Many who divorce find love again. But before tying the knot with a new partner, divorced parents may wonder how the new marriage might affect child custody arrangements. Generally, the court will not modify a child custody order unless it would significantly affect the child’s best interests.
Remarrying as the custodial parent
Remarriage can have positive and negative effects on children. On the positive side, if the new partner of a custodial parent can develop a caring relationship with the child and offer them a more stable home environment, the court is unlikely to see an issue with this.
However, children, especially younger ones, still hope their divorced parents will get back together. It is understandable that they may dislike their stepparents initially. Some children may also experience feelings of guilt over loving a stepparent or resentment over the new stepparent’s authority.
While it is normal for children to grieve over a divorced parent’s remarriage, they may also develop behavioral issues as a result. The stress of adjusting to a new family dynamic can cause a child to perform poorly in school or make poor decisions.
Noncustodial parents may seek child custody modification if their ex-spouse’s remarriage endangers the child’s well-being, whether from abuse, favoritism or neglect.
Remarrying as the noncustodial parent
The remarriage of a noncustodial parent may bear no impact on child custody agreements. However, if the noncustodial parent’s new relationship shows that they are now more stable and responsible, it could positively influence their visitation rights.
Unless the court sees a material change, whether positive or negative, that affects the child’s well-being, there is a low chance the judge will allow a modification. Material changes must be major and permanent, such as an improvement in one’s financial situation or relocation.
The court’s primary concern is always with the child’s well-being, not the parents. Before considering any major and permanent changes, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney who is well-versed in child custody laws.