Does Child Support Go Down if You Have Another Child?

By Jennifer Kiesewetter, J.D.

Does Child Support Go Down if You Have Another Child?

By Jennifer Kiesewetter, J.D.

After a divorce, if you remarry and have another child, your child support obligation may decrease. This requires a legal modification of your support plan. The court takes into consideration several factors when adjusting payments. These include the non-custodial parent's income or earning potential, the number of children, and the children's needs.

Woman holding two young children reading a book

Additional Children

After a divorce, both parents must financially support their children. Typically, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent, satisfying his or her financial obligations. Remarriage after a divorce doesn't impact child support payments. The new spouse is not financially responsible for your child, except in unusual circumstances. That legal obligation is left to the biological or adoptive parents.

If the non-custodial parent remarries and has additional children, then the court could modify that parent's child support payments. For example, a court may decrease obligations to one child so that a parent can also provide for a subsequent child from a new marriage.

If you're remarrying and plan to have additional children, check your state laws to see how this may impact any child support you owe.

Child Support Modification

Courts consider a child support modification if a substantial change occurs, such as the child's need increases due to a medical condition or the obligated parent's income changes due to a job loss. A court considers the best interest of all children involved when making any changes to the support plan.

In most states, having additional children constitutes a substantial change justifying a modification. However, the adjustment becomes effective on the date of the request, not the time of the child's birth. Additionally, your state may limit how often you can ask for a modification. For example, some states consider changes every 24 months. You should review your state laws or consult with an experienced family law attorney on how your state's rules work.

If you do change the amount of your child support, make sure that a court orders the modification. Don't rely on a verbal or written agreement from your ex-spouse. Courts do not honor these agreements.

Child Support Arrears

If you are behind on your child support payments, also called arrears, you still owe those amounts to the custodial parent even if you have another child. Your ex-spouse could request that the court deduct the amount owed from your paycheck. Additionally, the court can also have your Internal Revenue Service tax refund redirected to the custodial parent.

If you fail to pay these delinquent payments, the court can suspend your driver's license or your professional license, like those for doctors or attorneys. You could also face court fines and potentially jail. If you get married and have another child, you're still obligated to pay these late amounts.

Starting a new family after divorce is common. As you embark on your new life, you'll want to understand your legal obligations and how they impact your children from your previous marriage. Since laws vary state-to-state, make sure you're familiar with your state's requirements on child support.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.