Divorce and child support configurations can be confusing due to the many factors determining the final determination. The judge’s job is to consider the child’s best interests and ensure that they receive adequate care. One way they do this is by mandating child support payments. However, if a spouse remarries after divorce and has a different income than the initial amount in the agreement, some may wonder if they are now entitled to more child support. Below, one may find information on child support after remarrying.
Can I Go After My Ex’s New Spouse for Child Support?
California Family Code 4057.5 states that stepparents do not have a legal obligation to pay for child support, so their income will not factor in the child support agreement after remarrying. Judges will not consider how much the stepparent makes when adjusting child custody payments. However, there may be some exceptions, including the child’s level of hardship.
For example, person A and person B were once married, had a child, and then divorced. Person A owes person B child support. Person A then gets married to person C and combines their finances. Person B finds out that their ex’s new spouse has a high-paying job and decides to go to court to try and receive more in child support. Because person C is a stepparent and not a biological parent, the amount they make is not a factor in determining child support payments, and they are under no legal obligation to offer support.
However, if the stepparent decides to adopt the child legally, they are legally responsible for the child. By adopting, they assume all of the legal rights and responsibilities of being the child’s parent. Therefore, if the adoptive parent’s marriage ends in divorce, they would have a legal obligation to pay child support. However, suppose a parent terminates their parental rights over a child. They will then lose all responsibilities that come with having a child. Duties and rights over a child include but are not limited to visitation rights, loss of custody, and the obligation to pay child support.
Can Child Support be Lowered if I Have Another Child in California?
If a parent has a new child with a stepparent in the new marriage, this will not directly impact the child support payments. Biological parents are the primary caregivers of their children, and individuals cannot argue that since they are facing more costs with their new child, this should lower their child support payments. The court assumes the parent voluntarily decided to have another child, which should not impact how much the other parent receives. They will not consider new financial burdens brought on by a new child in one’s new marriage.
How is Child Support Calculated?
Remarriage will not have an impact on child support payment calculations. However, when filing for divorce and determining child support payments, judges who want to do what is best for the child may take any of the following into account:
- The income each parent makes
- Health insurance costs
- The number of children
- The custody arrangement
- The relationship each parent has with their child
- How much time each parent spends with the child
The Support Arrangement may Require Parents to Share the Following Expenses:
- Healthcare expenses
- Travel costs for visitation from one parent to the other
- Education costs
California Family Code 3900 stipulates that parents have an equal responsibility to support their child, regardless of any custody arrangements. Thus, the parents are solely responsible for their child, and new stepparents will not bear any of this responsibility unless they choose to.
If My Ex Lives With Someone Else, does that Alter Child Support Payments?
If one’s ex-partner lives with someone else, it is unlikely that this will impact child support payments. Furthermore, child support after remarrying is unlikely to change. Only biological or adoptive parents are financially responsible for their children. However, if the person they are living with covers many living expenses, such as food and water, it may be possible to petition the court to alter the child support payments. While the court is under no obligation to make any alterations to the child support, if there is sufficient evidence, then they may consider it.
Why Might Child Support Payments Change in California?
Changing child support after someone remarries and has kids in the new marriage is not viable reason to alter child support payments. However, the following are some possible reasons a judge may decide to change the child support payments:
- A parent loses their job
- There is a parent who has a change in income
- The child’s expenses vary (healthcare, education, etc.).
- There is a significant change in the number of hours a parent spends with the child.
- Becoming disabled
- Custody arrangement changes
- Health concerns and costs