How remarrying in California affects child support | The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
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How remarrying in California affects child support

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Because California is a community property state, a couple's marital assets and properties will be divided equally between them during divorce. The rules covering community property in the state also apply to child-support modifications and child support payments, especially when a custodial parent remarries.

Supporting parents in California may think that when an ex-spouse remarries, their child-support obligations can be reduced through a court-sanctioned child-support modification order. That is not always possible, however. A statute enacted in 1994 titled California Family Code Section 4057.5 holds that a step-parent should not be required to financially support his or her step-child.

In addition, remarrying in California can change the tax liability of a custodial parent. Regardless of whether a couple chooses to file either as married filing jointly or married filing separately, the new spouse's income will be taken into account and result in a greater tax liability for the custodial parent. Because child-support guidelines in California consider after-tax income, the increase in the custodial parent's tax liability will increase the noncustodial parent's child-support obligation.

Any increase in child-support payments resulting from a custodial parent's remarrying can be challenging for the supporting parent. If the child-support obligation is not increased, perhaps because the supporting spouse cannot afford it, the new spouse will likely use his or her income to help support the step-child.

The relationship between a new marriage, a new spouse's income and child-support payments shows that a custodial parent must consider many things when deciding whether or not to remarry. These types of circumstance gives rise to serious family law concerns, particularly when the supporting parent cannot afford an increase in child-support payments. In such a case, the best interests of the child should be held in mind by both parties as they work to address the issues and solutions calmly and rationally.

Source: Huffington Post, "New Spouse Income and Child Support in California," Mark Baer, Dec. 4, 2013

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