The 2018 Chevy Bolt EV incorporated two revolutionary changes over the 2017 model: a heated steering wheel and no map pocket. For a market sector that prides itself on literally reinventing the wheel every year to sell cars, the Bolt EV throws a monkey wrench into that engine of industry. The same is true for Virginia divorce; some changes are not really changes. Take remarriage after divorce: remarriage in Virginia is not the end of child support.
Does Remarriage Cancel the Divorce Decree?
The Bolt EV removes the front passenger seat’s back map pocket, a move sure to infuriate the burgeoning map-and-electric vehicle demographic.
A divorce decree is a kind of map to your future. In the decree, a legally binding document, the Virginia court spells out all the pertinent issues:
- Child support
- Visitation or parenting time
- Spousal support
- Real and intangible property division
- Methods of settling future issues
When you or your ex-wife announce plans to remarry, the divorce decree remains in force. When either of you remarries, the divorce decree remains in force. The only sure aspect that must change with remarriage is spousal support, under Code of Virginia § 20-109, which stipulates three reasons:
- Cohabitation analogous to marriage (shacking up for 1+ years)
- Remarriage (she finds the second Mr. Right)
- Death (we hope this is self-explanatory)
That — spousal support — is the easy one. It is cut and dried: you shack up for a certain period of time, you remarry, or you die; then spousal support can end.
Comfort Through Troubled Times
A heated steering wheel is exactly the help needed for the trickier navigation of getting through the Code of Virginia’s limitations on modifications to child support.
No matter the changing circumstances, if one spouse is ordered to pay the other for support of the children, that support must continue. The reason is actually a rare instance of justice and law aligning:
The new spouse — your wife marries the second Mr. Right; you marry the second Ms. Right — is under no legal obligation to financially support children from your marriage.
This is fair to all parties, since the second Mr. or Ms. Right had nothing to do with the decision to have the child. You and your ex-wife bear a responsibility to provide for the child no matter where you two end up. The child, a complete innocent to the entire process, deserves all the support you provided when your family was intact.
Unlike new car models, children do not come in and out of fashion, to be replaced in some strange clearance sale before the arrival of the new model. They grow, they develop, and they require constant maintenance and loving support.
The circumstances of the adults supporting them may change, but the need to provide for your own children does not change (and for any Virginia fathers with young children, you will eventually learn the Dad ATM does not turn off once they hit adulthood at 18, either).
The income used to calculate child support is the birth mother’s and birth father’s, not the new spouse’s income. The second Mr. Right has no financial stake in your kids, so you cannot petition the court that he, not you, should pay for your kids, even if they are in your ex-wife’s and his physical custody.
Aftermarket Modifications: Changing Child Support Payments
This does not mean you cannot petition the court for changes to child support payments. You can, under Code of Virginia § 20-108, if circumstances for you (as the payor) have materially changed.
Military personnel, for example, can have child support and visitation decrees modified on an expedited basis if they are to be deployed. Others may petition the court for “relief sought … as the circumstances of the parents and the benefit of the children may require.”
Perhaps you had your employment hours cut back, or were fired or laid off; these are legitimate reasons to change the calculation of child support (but not stop it altogether). Perhaps you become disabled, or your children mature out of the need for daycare expenses. These are all legitimate reasons to modify child support payments.
Reasons to change your child support payment the court will reject, though, include all these:
- Your decision to deliberately be underemployed
- Your spouse remarrying
- You remarrying
- Your spouse refusing to let you see your children
- You refusing to pay court-ordered child support
Take The Firm For Men for a Test Drive
As Virginia family law attorneys, we have little automotive expertise. But to get accurate answers to legal questions about child support, we strongly recommend you take your own family law lawyer for a sort of test drive, so your children do not suffer from your (or your ex-spouse’s) misconceptions about Virginia family law.
Your call to The Firm For Men at 757-383-9184, or your online contact, can help you find ready answers to your most confounding questions. Whether you face issues of child support, parenting time, divorce and remarriage, or accusations of infidelity, we are ready to roll up our sleeves and see justice done. We defend Virginia men’s rights every day, and we look forward to working with you.