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Managing conflict in divorce

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Helping your child cope with divorce


What Happens if the Spouse Who is Receiving Alimony Remarries?

When two people are in the process of divorcing and are deciding upon alimony they should take the time to discuss all of the side issues that accompany this, such as what happens if the spouse who is receiving alimony decides to get married again.

First both ex-spouses must look at their ability to be self-supporting. For example:

  • A person with no marketable skills, no college education or no specific training in any given field is less able to support themselves than is a person with a professional designation such as a doctor, lawyer or chartered accountant.
  • A person who suffers from a disability such as partial blindness, deafness or someone who is confined to a wheelchair is less readily able to support themselves than is an able bodied person.

When it comes time to mediate the agreement for alimony, both parties can agree

  • To place special circumstances into the final agreement, such as under what conditions alimony will be reduced or terminated all together.
  • As an example most people agree that an ex-spouse who moves in with or chooses to remarry another person with whom they are sharing household expenses no longer needs to be supported by the ex-spouse and can therefore cease the alimony payments.

If litigation takes place but no special circumstances are added into the alimony agreement at the time it is signed regarding what happens if a person remarries, then in some states, the courts are granted the right to end the alimony as soon as the ex-spouse receiving the alimony payments gets married again.

In other states the assumption is that if you remarry or if you choose to live with someone you are intimately involved with (cohabit) and you feel that you should still receive alimony and it should not be reduced due to the change in life circumstances, then you have to prove that even though they have remarried, their financial situation still makes it necessary to receive alimony payments from the ex-spouse.

Besides remarriage and cohabitation, there are other circumstances, which can be negotiated when it comes to ending the agreement to pay alimony to an ex-spouse who is not completely self-supporting. These include

  • Graduating from college and finding a well paying job.
  • Earning a great deal more money than was earned at the time the agreement was entered into.
  • Deciding from the very beginning on a specific date to terminate the alimony.

Sometimes once children reach an agreed upon age the alimony is reduced or terminated all together, and in many states once the spouse who is paying alimony retires, that ends the alimony agreement.

It is so important to discuss the possibility of future events taking place such as remarriage before both individuals sign the alimony agreement. In most cases once the alimony agreement is signed, the courts are not likely to amend it, except in extreme cases. In this way then it is important to discuss everything before the agreement is finalized.

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