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If my daughter's father gets married, will the court use his new wife's income to calculate the child support he owes us?

Berkeley, CA |

Case was filed in CA and being managed by NC (noncustodial parent lives in NC and my daughter was born in CA). If my daughter's father gets married, will the court use his new wife's income to calculate the child support he owes us? I am unemployed, the noncustodial parent is paid under the table with no verifiable income, and he may marry his girlfriend.

To clarify, he is receiving unemployment from a "layoff", though continuing to be paid under the table by the same employer (while collecting UE benefits too). So I guess that leads me to also ask, in addition to expenses, how is his income determined for CS calculation purposes? He owns a home and has excellent credit. Thank you in advance for your answer.

Attorney Answers 2


The law of the jurisdiction where you and your daughter live will govern the support calculation. Ordinarily, the court will not use new spouse income to calculate support, except in some extremely limited circumstances. Father's income may be deduced by examining his living expenses. He had to have income to pay those expenses. Comprende?

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In California, they will not use his new wife's income to calculate child support. The only reason that they will even want to know his wife's income is for tax purposes. California child support orders are set pursuant to California child support guidelines set forth in California Family Code Section 4055. In calculating your ex's child support obligation, they will put him in as "married filing jointly." Therefore, they will want to know how much his wife earns so that they can put her income under the "new spouse's income" category. That way, the formula will calculate your ex's net income and his tax liability based on how much his new wife earns. The more his new wife earns, the more he pays taxes on his income and thus, the less he takes home and therefore, the less he pays you. Child support is really based on net income. However, before getting worried too much. His wife's income may decrease his child support obligation to you by very little. It may lower it by about $20 or $30 per month depending on how much his new wife makes. But, it will certainly not increase his child support obligation to you, as you may be hoping.

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There are times when a parent is intentionally unemployed/under-employed and living off income of new spouse where the court will look to a new spouse's income in calculating support. However, if the other parent is gainfully employed, the only impact new spouse income will have on child support is a the potential of reducing support based on the paying spouse being in a higher tax bracket as described by Mr. Azemika. There are private investigators that can assist in tracking individuals who are working "under the table" if you are having difficulty proving undisclosed income. Beyond looking to the standard of living/claimed living expenses on the parent's Income and Expense Declaration compared to his pay, sometimes it is appropriate to issue discovery such as demand for production of documents (like bank records and loan documents), and/or subpoena bank records to show deposits/extra pay/claimed income on loan applications to prove higher than disclosed income. You can argue for imputation of income to a party who has the ability and opportunity to work based on factors such as training, education, experience, age, health, special skills, licenses, etc. and proving jobs for which the other person is qualified are available in the general area. Hope this helps.



How about get yourself a job and stop trying to squeeze money out of your ex. Child support is supposed to help support the child, not fully support the child. Women these days need to get off their butts and get jobs and stop living off their children's fathers.

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