Does Getting Remarried Affect Child Support?
Child support is almost always the highest priority issue when parents divorce, and it’s very understandable that both the paying parent and receiving parent might have some questions and even anxiety about what happens should either person get remarried.
Remarriage And Child Support
In the vast majority of cases, a parent’s remarriage will not directly affect the amount of child support they pay or receive. In California, only a child’s biological parents have a legal duty to support their child, which means a new spouse is not obligated to provide support in any way.
Additionally, California judges are not even allowed to look at a new spouse’s income, unless there are extraordinary circumstances causing extreme and severe hardship to a child.
If, for example, a child’s biological parents don’t earn enough to support their child’s basic needs, but the mother’s new husband has a significant income, the court could potentially consider the funds of the new spouse as being available via the mother.
Judges may also consider a stepparent’s income if a parent voluntarily quits work, reduces income, or intentionally remains unemployed and relies on a new spouse’s income. In those cases, the court may require the parent’s new spouse to turn over W-2s and 1099 tax forms.
Finally, because California is a community property state, each spouse has joint ownership of the married couple’s assets. If a parent refuses to pay child support, the court can then enforce the order against the couple’s community property–except for the new spouse’s current job earnings.
Remarriage And New Children
It is not uncommon for divorced parents to remarry and have additional children with their new spouse. However, a parent cannot use the expenses they are voluntarily taking on with a new family as an excuse to lower or eliminate their child support obligations for their previous family.
In California, courts will consider other alimony or child support obligations when setting an initial child support amount, but parents can’t use the fact that they’ve voluntarily had additional children as a reason to lower child support.
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