When you and your partner separate or divorce and you have children in common, the court will enter orders affecting child custody. To make these initial orders, the court will consider your and your partner’s separate living situations and enter orders that the court believes support your child’s best interests.

As time passes, your circumstances and that of your ex will change. These changes can be small, such as a promotion at work, or significant, such as marrying a new spouse. Remarriage can lead the court to consider changing the custody arrangement if the court believes doing so will serve your child’s best interests.

An Introduction to Your Child’s Best Interests

Maryland law does not specifically define what the best interests of your child are. Instead, the law directs courts to consider a non-exhaustive list of circumstances, factors, and considerations to decide what would serve your child’s best interests at any given moment.

Some of the circumstances that a court will examine to determine your child’s best interests include:

  • Which parent is more financially stable
  • The other adults and children living in one parent’s home or the other
  • Which parent your child wants to live with
  • How strong of a bond your child has with each parent
  • How close each parent is to one another

The court having jurisdiction over your custody or divorce case can weigh these and other factors when making its initial custody decision. It will weigh these same factors when deciding if your circumstances have altered to such an extent that a change in custody is warranted.

Three Reasons Why a Remarriage Can Change Your Custody Arrangements

Just because you or your ex remarry following your divorce or separation does not automatically mean the court will change your custody arrangements. However, if your remarriage results in any of the following, the court may consider modifying your custody orders and parenting plan:

A Significant Change in Your Household Income

A remarriage that results in your household income substantially increasing or decreasing can affect the court’s decision to have your child live with you. If your new spouse makes a substantial amount of money, you may be in a better position now than you were at the time of the prior custody order to provide for your child’s needs on a regular basis. Similarly, if your new spouse has considerable medical needs, your ability to care for your child’s needs may change as well.

When combined with other factors, your household income can either persuade the court to award you primary custody or take it away. For example, a drop in household income or an increase in expenses may require you to work more hours. This, in turn, can impact how a court feels about you being the primary caregiver for your child.

A Major Change in Your Location

If you decide to relocate after marrying your new spouse, this decision can cause the court to reevaluate prior custody and visitation decisions. For example, suppose that you had primary custody of your child, and you and your ex live in the same town. Now that you have remarried, you decide to move with your new spouse to a new area of the country.

In this situation, the court will consider the effect of moving your child away from familiar surroundings and people. It will also consider the additional burden your move will impose on your ex-partner exercising parenting time. As a result, the court could decide to place your child with your ex-partner to keep them in familiar surroundings.

Your New Spouse Has a Criminal Record

Last, if your new spouse’s past suggests they may pose a danger to your child, the court may review how much time your child is permitted to spend with you. The court will be especially concerned if your new spouse has prior convictions for endangering children, committing acts of domestic violence, or sexually abusing children.

A court can take several actions, from awarding the other parent primary custody to limiting the amount of time you are permitted to spend with your child.

Get Experienced Legal Help From a Skilled Maryland Child Custody Lawyer

Whether you are seeking to maintain the status quo or you are looking to change your custody orders and parenting plan because of remarriage, get help from a qualified Maryland attorney. Your success will depend on your ability to demonstrate to the judge your desired outcome best serves the interests of your child. 

Julius Blattner and the Blattner Family Law Group will work with you to express your wishes effectively to the court. Contact Blattner Family Law Group today and request a consultation with us to discuss your situation and objectives.