How Does Remarriage Impact Child Custody?

We have all heard the grim statistics – about half of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce. On a more positive note, 60-70 percent of divorcees get remarried. If you have children from a previous marriage and are contemplating remarriage, or have already remarried, you likely understand the challenges of creating one harmonious family out of two existing families. You may also be concerned about how remarriage could affect the custodial agreement you have regarding your children. To shed some light on the subject, a Murfreesboro custody lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby discusses how remarriage could impact child custody.

Remarriage Alone Will Not Impact Child Custody

Getting remarried, by itself, will not impact the Parenting Plan you submitted when you when through the divorce process. If you are the Primary


Residential Parent (PRP) under the terms of your Parenting Plan, the act of getting remarried will not change that. Likewise, if you are the Alternative Residential Parent (ARP), marriage will not (by itself) change your status. Remarriage will also not change the parenting time schedule, or any other aspect of your Parenting Plan unless you or your former spouse request a change.

How Can Remarriage Indirectly Impact Child Custody?

While the act of getting married does not automatically trigger any changes to your custodial arrangements, parenting time, or child support obligations, it can indirectly impact all those things. 

It is often difficult to see a former spouse move on and remarry. If you are the one getting remarried, you may experience some negative feelings or outright resentment from your former spouse. Your former spouse may even genuinely believe that the person you are marrying is a bad influence or outright abusive to your children. In that case, your former spouse might try to modify custody by asking the court to make him/her the PRP. If your ex alleges that your new (or future) spouse is harmful to your children, the court is allowed to take those allegations into consideration when determining custody. 

All divorce-related decisions impacting minor children must be made using the “best interest of the child” standard in Tennessee. As it implies, the “best interest of the child” standard requires a judge to focus on what is best for the child(ren), not what is best for the adults. When making decisions related to child custody, Tennessee Code § 36-6-106 specifically lets the court consider, among other factors, the following:

  • The child’s interaction and interrelationships with siblings, other relatives and step-relatives, and mentors, as well as the child’s involvement with the child’s physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities.
  • Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, to the other parent or to any other person.
  • The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and such person’s interactions with the child.

In short, if the court is convinced that living with your fiancée or new spouse is not in the best interest of the children, your remarriage could impact the custody of your children. It could have the same negative impact on a request to modify the parenting time schedule.

Conversely, if recently got remarried and you are seeking additional parenting time or asking to be appointed as the PRP, the court can consider the positive influence/impact your new spouse has on the children’s lives when deciding what is in the best interest of the children. 

Because every situation is unique, it is always best to consult with an experienced Tennessee custody lawyer if you are concerned (or hopeful) that remarriage will impact the custody of your children.

Contact a Murfreesboro Custody Lawyer

If you have questions or concerns about how remarriage will impact custody, contact a Murfreesboro custody attorney to discuss your legal options. Contact the team at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.

Dinah Michael