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

By Heather Frances J.D.

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.

Laws on Remarriage

California’s Family Code, section 4057.5, governs child support adjustments when an ex-spouse remarries. The new spouse’s income cannot be considered in relation to child support, except in rare cases when excluding that income would lead to “extreme and severe hardship” for the child. For example, if your ex-spouse quits his job when he remarries and is thus without any income to pay any child support, the court could consider that situation to be too extreme and severe to exclude his new wife’s income from child support calculations.

Increased Net Income

Even though your ex-spouse’s new wife’s income is rarely considered in child support calculations, his remarriage may increase his net income slightly, thereby increasing your child support payments. For example, if his tax filing status changes in a way that increases his net income even slightly, he may owe more in child support.

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Increased Dependents

If your ex-spouse has more children, regardless of whether he is married, your child support may change since California considers additional dependents when calculating child support. Though the court could order your ex-spouse to pay more of his income to support his children, the amount paid for each child would likely decrease.


You or your ex-spouse can ask for a modification to your child support amount by contacting your child support agency or filing a petition for modification, usually in the court that issued your most recent child support order. The request will only be considered if your circumstances have changed significantly since your last order was entered. Examples of changed circumstances include increases or decreases in your income or your ex-spouse’s income, changes in your custody arrangement or your family size changes. After your child support agency or the court reviews your request, you may receive a modification even if your child support order will only change by 20 percent or $50, whichever is less.

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What Percentage of Income Does Child Support Take for One Kid?


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How Often Can a Person File for an Increase in Child Support After the Divorce Is Final?

Generally, a judge orders child support payments in your divorce decree based on your family’s situation at the time of your divorce. Procedures vary according to state law, but courts can modify child support orders when a family’s situation changes, perhaps when one spouse receives a significant increase in income or the custody arrangements change.

How Does an Ex-Husband's Remarriage Affect My Child Support?

The laws in many states provide that the remarriage of either parent should not have any effect on their child support order, but this isn’t always the case. In most situations, your ex’s remarriage won’t automatically change the amount of child support you receive, but laws vary a great deal from state to state.

Alabama Laws on Child Support & the Restart of Child Support

Child support in Alabama is usually determined in a straightforward manner. As in many other states, Alabama uses the "income shares" model to determine child support. The formula takes into account the combined gross income of both parents, percentage each parent earns and several other factors such as who pays for health insurance. Either parent can ask for the child support amount to be recalculated at any time when there is a change of circumstances. There are situations when child support is stopped and then restarted, but they are rare.

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