Although it is possible for spousal support payments to continue after remarriage, it is extremely rare. Unlike child support payments, spousal support may be discontinued for any number of reasons, including the recipient’s reliance on a new spouse. In most cases, the best option for divorcing spouses is to secure an amount during the separation that will last the rest of their lives, whether they decide to remarry or not.
Collecting Alimony Payments After Remarriage
Alimony is supposed to provide rehabilitative payments to a spouse who may not have the ability to earn a sustainable living. These payments are meant to offer temporary support, allowing a spouse to get a degree, search for a job, or otherwise become self-sufficient. As a result, Rhode Island law states that a spouse’s obligation to pay alimony terminates when a recipient spouse remarries, since the new spouse would presumably be able to offer financial support.
While a property settlement agreement created during a divorce may allow alimony to continue after remarriage, this can create further difficulties, including:
- Tax considerations. Alimony is taxed differently than other payments received from a former spouse. After remarriage, spousal support payments do not qualify as “alimony” and are no longer eligible for federal tax benefits.
- Ability to pay. If an ex-spouse loses the financial ability to continue to provide alimony, a court may find that the obligation is not necessary and discontinue payments.
- Other concessions. A provision in the property settlement agreement securing future alimony after remarriage may come at a cost such as relinquishing family heirlooms, investment accounts, or other items of value.
Since alimony payments depend on so many unpredictable factors, the most effective method of protecting your future is to make provisions during the divorce that end your reliance on your former spouse. If you need help determining how much you are owed or drafting a fair property settlement agreement, fill out our online contact form today to set up your initial consultation with a family law attorney at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum.