I'm going to start the "Question of the Day" (hereafter QoD) based upon the search criteria people are using to get to this site. This is not to say there will actually be one every day - but on on days I am posting where I see a common question I will post it and try to answer it.
The question today: "Does child support include income from a new spouse?"
As with many questions involving divorce, custody and support - the answer appears to be state dependent. In my state, I was under the impression that while my income could not be considered in a support order - joint investments certainly could be looked at in a big picture sense.
When my mother remarried and stopped working the court did not look at her husbands income per se but they continued to impute an income to her equivalent to what she made while working.
Personally, we have one joint checking account through which we run joint ventures, investments, etc... However, we both maintain independent accounts through which most of our expenses are paid. Our paychecks are deposited into our individual accounts - household expenses come out of our individual accounts - very little is done through the joint account.
From Free Advice
: I'm marrying a man who has children from a previous marriage. He regularly pays his child support. Since I earn more than my fiance, we want to protect my income from any future increase in support payments should the ex- seek more. What are our options?
Some states, California for example, provide that a new spouse with income, cannot be held liable for the support of a step-child except under extreme circumstances. Your State may have similar exemptions. However, for the time being, and for purposes of financial safety, set up and maintain separate savings and checking accounts. That way, your funds do not become commingled with your husband's, and a court, should the question ever arise, will always be able to calculate whose income is whose and where the funds came.
: Illinois Appellate Court opens the door to include new spouse income in determining child support.
Further, the traditional view in establishing child support obligations or modifying child support obligations is that the financial resources of a new spouse are not to be considered in the calculation or determination of child support. That view took into account the lack of legal obligations a stepparent has towards the financial support of a stepchild.
However, the law on this issue has developed and evolved as stated in a recent Second District Illinois Appellate Court decision, which holds "a trial court may equitably consider the income of a parent's current spouse in determining an appropriate award of child support." In Re the Marriage of Drysch
, 2000 WL 815278, (ILL.App2 Dist.).
: If one of us remarries, how does that affect child support?
Remarriage is frequently a concern during mediation negotiations, and your mediator will help you plan for changed circumstances. You can negotiate a parenting arrangement with an alternative plan in the event of remarriage, or you may agree to return to mediation if one of you decides to remarry. So long as your children's standard of living can be protected, the courts are likely to go along with your agreement.
If your child support agreement is based on your state's child support guidelines, child support may be subject to modification. If your agreement requires modification on a periodic basis based on the guidelines, in some states this is what might occur:
If you are receiving child support and your ex-spouse has a child in the new marriage, that event could reduce the child support payments because the court takes into account the best interests of all children.
If your ex-spouse pays you child support, and his new spouse's income is available to help pay his living expenses, you may be able to get an increase in child support on the principle that he now has a greater share of personal income available for his own use.
If you are receiving child support and you remarry, in some states your ex-spouse may be able to get a reduction in child support on the same basis- you and the children have the benefit of your new spouse's income for your personal living expenses.
Labels: Child Support, Law, Remarriage