In almost all situations, when two parents divorce, one parent is ordered to pay child support to the other parent. While parents are familiar with the fact that their income is used to determine how much child support is paid, many parents are not sure of how remarriage, or a new spouse’s income affects their child support payments.
In California, all parents are required to financially support their children, whether they are married to the child’s other parent or not. Under California’s Child Support Guidelines, a number of factors are considered when determining the amount of support, such as the custody arrangement, the number of children being supported, and each parent’s disposable income.
Understandably, parents want to know how remarriage would affect their child support obligation.
Rules About Remarriage and Child Support
You may be curious, “If I remarry, will my spouse’s income affect how much child support I have to pay?” Under normal circumstances, no, your spouse’s income should not affect child support. In California, the courts expect the child’s biological parents to support the child, not the child’s stepparents.
Ordinarily, a California judge is NOT supposed to look at a new spouse’s income unless for some reason there is an extraordinary circumstance that has caused extreme hardship for the child.
For example, a father voluntarily quits his job to avoid paying child support, or intentionally stays unemployed while he’s being supported by his new wife. In that case, the judge may consider his new wife’s income and require her to turn over her W-2s or 1099s.
California is a community property state, which means that each spouse has a 50 percent interest in the marital assets, regardless of who earned them. If a parent fails to pay child support, the court can go ahead and enforce a judgement against their community property, but the court cannot go after the new spouse’s earnings.
Do you have further questions about child support? If so, please contact our Los Angeles family law firm to schedule a free case evaluation.