Will Remarriage Affect Your Existing Child Support Order in Virginia?

A new child or spouse may warrant a modification in an existing Child Support Order in Virginia. 

By: John Whitbeck

[6.29.2020] If you are a divorced parent who has to comply with an existing child custody order in Virginia, and you are thinking about marrying a new romantic partner, it is time to ask yourself: “Does remarriage actually affect child support in Virginia?”

Following a divorce, Virginia judges use specific guidelines to determine and calculate child support. Support awards are based on the number of children and the parents’ joint income. Once a total support figure has been determined by the court, it will divide the amount proportionally based on the parents’ individual incomes.

Modifying an existing Child Support Order in Virginia Following Remarriage

In order to change or adjust your child support order in Virginia, you have to prove a substantial change in circumstances. Typically, there must be a material change in circumstances in order to justify changing the existing Child Support Order.

If remarriage affects your child support payment ability, you are more likely to modify the order. In rare cases, a parent may be able to terminate their child support obligation.

In and of itself, remarriage does not count as a “substantial” change in circumstances that could warrant the adjustment of a Child Support Order. After all, a payor parent’s new spouse does not have an obligation to support their spouse’s children from prior relationships. Nonetheless, remarriage has potential aspects that may affect the existing child support order.

How A New Child May Warrant a Child Support Order Modification

Virginia’s child support guidelines provide an income deduction for biological and adopted children that are not involved in the existing support order. Va. Code § 20-108.1 provides that any monetary support for “other family members,” including new children, is one of the factors to consider.

However, a parent’s financial responsibility for a new child after remarriage does not necessarily establish a substantial change in circumstances. It is merely a factor that the court will consider when deciding whether to modify the existing support order.

How A New Spouse May Warrant a Child Support Order Modification

Although your new spouse has no obligation to support your child from a prior relationship, his or her presence may play a substantial role if you are seeking to modify the child support order.

A Virginia family court might justify a support modification if remarriage changed a parent’s ability to provide child support. If marrying a new romantic partner affected a parent’s expenses, the court may consider modifying the existing support order.

The more your spouse contributes to household costs, groceries, and other costs, the less individual income you have to spend. Thus, this leaves you with more money that could go to supporting your children.

In short, remarriage can affect child support, but it may be different in your particular case.  Under certain circumstances, remarriage gives both spouses a right to modify their current child support order. It is important you to seek legal counsel to guide you through the process. 

Contact WhitbeckBennett by calling 800-516-3964 or email clientservices@wblaws.com to determine how remarriage would affect your existing Child Support Order in Virginia and learn how our team can help.

WhitbeckBennett provides social-distancing in-person consultations, private consultations by video conference at our office, or telephone/video consultations anywhere you may be located. We also currently offer a Virtual Consultation Room.

Related: Divorce; Child and Spousal Support;