If you are divorced and your ex spouse marries a very wealthy person, you may think you are off the hook for your monthly alimony payments. However, don't just stop paying until you find out if you are legally allowed to do so. Here are some questions you may have with regard to alimony and a new wealthy spouse:
Does the State Matter?
Yes, the state you live in absolutely plays a part as to whether or not you will have to continue paying alimony. In some states, alimony ends as soon as a former spouse remarries, no matter the income bracket of the new spouse. There are other states that will require you to either keep paying the alimony until you get a court order that allows you to stop paying even if your former spouse marries high on the hog.
Should the Courts be Involved?
Not necessarily. You and your former spouse are welcome to try to figure out your alimony situation on your own. If your ex marries someone who makes a large amount of money, they may be just fine with you stopping the alimony. If you can work it out amicably and come to an agreement to end the support, you will need to make it official with a written, signed, and notarized document that says you both agree to the end of the alimony payments.
However, some people who split up and still have some bad blood between them may still have it out for each other and demand the alimony remain, even if for spite. If that happens, you will have to go back to court and file a motion to make a change in the amount you have to pay or end it altogether. The court could agree with you if they think there has been a significant or substantial change in the circumstances, including financial status of your former spouse's new marriage.
What if they are Just Living Together?
Again, it may depend on the state you live in, but you could still have a chance to get out of alimony payments even if they are just living together without being married. If they are co-habitating and living as if they are married, they are likely both contributing to their expenses together. This is often considered a substantial change in circumstances that can free you from paying support. If there is a way you can prove that your ex is living with someone of substantial means, you could petition the court for a suspension of support payments.
If you are paying support to a spouse who has a new partner with significant wealth, you have a decent shot of getting out of alimony. However, if you are paying child support for your kids, you must continue to pay that unless you work something out with your ex spouse. Don't make the mistake of stopping child support just because you no longer pay alimony, or you could find yourself in some legal hot water. Contact a professional divorce lawyer, such as William K Holman, for further assistance.