The Difficulties of Remarrying With Spousal Support
Getting back into the dating scene is difficult after a divorce, especially if you start taking a hard look at your romantic relationships and your finances. You probably have lingering anxiety about mixing your property with another person, especially if you still have legal obligations to your ex, such as alimony. Even if you do not get married again, your new partner can be negatively impacted by these payments.
Is My New Partner Liable for My Spousal Support Payments?
After getting divorced, a judge may require you to pay spousal support to your ex until the order expires or is modified by the court. Legally, only you are obligated to make these payments, but things can become more complicated if your finances intermingle with another person’s.
For example, let us say you move in with a new partner. You may purchase a house together, co-sign on cars, or otherwise mix your finances together. So long as you continue to make spousal support payments on time, there is no issue. Your ex has no reason to go after you for late payments.
But if you miss payments, then your ex may be able to garnish your income, wages, and assets. If you have a joint bank account with your new partner, your ex may be able to claim funds from it to cover your missed payments. Generally, if you keep your income and assets separate from your new partner, they are safe from your spousal support payments and legal obligations.
Remarrying may have an impact on these payments as well, but only if you miss payments. As you may have realized in your last divorce, if you marry without a prenuptial agreement, untangling your finances from your spouse’s can be difficult. If you remarry while you are still paying spousal support, your new marriage’s assets may be impacted if you miss a payment and your ex ever tries to put a lien on your assets, such as a house you purchased with your new spouse.
Should I Wait Until Spousal Support Has Ended to Remarry?
The main way to protect your new partner from your spousal support payments is to make your payments on time and in full. If you ever have any issues making payments, such as if you lose a job or go through other financial hardships, talk to an attorney immediately. You may be able to petition the court to reduce your payments based on your drop in income.
If you want to legally protect your new partner, you should avoid intermixing your assets until your payments are complete. Typically, California courts only require spousal support payments for half the length of the marriage. If you were married for 10 years, then you would only be obligated to pay support for five years, but this can vary depending on the court and specifics of the divorce.
What If the Supported Spouse Remarries?
If you are providing spousal support to your ex and he or she gets remarried, California courts can end your obligations to make payments. This is not automatic, and you will need to petition the court to have your payments ended. In addition, if your ex did not inform you that he or she remarried and you continued to make payments, you may petition the court to grant you a refund. In each scenario, you should contact an experienced divorce attorney to discuss your options.
Have Questions About Spousal Support? Speak to an Attorney
At Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C., we understand the burdens you may face after getting divorced. We have more than 45 years of experience representing clients throughout San Diego in complex and high-asset divorces. We’ve seen firsthand how it impacts individuals when they try to move on with their lives. If you have difficulties making spousal support payments or need to discuss your legal obligations, contact a San Diego family law attorney at Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. We can review your case in a free consultation. Call our office at (858) 458-9500 to work with a board-certified family law specialist.