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How Remarriage Can Impact Custody and Visitation

David Scott, P.A. Aug. 21, 2022

After divorce proceedings are finalized, conflicts are resolved, and families are able to move on with their lives, it’s becoming increasingly common for adults to remarry. According to some studies, an average of four in 10 new marriages involve at least one partner who has been married before. Among divorced adults who have not yet remarried, about half report that they are interested in marrying again.

For parents who are considering remarrying in the state of Florida, there is often some concern over how remarriage will impact time sharing arrangements with children. Time sharing (formerly known as “custody”) refers to the legal guardian status, residency, and caretaking responsibility of the child.

When parent marry again after a divorce, it can result in a significant change in their children’s lifestyle and home environment. A new adult figure will enter their everyday lives, and it may be an adjustment to get used to the idea of their parents involved with a different romantic partner. Generally speaking, remarriage should not affect a time sharing arrangement, but there are some exceptions.

Negative relationship with the new stepparent. If your new spouse doesn’t get along with your child because he or she is irresponsible or abusive, this can create a problem. Your child might refuse to visit you if he or she feels uncomfortable, frightened, or angry with your new spouse. Courts may consider revising a time sharing order if they find that a negative change has occurred as a result of your new marriage.

Positive relationship with the new stepparent. However, a remarriage certainly doesn’t always equal a negative change. If your new partner is kind, supportive, and friendly with your child, this can have a wonderfully stabilizing and positive impact on your family environment. Oftentimes, parents are able to offer a healthier and more welcoming home environment after remarrying a kind and loving spouse. If you were not satisfied with your original time sharing arrangement, the courts may grant you additional visitation with your children if you demonstrate that your remarriage has changed your relationship in a positive way.

Change in financial situations. A new marriage on its own will not typically change child support obligations for either parent. However, the amount of child support could be affected if an alimony obligation terminates as a result of one parent’s remarriage. When this occurs, there may be an increase in income for one parent, and a decrease in income for the other. If the change qualifies as a “substantial change in circumstances,” this could justify a request for an increase or decrease in child support.

If You are Seeking a Change in Your Child’s Time-Sharing Arrangement

If you are a parent who is seeking to modify the terms of your time-sharing arrangement, you may need to demonstrate in court that you or your spouse’s remarriage has impacted your child’s home life and environment. This can be done with the help of a knowledgeable lawyer with experience in Florida family law.

A skilled attorney may be able to help you navigate the complex laws surrounding time sharing and remarriage. Your attorney can review the terms and conditions of your time-sharing and child support order, and help you understand your legal and financial options. Your lawyer may make recommendations regarding your unique situation, and help you defend your rights as a parent and protect the interests of your child in court.