After a divorce, it can be difficult to even imagine getting involved in a new relationship. The trauma of ending one type of life and starting over as a single individual, or a single parent, can seem overwhelming enough as it is. For this reason, when most divorced couples go through divorce proceedings, they calculate spousal support on the presumption that any spouse receiving support is likely to be single for a long period of time, and will need to the financial support of a former partner to make this transition.
Sometimes, however, life catches us by surprise. New relationships arise and our plans for the future change. While a second marriage is something to celebrate, it also requires divorcees to consider how remarriage might impact their spousal support and what financial decisions they might need to make to accommodate these changes.
Calculating Spousal Support at the Time of Marriage in Rancho Cucamonga
In California, when a couple divorces, one of the spouses may be entitled to financial support from the other. This is known as spousal support or alimony. Spousal support can be paid in one lump sum or it may be made in monthly payments of a specific amount from one spouse to the other. Sometimes spousal support is for a limited period of time while the receiving spouse gets back on his or her feet. Other times, the support may be more indefinite and will continue until death.
Spousal support presumes that the receiving spouse is supporting him or herself and needs the assistance of the paying spouse in order to live a lifestyle similar to the one that the couple had while married. For obvious reasons, when a receiving spouse decides to remarry, this can change the spousal support equation and require courts to reconsider whether support is even necessary.
Spousal Support and Remarriage in California
Under California law, the answer on whether an individual can receive spousal support after remarrying is clear – they cannot. The obligation to pay spousal support ends when the individual decides to remarry. One spouse may voluntarily decide to continue to make payments to the other, but there is no obligation to do so.
There is more of a grey area where the receiving spouse has moved in with another individual and is sharing expenses or income with that person, but they are not yet married. In this situation, the law does not require spousal support to end, but the paying spouse can request termination or modification from the court if he or she believes that paying spousal support is no longer appropriate. California law does provide that there is a presumption that spousal support can be lowered where one spouse is cohabitating with another individual.
Terminating or modifying support requires a showing that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Thus, you’ll need to explain how your former spouse’s new living situation substantially changes his or her economic reality – such as whether there has been an increase in income in the household, or decreased expenses because they are shared.
California Attorneys Making Sure You Understand Your Support Rights And Obligations
Whether you are a spouse who is paying support or the one who is receiving it, it is important to understand how changes in circumstances such as cohabitation or remarriage can affect your rights and responsibilities under California law. Particularly where spousal support is significant, a change in circumstances can greatly impact your financial picture.
At CKB Vienna LLP our family law attorneys can help you evaluate whether you are at risk of losing your spousal support, or whether it makes sense to move to modify or terminate support. For more information, contact us online or at 909-980-1040.