It is a common concern among divorced parents that remarrying will impact their child custody rights. It is important to understand that, in most cases, a new relationship should not have a direct effect on your ability to properly parent and maintain custody of your child or children, with few exceptions. Here, the divorce and family law attorneys at Rodier Family Law discuss the relationship between remarriage and child custody.
Remarriage is Common Among Divorced Parents
It is a known reality that divorce is fairly common in our society—approximately 39% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. However, 75% of individuals who experience divorce also choose to later remarry. Therefore, remarriage is a significant life decision that divorcees often make, and many of these divorcees have children with a prior partner in their care at least part of the time. Luckily, for remarrying parents this life choice often does not impact their child custody rights. However, there are a few exceptions to that rule: factors such as family troubles, relocation and even child support may impact child custody.
Complex Family Situations
While the act of remarrying does not in itself impact a parent’s custody rights over their child or children, if the remarriage is not in the best interest of the child, and a party files to modify custody, the court may decide to make custody decisions to best protect the children. For instance, if the remarriage results in situations including abuse, favoritism, or neglect, a judge may decide to modify the physical schedule of custody or strip rights from the remarried parent in order to maintain the child’s safety and wellbeing. The court will always attempt to make a decision regarding custody that is in the best interest of the children; family discord that results from a remarriage could, therefore, directly impact your custody rights.
Sometimes, a remarriage may result in the new couple desiring to move to a different location, even to a different state, which directly impacts the children involved as well as the children’s other biological parent. In situations such as these, presuming that the move or other factors present a material change in circumstances, the court will make child custody decisions on a case-by-case basis. For instance, if a divorcee decides to remarry, and their new spouse resides in a different state, the court may decide to change custody to the other parent as a means to prevent uprooting the lives of the children and causing a drastic and overwhelming change in their lives or may permit the children to relocate.
If a remarriage does have an impact on child custody, this also means that child support could be impacted as well. In other words, if a divorced parent decides to remarry, and a significant life change such as relocation or family troubles affects their child custody rights, there could also be financial repercussions as well. If you are deciding to remarry, and your choice to remarry has subsequently impacted your child custody rights over your children and as well as your child support, it is imperative to contact the team of divorce and family law attorneys at Rodier Family Law. It is important to note, however, that the income of the new spouse is never considered “income” of the parent that has remarried for inclusion in any child support guideline calculation.
Discuss Your Options with the Divorce and Family Law Attorneys at Rodier Family Law
It is preferable, as a divorcee and a parent, that your decision to remarry not have an impact on your ability to see and raise your children. It is just as essential, however, that you are knowledgeable of the few exceptions that can occur, as well as what you should do if those scenarios happen to you. If you believe your decision to remarry may have an impact on your child custody rights, we encourage you to speak to a dedicated family law attorney at Rodier Family Law today.