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Will my new marriage change my child support?

In California and other states, you are free to remarry after your divorce is final. You may even have more children, adopt or become a foster parent. However, it is important to note that your new wife and any children you bring into your home after your remarriage do not relieve you of your duty to support children from a previous marriage or relationship.

Determining child support in California

There are several factors the courts take into consideration when awarding child support. They will review the disposable income of both parents, how many children must be supported, any custody arrangements, the tax liability of both parents, health insurance needs of the children, each parent’s retirement contributions and children who must be supported from other relationships. Once child support is ordered, only a significant change in circumstances may alter the arrangement.

Income changes

When you remarry, your new spouse’s income will not be used to determine child support for children from a previous marriage. The courts may use the new spouse’s income if you have additional children with that spouse. If your former spouse remarries someone who is in a better financial situation than you are, their income will not be used to determine child support either. The only way that you may be able to reduce your child support due to an income change is if there is an involuntary action that reduces your income. If you are laid off or suffer a disabling injury or illness, the courts may agree to lower your child support payments. However, quitting your job or taking a lower paying job voluntarily may not reduce your payments.

Additional children with new spouse

It is unlikely that the courts in California will reduce your child support for children from a previous relationship because you and your new spouse have chosen to have additional children. Although there may be some adjustment permitted, you should not believe that your support payments will automatically be lowered because you have additional children. Also keep in mind that your new spouse’s income will not be used to determine child support for children from a previous relationship but may be used if you choose to request a reduction because you are having more children. Before attempting to reduce your child support on your own, you need to talk to an attorney who is familiar with this area of the law.

If your circumstances have changed and you feel you qualify for a reduction in child support or if you feel your ex-spouse has received a significant raise or change in circumstances and want to modify your support order, contact an attorney for assistance.