and enrolling your children in a better school may be a no-brainer to you and your partner, but your child’s other parent may have objections. Make sure both your child’s biological parents have input into major life decisions. The same is true for any children your partner has from a previous marriage or relationship.

Child Support

Child support typically does not change when you get remarried. A new spouse's income does not enter into the equation of what "guideline" child support is. The child support remains the percentage of the obligor (person paying child support)'s net income.

How remarrying might cause an issue with child support is if the obligor starts being a stay-at-home parent or reduces their workload to a part-time schedule to accommodate the demands of their new family and quits or reduces working for money. The Court can still look at the obligor's previous income and find they are intentionally underemployed or unemployed (so as to avoid child support). The obligor's income can still be imputed (assigned a value based on history not current fact) to the income they had before requiring the now stay-at-home obligor to continue paying child support at the full or partial rate as when they were working.

Alimony

Keep in mind, Texas does not have alimony by law at all. Such an order literally only exists in circumstances where the parties agree to it, in which case the alimony is contractual and a joint income with a remarriage will not affect the contract unless the terms of the contract say so.

However, if the party receiving spousal maintenance begins cohabitating with a new romantic partner, or gets remarried – both of those do terminate spousal maintenance by law.

Do I Need to Talk to a Lawyer Before Getting Remarried?

Speaking to a lawyer is a good idea before signing any kind of contract. In addition to entering a new marriage contract, consider a prenuptial agreement. Signing a prenup can protect you and your children as you embark on a new adventure, and a good attorney can help you plan for the success of your blended family.

Camille Borg Law PLLC can prepare you for compliance with all existing court orders and help you make modifications, if appropriate. Our team can also represent you if any legal conflicts arise.

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