Working out an agreement for child custody and other important issues in divorce can be challenging for North Carolina parents. If the relationship between parents is prone to contention, an unwillingness to compromise and cooperate can make child support or custody proceedings quite stressful. There are several things to keep in mind, especially if one or the other parent plans to remarry.

If there is an existing child support order, both parents must adhere to its terms. If the paying parent remarries, the income of a new spouse is not factored in as part of the guidelines that help the court determine a fair payment amount. A new spouse’s income may not be used to collect back payments that the paying parent might owe.

Regarding taxes, however, it is possible that a parent who owes child support and is filing a joint tax return with a new spouse may have to forfeit the entire return to the U.S. Government to satisfy payment debts. The new spouse may be able to petition the government for his or her portion of the return. It is possible that a parent’s remarriage may increase expenses in the household, thus making an existing child support order onerous.

If this is the case, the paying parent must petition a North Carolina family court for modification but is responsible for keeping up with payments in the meantime. Most parents always want what is best for their kids, especially when a divorce prompts major changes in their lives. An experienced family law attorney can help a concerned parent protect children’s best interests regarding child support and other custody-related issues.