Can Someone Come After the Spouse of a Father for Child Support?

By Rob Jennings J.D.

While you may be marrying for love, marriage is both an emotional and economic commitment. Your potential spouse's financial situation will exert a very real influence on your life together. Your intended spouse's child support obligation -- whether it exists currently or has not yet been established -- is one area of his financial life that can affect your finances as well.

While you may be marrying for love, marriage is both an emotional and economic commitment. Your potential spouse's financial situation will exert a very real influence on your life together. Your intended spouse's child support obligation -- whether it exists currently or has not yet been established -- is one area of his financial life that can affect your finances as well.

Child Support Calculation

Child support is calculated according to the laws of individual states. While each state has its own guidelines, exactly how much -- and for how long -- a parent will have to pay child support varies from state to state. In general, child support takes into account variables such as parental income, work-related child care, health insurance, extraordinary expenses and the existence of other support obligations. Typically, states don't factor in new spouses' incomes when calculating a child support obligation.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Your Obligation

As a general rule, you have no obligation to support your spouse's children from other relationships; the support obligation falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents themselves. You do have an obligation to support your spouse. Therefore, your income and your personal financial situation can become relevant to your new husband's child support case because you affect his ability to support himself after paying child support.

Modifications

Since you have a duty to support your husband, your income is relevant to determining how much money he can devote to his children from prior relationships. While his ex generally can't count your income directly, his ability to lean on you for financial support may constitute grounds for the court to deviate upward from the state guideline amount. Depending upon the laws of your particular jurisdiction, your husband's ex may be able to use his remarriage as a substantial change of circumstances justifying the modification of an existing order. On the other hand, your husband does have an obligation to support any children the two of you have together -- this means that he will have less income available to pay child support to his ex, and his obligation can be lowered.

Arrearages

Just as your income affects his current child support obligation, it can affect his arrears. Child support "arrears" are child support amounts that came due and weren't paid; they constitute a debt that your new husband owes to his ex. Although courts generally can't reach your income or property when collecting your spouse's arrears, they can reach it indirectly. With you to support him, your husband can devote more of his income to paying down his arrears. The more money you earn, the more your husband's argument that he needs to spend at least part of his income on self-support becomes weaker.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How Does an Ex-Husband's Remarriage Affect My Child Support?

References

Related articles

Does Child Support Go Down if You Have Another Child?

Parents are legally required to provide financial support for their children. Most states determine child support, in part, based on family size, so your child support payments may go down if you have another child. However, it isn’t an automatic reduction and, depending on your circumstances and your state’s laws, you may not receive a reduction at all.

How Much Will My Ex-Husband Pay in Child Support in Alabama?

In Alabama, one parent will typically be awarded full or primary custody of minor children and the other parent will pay child support. Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration provides the formula generally used to determine the amount of child support that must be paid. If your ex-husband is employed and has a stable income, these guidelines enable you to calculate the amount of child support relatively easily. If your ex-husband is between jobs or unemployed, however, other factors may influence the amount of support you receive as the custodial parent.

Can I Go After My Ex-Husband's New Wife's Income for More Child Support in California?

As part of a California divorce decree, the court generally issues a child support order, which is based on your living situation and incomes at the time of the divorce. If your ex-husband remarries, you probably won’t be able to successfully pursue a portion of his new wife’s income except in limited circumstances.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Will My Income Be Counted If I Marry Him & He Owes Back Child Support?

Marriage is an emotional partnership, but it's also an economic one. Once you get married, your new husband's financial ...

Does Child Support Stop in New York When You Get Re-Married?

When you divorce, a New York court likely will order child support as part of your divorce decree. The amount awarded ...

California Law on Child Support for Stepchildren

California law demands that each biological parent financially support her child, but a stepparent isn't required to ...

Divorce & Stepparents

When you or your ex-spouse remarries after divorce, arrangements from your previous marriage may need to change. For ...

Browse by category