Family Lawyer

As a parent, you are legally required to provide your child with financial support whether or not they live with you. Most states will determine child support based on family size and income, so your payments may go down if you have another child. Regardless of it being with the parent of the child you are currently paying child support to or receiving from or from a new marriage, child support will not be automatically reduced. Typically, depending on your individual circumstances and the laws of the state that you live in, you actually may end up not receiving a decrease in your support payments or collection at all. If you remarry or enter into a new relationship and have a child with your new partner, your income may decrease (if the mother is on maternity leave) or increase (if you or your partner both work after the birth). This will result in modifications of your original obligations to pay or receive child support. 

However, if you and your new partner divorce, then you will incur additional obligations for child support due to your youngest child. If this occurs, state laws will address how the distribution of your child support will be shared and adjusted. You or your ex-spouse may request a modification of the child support order if your circumstances have changed since the most recent order was issued. You will most likely have to file a petition with the court that issued your order and serve your ex-partner a copy of a summons and the petition. Your court can schedule a hearing and whichever parent seeking modification must show that there has been a considerable change in their circumstance in order for the court to modify the order. The biological parents of the child are given the legal responsibility to support the child, never the stepparents of the child. California law states that judges are not allowed to look at the newest partner’s income unless very big changes have occurred. This means that unless the child’s biological mother and father do not earn enough to support the child’s basic needs, the court is not allowed to consider funds available by the stepmother or stepfather. If a parent quits their job voluntarily or remains unemployed intentionally and relies on their new partner’s income, a judge may consider the step parent’s income. Since California is considered to be a “community property state”, each you and your new spouse have joint ownership of your assets. If you as a biological parent, do not pay your child support on time, courts can enforce an order against you and your spouse’s community property. Contact an attorney, like a family lawyer in Lake Forest, IL, to arrange a consultation.

Thank you to the experts at Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC., for their input into family law.