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How Child Support Arrears Can Impact Your New Marriage

In the United States, approximately half of all first marriages end in divorce. Sounds like a grim statistic until you learn that second and subsequent marriages have an even higher risk of divorce. But why is it that second marriages are more doomed to failure than first marriages? We don’t know all of the “reasons” based on research, however, we are confident that many couples in blended families will openly admit, “Dealing with former spouses, child support, and stepchildren can put a lot of strain on a second marriage.”

For the purposes of this post, we would like to touch on the subject of past-due child support and how it can impact a second or third marriage. Why choose this topic? Because, all too often a parent will get divorced and remarried, without an inkling of how child support arrears can add stress to a new marriage. Usually, couples find out the hard way and it’s not always pleasant.

What You Need to Know

If you are a noncustodial parent who pays child support, or if you’re recently married to one and child support is new territory for you, we want to shed light on what could happen if child support becomes past-due and how it can negatively impact a new marriage.

  1. Whenever a noncustodial parent owes $2,500 or more in child support arrears, they will be denied a U.S. passport. If the spouse was planning on having their honeymoon in Europe, Mexico, or someplace else abroad, this can put a damper on their plans.
  2. A lot of married couples have joint bank accounts with their spouses. If a parent owes child support, their joint bank account can be levied, even if the funds in the account were deposited by their spouse, and from his or her earnings.
  3. If a parent files a joint tax return with their spouse and they owe back child support, their tax refund can be taken to pay their child support arrears.
  4. When a parent owes a certain amount of child support, all states have laws on the books that suspend a parent’s driver license, professional licenses, business licenses, occupational licenses, and recreational licenses. When a parent’s driver license is suspended, this clearly impacts their new spouse.
  5. Child support liens can be placed on real estate owned by noncustodial parents. If you own a home with your spouse, you may not be able to sell or refinance it until the arrears are paid and the lien is lifted.
  6. When parents owe back child support, their wages can be garnished for the full monthly amount, and for an additional amount to get caught up on arrears. This can directly impact the couple’s take-home pay.

We're only scratching the surface as to how child support arrears can impact a new marriage. If you’re having trouble keeping up with your child support payments, the best thing to do is contact us so we can help you come up with the best solution, one that will resolve the issue once and for all. For the peace of mind, you and your new spouse deserve, contact The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw.

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