In the United States, the rate of divorce is about 50 percent, and people’s chance of divorcing increases with each subsequent marriage. Why are second marriages at even more risk? While we don’t know the exact reason, dealing with child support, ex-husbands and wives and blended families are probably all relevant factors that strain many second marriages.
If you have been ordered to pay your ex child support and you are remarried or you plan to give marriage a second chance, it’s important to understand the many ways that child support arrears can impact your second marriage and NOT in a good way. If you can be aware of these potential issues now, perhaps you can avoid them so they never do wind up causing undue strain on your new marriage.
How Can Child Support Cause Problems?
As long as you pay your child support on time, you shouldn’t run into any issues, but if you start skipping payments, that’s when the local child support agency will start a variety of enforcement actions, many of which can affect your new marriage.
Examples of how back child support can impact your new marriage:
- If you fall behind more than $2,500 in child support, you will be denied a U.S. passport. If you’re supposed to travel abroad for your honeymoon, you will not be able to leave the country. This can upset your fiancé.
- If your arrears reach a certain threshold, your Florida driver’s license will be suspended and your new spouse will have to become your driver. This can place a lot of stress on the relationship.
- As your arrears accrue, other licenses, such as professional and business licenses and recreational licenses will be suspended. If a license suspension prevents you from earning a living, how will that affect your finances and your new marriage?
- Child support can be taken from joint bank accounts, even if the money deposited in the account came from your new spouse’s paycheck. This can cause a lot of upset with a new spouse.
- If you own a home with your new spouse and owe child support, a lien can be placed on the home, preventing you from selling or refinancing until the child support debt is paid off.
- If you and your spouse are expecting a tax refund, it can be taken for past-due child support.
- If you win the Florida lottery, it can be taken for child support.
- You can be held in contempt of court for the failure to pay child support, fined and jailed. How would this affect your new marriage?
If you are ever in the situation where you can’t afford your child support payments because you have lost your job or because you have gone on workers’ compensation or Social Security Disability, contact our office right away for help petitioning the court for a downward modification. Child support is not retroactive and it does not change unless a court says it does, so you want to be proactive and take care of it right away.