Ask the County Law Librarian – New Spouse’s Income & Child Support
Q: My fiancé has a daughter from a previous marriage. When we get married, can her mother ask for more child support based on our new combined income?
A: Don’t worry; the court will base the amount of the support order using only your husband’s income. Under California Family Code section 4057.5, the income of either parent’s subsequent spouse shall not be considered when determining or modifying child support, except in an extraordinary case where excluding that income would lead to extreme and severe hardship to the children. An extraordinary case may include a parent who voluntarily or intentionally quits work or reduces income, or who intentionally remains unemployed or underemployed and relies on a subsequent spouse's income.
Although the new spouses’ incomes cannot be considered, remarriage of the parents can have some effect on the child support payments, because some of the factors considered when making the order may change, such as new children, different tax filing status, etc. A more complete list of the factors considered when determining child support is available at the California Courts website.
The family law Self-Help Center located at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse may be able to help you with your support questions. Every court in California has a family law facilitator, who is a lawyer that will help you with family law problems for free. The facilitators can't represent you in court, but they can help in other ways. The Self-Help Center is located in Room 113 of the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse and is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., excluding court holidays.
Do you have a question for the County Law Librarian? Just email firstname.lastname@example.org. If your question is selected your answer will appear in next Thursday's column. Even if your question isn't selected, though, I will still respond within two weeks.
Coral Henning, Director
@coralh & @saclawlibrarian