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How Does a Child from Another Relationship Affect Child Support?

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In almost every divorce where parties divorcing are parents of a minor child or children, one parent is ordered to pay child support to the other parent. Most parents are aware of this and they are aware that the judge will consider the incomes of both parents when determining child support awards and the amount of the award. What many still find confusing is how remarriage does or does not affect child support orders already in place.

California Child Support: How Does Remarriage Affect Previous Child Support Orders?

The remarriage of a parent does not directly affect a previous California child support order. In most cases, the child’s biological parents are the only ones with a legal obligation to support the child; not the stepparent or stepparents. California judges are not allowed to look at the parent’s new spouse’s income to calculate child support unless there are extreme circumstances that cause extreme hardship for the child. Examples of the type of “extreme” circumstances that could cause a California judge to consider a new spouse’s income when calculating child support:

  1. If a child’s biological parents so not make enough income to support the child’s basic needs, but the mother’s new husband has significant income. In this case the court could consider the husband’s funds available to the mother when deciding child support.
  2. If a parent voluntarily quits work, reduces their income, intentionally remains unemployed, etc. and relies on their new spouse’s income, the court may require the new spouse to submit financial documents to be used in child support calculations. 

It’s also notable that California is a community property state, so each spouse holds joint ownership of the married couple’s assets. When a parent does not pay their court ordered child support, the court can enforce the order against the couple’s community property with the exception of the new spouse’s current earnings on the job.

California Child Support: Do Children from Another Relationship Lower the Child Support Obligation?

Parents that divorce often remarry and sometimes have more children post-divorce in new relationships. And they have that right. But parents do not have the right to use expenses they voluntarily take on by starting a new relationship and having another child to lower the child support obligation for children from their previous relationship/s. California court will consider other child support obligations and/or spousal support payments when setting an original child support amount, but parents cannot use the fact that they have later decided to have additional children as a reason to decrease the amount of support they were already ordered to provide.

If you have questions about child support calculations in California or if you need to talk to an experienced and knowledgeable child support and divorce attorney about how to prepare for a child support hearing, please get in touch with The Maggio Law Firm today.

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