When Stepparents Come In The Picture

Marriages involving children from previous marriages can be challenging. Although stepparents don’t have a legal responsibility for their stepchildren, they often spend the most time with them. Couples with young children particularly will struggle at first to bond with stepchildren. But what happens when your ex remarries after a divorce? Will the new mom or dad have any rights to your children? Will they have to provide child support too? These are issues you should discuss with a Salt Lake City family law attorney.

Child support

When a parent decides to remarry, the new spouse’s income is not considered when calculating child support. Although it may come as second nature, stepparents are not obligated to provide for stepchildren. Just keep in mind, the ex-spouse can still petition to modify the amount of child support. The judge may consider other factors, besides the income, to modify child support payments. For instance, perhaps you have debts your new spouse is willing to pay and these debts were the cause of lower child support in the past. This can be the basis of your ex-spouse’s request in court that your payments will increase.

Child custody

Non-custodial parents will continue with the same custodial arrangements when they remarry since they are not the child’s primary home. Nevertheless, custodial parents may have the ex-spouse seeking to modify the custody arrangement, especially when the stepparent exhibits abusive behavior. Even when circumstances such as abusive behavior are not present, the court may still modify the custody arrangement.

Federal Student Aid

For grown-up children, the stepparent income needs to be submitted on their FAFSA when they submit their financial aid application for college. This will apply only to noncustodial parents even in circumstances when the stepparent signed an agreement freeing him or her from any financial responsibilities with the stepchildren.

Understanding stepparents’ rights

Stepparents don’t have any legal rights to obtain the custody of your children. It’s the biological parent the one entitled to such rights. However, there are some rare circumstances when the stepparent may obtain child custody such as when adopting stepchildren or when biological parents are unfit to raise their children.

Time for a change

Perhaps you have considered remarrying but you are afraid of how your new relationship will impact your children’s lives or how it will affect important matters such as child custody and child support. Whether you or your ex have decided to take a second chance in life, it’s important you consult a Salt Lake City family law attorney to find out about all the legalities involved together with other family law issues that may arise. Contact an attorney Emy A. Cordano today and schedule your initial case evaluation. She will assist you with any domestic legal issues you may have and will ensure your rights and the rights of your family are fully protected.

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