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Beware: Child Support Arrears Can Impact Your New Marriage

In the United States, roughly half or 5 out of 10 first marriages end in divorce. Unfortunately, the chances of divorce rise with each subsequent marriage. Could exes, child support, and blended families add stress to second marriages, could that be part of the problem? It’s definitely a possibility, especially when you take a look at how child support arrears can affect a second or subsequent marriage.

When parents divorce, they can be in the dark about child support and what can happen when they fall behind on their payments. It’s typical for a noncustodial parent to assume they’ll simply owe a balance; they may not know the local child support agency has numerous collection tools in their or toolbox, many of which can add undue stress when a parent remarries.

Is Your New Marriage at Risk?

If a court has ordered you to pay child support and you skip payments, it won’t be long before enforcement measures are taken against you to collect the money you owe. Generally, these measures are negative and can cause a lot of stress, especially when you’re remarried.

Let’s take a closer look at how child support can impact your new marriage:

  • If you owe $2,500 or more in child support, you will be denied a U.S. passport. So, if your spouse was planning on traveling abroad with you, that trip will be put on hold.
  • If you skip too many payments, your driver’s license will be suspended. If you can’t drive, how will that affect your spouse? Will they have to drive you to and from work? This can lead to resentment and a huge inconvenience.
  • After a parent falls too far behind on child support, other licenses, like professional, business, and recreational licenses can be suspended. If your professional license, for example, is suspended, you may not be able to earn a living and this will likely impact your household budget and your new spouse.
  • If you have a joint bank account with your spouse, the bank account can be levied for child support arrears, even if the funds deposited came from your spouse’s earnings. This could make your spouse very upset.
  • If you own a home with your new spouse, a lien can be placed on the property and it can’t be refinanced or sold until the child support balance is paid.
  • If you expect a tax refund, you can kiss it goodbye as it goes to child support. If your spouse had their heart set on the money or if they had plans for using it, this can be very disappointing for them.
  • If you win the lottery, instead of it going to your new family, it can be put toward child support.

As you can see, there are many ways that child support can impact your new marriage. If you’re having trouble keeping up with the payments, our advice is to speak with an attorney from our firm and discuss petitioning the court for a downward modification. Since child support is not retroactive, it’s better to take action right away to protect the best interests of your new marriage.