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The effect of new marriages on child support payments

Divorced parents in California sometimes enter new marriages. Although those unions might influence a person’s income, the act of getting married again does not necessarily alter existing child support orders. Courts will still look at the earnings of the biological parents when considering the payment amounts. The income of new spouses does not play a role.

An ex-spouse receiving child support cannot use the other parent’s remarriage as a reason to request a child support modification. A change in the biological parent’s income, however, would provide a valid reason for a court to reconsider the child support order. For example, a remarried parent could cite household expenses arising from the formation of a new marital household. These expenses could include childcare or health care expenses for the new spouse’s biological children.

When someone who owes unpaid child support gets married again, the court cannot impose the debt on the new spouse, regardless of income. The new spouse has the option to pay the back child support, but the law cannot force the person to do it. A tax return from a couple filing jointly, however, could be subject to seizure for unpaid child support. Even in that situation, the non-parental spouse could ask the Internal Revenue Service to return half of the refund.

Someone who needs information about child support obligations during the divorce process or after a court order has been established could speak with an attorney. In addition, an attorney could represent a client during negotiations with the other parent to determine issues such as the division of marital property.

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