Most likely, remarriage does not affect child support at all. A child support modification in California only takes place when a parent can prove a significant change in one or both of the parents’ financial circumstances. This change must be permanent and substantial.
It would make sense that remarriage is a permanent and substantial change in financial circumstances. However, in California, the expenses of a new family are not considered a reason to lower child support obligations by the court. Courts consider other alimony or child support obligations only when setting an initial child support amount.
Child support is affected if a parent relinquishes their parental rights, and a stepparent adopts the child.
Stepparent Income: Does It Count?
As a general rule, only a child’s biological parents have a legal duty to support their child. This legal duty is not applicable to stepparents. California’s child support guidelines reflect this as family courts only use biological parents’ incomes, along with parenting time and other factors, to help determine how much child support one parent pays to the other.
California expressly excludes stepparent income from its guidelines formula for calculating child support, except in extraordinary circumstances where excluding stepparent income causes extreme and severe hardship to the child. For example, this may apply when a biological parent does not work but relies solely on a new spouse’s income.
In order to keep stepparents from paying for non-biological children, only the impact of their income on the tax liability of the parent spouse is taken into consideration. Sometimes this results in pushing the parent spouse into a higher tax bracket making the tax liability on the parent spouse’s income higher.
The parent spouse is left taking home less money after taxes. California’s child support guidelines use after-tax income. With the parent spouse taking home less money from their earning, the parent paying child support may end up paying more in child support than before the modification!
California is a community property state, and the spouses jointly own the assets of the marriage. Therefore, the court can enforce the child support order against the parent spouse’s portion of the couple’s community property.
Find Out If A Child Support Modification Could Be In Your Child’s Best Interest
The above are general guidelines and apply to both biological parents, whether they are the child’s custodial or non-custodial parent. California’s child support modification guidelines and tax ramifications are complicated, and every situation is different. Always consult a local child support attorney for personalized advice.
If you or a loved one were adversely affected by a child support order, you should speak to attorney Bruce A. Mandel. While remarriage rarely has a direct impact on child support, a child support modification is permissible with a substantial change in your circumstances. At Bruce A. Mandel, Divorce & Family Law, you can learn more about what these changes are and if you qualify for a child support modification.
Call or contact Bruce A. Mandel, Divorce & Family Law today to schedule your free consultation. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more family law info!