After Alabama parents have completed their divorce and all the issues – including child support – have been settled, it is important to understand when there can be changes to the agreement. Knowing how marriage or remarriage can impact child support may be critical.

When one of the parents marries or remarries, it can spark changes to the child support agreement. There could be changes to income, new children in the household, greater household costs and tax considerations. If a parent gets remarried, the previous orders for child support will generally not be affected. The biological parents’ income is the determinative factor in child support, so the new spouse’s income should not be considered.

If there is a remarriage and back child support is owed, the new spouse’s income will not be factored in. The parent who is obligated to pay can have his or her wages garnished, but this does not extend to the new spouse. The new spouse can help on a voluntary basis. Delinquent payments can be addressed by confiscating a tax refund. If there is a joint return with a new spouse, this can be taken to satisfy what is owed. Modifying child support cannot be requested just because a spouse remarried. If there was a change in income, then there is a justification to ask for a modification.

There might be a rise in household expenses with a new marriage. The courts will consider a modification request in these situations. Finally, if there are children with a new spouse, the children from the prior relationship are prioritized with the child support order. Although there are basic rules with child support and a new spouse, a law firm experienced in these issues may be helpful in addressing the circumstances of the case.