Spousal support is often a thorny issue both during and after a legal separation or dissolution process. Explained simply, it takes money from one spouse and gives it to the other. California Family law established spousal support as a solution to meet a temporary need. As a supported spouse, when you remarry, your financial need changes. Your supporting spouse no longer owes support because the courts and the law assume that you no longer need it.
Spousal Support Helps Maintain Your Lifestyle
The ultimate goal for spousal support is to allow both parties to live the same lifestyle they shared during their marriage. Support also addresses the financial setbacks that often occur when spouses establish new households and take on additional responsibilities. The law and the courts grant support based on a complex assessment of need and ability to pay.
Spouses often require support both during the pendency period and after the court issues its final judgment. Family Courts have wide discretion in granting and terminating support, but it’s always based on documented evidence. Remarriage is one of the legally designated contingencies that automatically triggers a support termination.
Should You Consult With a Certified Specialist in Family Law?
Spousal support issues are often complicated. While California courts allow you to handle them on your own, you need to make sure you get it right the first time. As a Certified Specialist in Family Law, Attorney Steven M. Bishop has helped many San Diego families work through complicated spousal support issues.
Attorney Bishop understands your concerns, and he knows how to protect your legal rights. He has helped clients negotiate flexible support agreements. When necessary, he has presented compelling evidence, encouraging the court to support his client’s position. Attorney Bishop always provides the compassionate guidance and dedicated assistance his clients need.
How do Courts Assess Your Need for Spousal Support?
Spousal support is never automatic. The court hears evidence and decides if one spouse should make payments to the other. To reach an equitable decision, the court examines the presented evidence and considers each party’s financial and personal circumstances. As the spousal support remarriage termination is a Family Law statute, the court doesn’t necessarily have to include it in a final order.
Some couples negotiate their own support agreements. When you negotiate an agreement with your spouse, you have an opportunity to establish guidelines the court might not consider. While the court has a duty to comply with statutory guidelines, you may add your own stipulations. The court still has final approval over any agreement.
In reaching a support agreement, the court considers many relevant factors:
- Impairments to a spouse’s earning capacity due to household duties
- Contributions one spouse makes to the other spouse’s career
- Needs established during the marriage
- Assets and liabilities
- Capacity to pay support
- Length of the marriage
- Custody and care of dependent children
- Age and health issues
- History of domestic violence
- Potential tax consequences
How Is Spousal Support Supposed to Work?
In most situations, California Family Law allows spousal support as a temporary measure only. It helps a lower-earning spouse maintain his or her lifestyle while building a new life. Both the law and the court encourage the supported spouse to gain skills and upgrade his or her ability to support themselves. When a couple has a longstanding marriage, if they are older, or if one spouse is ill, the court also considers these factors in deciding support awards and termination provisions.
When the court awards support, it usually anticipates that the supported spouse will improve their financial standing. Considering this expectation, the court sometimes sets a calendar deadline for support termination. Either a judge or a negotiated agreement may set additional termination contingencies. A contingency is a specific situation or life-event that changes the supporting spouse’s obligation to pay.
Remarriage is a statutory contingency. California Family Code, Division 9, Part 3, Chapter 3, §4337 outlines the remarriage guideline in one simple sentence. It explains that unless the parties agree otherwise, the supporting spouse no longer has an obligation to pay when the supported spouse dies or remarries.
The law and the courts naturally presume that your new spouse will comply with his or her legal obligation to help support your household. Your remarriage should also provide additional resources that reduce your need for financial support. Terminating support after remarriage is consistent with these traditional expectations. The law recognizes this by eliminating your spouse’s legal obligation to support you.
How Long Does Spousal Support Continue After a Remarriage?
Based on California Family Law, the supporting spouse’s obligation to pay support ends upon “…the remarriage of the other party…” The wording is clear in its intent to immediately release the supporting spouse from future payment obligations. When spouses negotiate their own support agreement, they may add a provision that extends support beyond remarriage.
Do You Need to Take Action?
If you are a supported spouse who has remarried, a family law professional can assist you in complying with your duty to report your remarriage. Your attorney can also advise you if you must reimburse any support overpayments. As remarriage is a legal termination point for support obligations, your supporting spouse may take action if you don’t. He or she may file a motion to end your support. If the court is deducting support from his or her earnings, your ex may also seek to reduce the deduction order to zero.
San Diego Certified Specialist in Family Law
When you or your former spouse remarries, you need legal assistance to protect your rights. As a Certified Specialist in Family Law, Attorney Steven M. Bishop helps San Diego families understand their changing legal rights and obligations. He recognizes that economic issues are often challenging for families experiencing legal separation or dissolution. He provides compassionate guidance and comprehensive legal assistance when you need it most.
You may reach Attorney Steven M. Bishop at (619) 299-9780 or leave a message on our Contact Page.