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Does Marriage Affect Child Support?

If you pay or receive child support, you know that a judge takes many factors into account when determining child support payments. One major factor is your own income and expenses. So, what happens if you eventually remarry? Does your new spouse’s income become a factor in your child support payments?

 

Don’t Worry About Your Spouse’s Income

The answer is similar to whether divorce impacts your credit score. Although a new marriage does not directly affect your child support, the major life changes associated with marriage may.

Let’s get this out of the way: your new spouse’s income does not influence your child support payments. Rest assured that your partner will not suddenly find themselves “on the hook” for child support payments themselves. A judge will not increase or decrease your payments based on their income.

What if you owe back payments? Not to worry. The same protections apply. That is, not only is your spouse’s income “immune” from future payments, but it also cannot be garnished for past-due payments. However, note that if you and your new spouse file joint tax returns, the court may confiscate the entire return in order to satisfy past-due child support payments. Even in this situation, your spouse may petition to receive their half of the return.

 

So I Don’t Need to Worry at All?

While re-marriage does not directly influence child support payments, consider the factors that do: your individual income, your household expenses, and so on. It is likely that your overall financial situation may change due to your new marriage. You may find that your individual expenses decrease, as you now split the cost of things like housing and groceries. On the other hand, your expenses could increase as you start your new life together as a couple.

Furthermore, you may take on a new role as the result of a new marriage. Perhaps your spouse has a well-paying job that allows you to reduce your own work hours, or stay home altogether. Perhaps you both continue to work, but they voluntarily take over your shared expenses. Either situation will change your overall ratio of income versus expenses, which is a major factor in determining child support payments.

This may all sound complicated, but don’t worry. The important thing is simply to remain aware of how changes in your own life may affect your child support payments. If you and your new spouse do make decisions about how you’ll manage your collective finances, it’s a good idea to keep clear, written documentation of if and how your income and expenses change as a result of your marriage. These details will be quite valuable at a child support hearing.

It’s also helpful to have experienced, dependable legal counsel by your side. I’ve spent several years assisting couples and families with navigating the legal system, particularly in cases involving child custody, divorce, and so on. Drop me a line or give me a call today to schedule a free consultation.

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