Remarriage and Child Support
Remarriage will not directly affect your existing child support. California Family Code Section 4057.5 prohibits the court from looking to a new spouse’s income in determining or modifying child support except in the extraordinary case where exclusion of the new spouse’s income would lead to extreme and severe hardship to the children benefiting from the support.
An extraordinary case that may warrant inclusion of the new spouse’s income in calculating child support may exist where the obligor parent reduces their income in reliance on their new spouse’s income. Section 40575.5(b) specifically states that “an extraordinary case may include a parent who voluntarily or internationally quits work or reduces income, or who intentionally remains unemployed or underemployed and relies on a subsequent spouse’s income.”
Even when an “extraordinary case” exists – which is often found only after a family law lawyer makes a case for such – the court cannot look to the new spouse’s income in fixing child support unless the exclusion of the income would place an extreme and severe hardship on the supported children. If exclusion of the new spouse’s income in calculating child support does not place such a hardship on the supported children the court cannot consider the new spouse’s income.
When the court determines that an “extraordinary case” exists where excluding the new spouse’s income would place an extreme and severe hardship on the supported children, the court must consider whether inclusion of the new spouse’s income will likewise place an extreme and severe hardship on children of the new spouse.
Lastly, while courts are generally prohibited from looking to the new spouse’s income in fixing child support, the court may consider the new spouse’s income listed on a joint tax return with the obligor parent to determine the parent’s actual tax liability in calculating disposable income under the Uniform Guideline formula for child support. In effect, remarriage may alter the parent’s tax bracket and thereby actual tax liability resulting in modified disposable income available for child support.
Child Support Attorney
While remarriage should not affect your existing child support obligation some parents have been successful in seeking modification due to “extreme circumstances.” To learn more about child support and remarriage call our divorce lawyer at (916) 596-1018. Our attorney can help you navigate child support modification and related family law issues in divorce.