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Understanding how remarriage impacts child support payments

Among one of the more common questions that family law attorneys get asked is whether child support obligations will be impacted by remarriage. While, as a general rule of thumb, a parent's new marriage does not impact the amount of child support they're responsible for paying, there are some circumstances under which the new spouse's finances may be adversely impacted.

If the child support paying parent remarries, while his or her own personal income can be tapped or garnished to pay both current and outstanding child support, the same does not hold true for that individual's new spouse. A judge is also not allowed to take into consideration the non-parent's wages in determining how much spousal support should be awarded either.

A parent who is subject to child support wage garnishment for unpaid balances should be cautious when filing joint tax returns though. This is because courts tend to confiscate these funds to pay outstanding amounts owed. This could ultimately lead the non-parent without their expected return. In these types of cases, the new spouse generally qualifies to file a claim for his or her portion of the proceeds, but this can take time.

Another common concern the parent who pays the child support has to do with whether their ex can request a modification in monthly child support on the grounds that individual's household income has increased. The short answer is no.

While a rise in household income may be one of the reasons a modification in child support is requested, it can't be the sole factor for doing so. In fact, some may even qualify for reduced payments on the grounds that their expenses increased with a new marriage.

In instances in which the parent responsible for paying child support marries someone new who already has their own children, it's important to note that the children from the previous relationship take precedence. In other words, while new children may be born to the newly remarried couple, the biological parent is required to contribute toward the prior children's needs.

If you're either in the process of divorcing, remarrying or seeking to have either your or your ex's child support obligation modified, you may benefit from the guidance that a New York family law attorney can offer in your case.

Source:, "How does getting remarried affect child support payments?," Debrina Washington, accessed May 26, 2017

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