If you have been divorced and currently collect or pay alimony and are planning to remarry, you may be wondering how alimony is going to be impacted by your new relationship status. Here, the divorce and family law attorneys at Rodier Family Law explain ways in which your alimony payments may change if you get remarried.
What is the Purpose of Alimony?
Alimony, also called spousal support or spousal maintenance, is a court-ordered financial provision one spouse must provide to the other spouse after divorce. Payments can be from either spouse and can be determined by the court or by agreement of the parties on the individual circumstances of each case. Alimony is not awarded in every divorce and can be short-term or permanent. Alimony is a spousal support option available for both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples.
If the court decides the issue of alimony at the conclusion of your case, there are certain key factors such as the duration of your marriage, each spouse’s financial needs, each spouse’s income, the potential of each spouse to provide support and more that the court must consider. The purpose of alimony is to provide financial support to the spouse who requires assistance post-divorce.
How Does Remarriage Affect Alimony?
Whether you are the supported ex-spouse or the paying ex-spouse in an alimony agreement, the terms of the alimony can change depending on certain factors if you or your ex-spouse decides to remarry. A paying ex-spouse will likely have to continue paying alimony to their supported ex-spouse even if the payor spouse decides to get remarried. However, if the paying ex-spouse’s remarriage results in the financial demands of alimony being impossible to meet, the court may decide to reduce the alimony payments in certain circumstances.
If you are the supported ex-spouse and decide to remarry, the alimony payments you receive from your ex-spouse will likely be reduced or terminated. Your paying ex-spouse will most likely no longer have to meet the financial demands of alimony once you remarry. For alimony payments to continue after remarriage of the recipient spouse, the language in the alimony agreement must be specific and clear regarding the stipulations concerning alimony.
Whether or not alimony was determined by an agreement between the parties or a judge at trial can also impact what happens to the alimony award if either party remarries. The parties can also agree that the alimony is non-modifiable no matter the future circumstances or modifiable only if certain conditions are met.
How Does Cohabitation Impact Alimony?
If two individuals decide to live together for an extended period of time, but are not married, this can prove complex in terms of alimony negotiations and payment from either of the individual’s former ex-spouses. Cohabitation is defined as a relationship between individuals who live together but are not legally married. Often, an ex-spouse paying alimony may wish to terminate the alimony payments if their supported ex-spouse is cohabiting with another individual. However, cohabitation does not meet the requirements for alimony termination, even if an ex-spouse collecting alimony is in a new relationship that resembles a marriage. Unless specifically part of an alimony agreement, a paying ex-spouse would still be required to provide alimony.
In addition, the state of Maryland does not recognize the creation of “common law” marriage, a marriage between two individuals who live together for an extended period of time but are not married. Therefore, a cohabiting couple does not have the same marital responsibilities as a couple that participated in a lawful marriage ceremony.
Contact a Family Law Attorney at Rodier Family Law to Learn More
Alimony payments can be complicated if you or your ex-spouse decides to remarry, which is why it is critical to have an experienced family law attorney assist you through the separation and divorce process. The family law attorneys at Rodier Family Law have extensive experience helping clients through divorce in Maryland and can help you navigate the intricacies of your personal situation. If you or your ex-spouse has decided to remarry and are wondering how this life event will impact alimony, speak to a qualified family law attorney at Rodier Family Law today.