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Planning for marriage to someone with children

If your future spouse is paying child support:

  • Payments usually continue for a specified period
  • Payments could increase in the future
  • Your future spouse's ex-spouse can request that the court increase support payments as a result of your contribution to the household income
Marrying someone with children means dealing with the financial issues that all couples face when getting married, plus some that are uniquely related to rearing someone else's children. Here are some points to consider.

If your future spouse is receiving child support:

  • Payments usually continue for a specified period
  • There's no guarantee the amount of the payments will remain the same
  • An ex-spouse can petition the court to reduce payments under certain circumstances (e.g., upon job loss)

If your future spouse is receiving alimony from a prior marriage:

  • Consult the divorce decree for the terms
  • Alimony payments may be reduced or stopped upon remarriage

Planning your estate:

  • Consider how you'll dispose of your assets to provide for a surviving spouse, children, and stepchildren upon your death
  • Child custody can be difficult to obtain when you're not biologically related to the child
  • Discuss these issues with your attorney

If you divorce:

  • You're unlikely to be required to make child support payments for a stepchild
  • You can be required to make child support payments if you've adopted the child

Consider a prenuptial agreement to:

  • Spell out each spouse's rights, duties, and obligations during marriage
  • Specify what happens if you separate or divorce, or if one of you dies
  • Protect the legal rights of both spouses and of any children involved