Many clients have asked me if their child support will increase if their former spouse remarries. Most of the time the answer to that question is no. The new spouse is not responsible for supporting the children, which means if you are paying support, and your spouse remarries the court is not going to look at their new spouse’s income to determine that you should pay less support. Also, if you are receiving support, and your spouse remarries the court is not going to expect that your ex’s new spouse should support your children.
However, there may be some cases where there is an exception. For example, if a couple is divorced and a spouse remarries, and then decides they are going to quit their job and just live off of their new spouse, the court may choose to impute income to the unemployed parent. The court also may look at the income of the new spouse in order to determine the child support award.
Real-life case example – My client was the parent who had sole custody of the children. His wife had left him for somebody who made a significant amount of money and was considered an incredibly high earner. The new spouse was making over one million dollars a year. She did not want to pay child support for her children and claimed that she was unemployed.
In this case, the court looked at the lifestyle of the wife and looked at the benefit that she and her children from the second marriage had from his income. The Court determined that it was in the best interest of the children that were living with my client to receive those same benefits. Therefore, they ruled that child support could be based on the income of the new spouse and ordered that her husband produce his income tax returns in order for child support to be calculated.
Keep in mind, though, that type of case is rare, and they are generally the exception to the rule.
If you have any questions about whether you should be receiving child support from your ex’s new spouse, shoot us over an email or give us a call.