How New Spouse/Mate Income is considered in California Family Law Cases. What are Child Support Add-Ons in California Family Law Cases,
New Mate/New Spouse Income in Calculating Child Support in California
New Mate/New Spouse income is addressed in California Family Code Section 4057.5 which is set forth as follows:
(a)(1) The income of the obligor parent's subsequent spouse or non-marital partner 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 any child subject to the child support award, in which case the court shall also consider whether including that income would lead to extreme and severe hardship to any child supported by the obligor or by the obligor's subsequent spouse or non-marital partner.
(2) The income of the obligee parent's subsequent spouse or non-marital partner 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 any child subject to the child support award, in which case the court shall also consider whether including that income would lead to extreme and severe hardship to any child supported by the obligee or by the obligee's subsequent spouse or non-marital partner.
(b) For purposes of this section, 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.
(c) If any portion of the income of either parent's subsequent spouse or non-marital partner is allowed to be considered pursuant to this section, discovery for the purposes of determining income shall be based on W2 and 1099 income tax forms, except where the court determines that application would be unjust or inappropriate.
(d) If any portion of the income of either parent's subsequent spouse or non-marital partner is allowed to be considered pursuant to this section, the court shall allow a hardship deduction based on the minimum living expenses for one or more stepchildren of the party subject to the order.
(e) The enactment of this section constitutes cause to bring an action for modification of a child support order entered prior to the operative date of this section.
The essence of whether new spouse/mate income is considered for either the parent paying support or the parent receiving support is rarely done and only a consideration in very limited cases when either the payor or the payee of support has shirked their responsibilities to provide support for their own children and instead rely on the generosity of their new spouse/mate. However, in the rare occurrence that the court does consider new mate/spouse income, they will reduce that income by applying a hard deduction for other children that the new spouse/mate is also providing support for. Again, consideration of new spouse/mate income is the exception rather than the rule and the specific facts supporting such a position must be present in order for the court to make such an order.
Child Support Add-Ons in California Child Support Cases
Child support add-ons are part of Family Code sections 4061 through 4063. In particular,
California Family Code section 4062 (a) states that "The court shall order the following as additional child support:
(1) Child care costs related to employment or to reasonably necessary education or training for employment skills.
(2) The reasonable uninsured health care costs for the children as provided in Section 4063.
(b) The court may order the following as additional child support:
(1) Costs related to the educational or other special needs of the children.
(2) Travel expenses for visitation."
Child support add-ons are separated into two categories (mandatory and discretionary). Child support add-on are expenses that are incurred for the benefit of the minor child(ren) that are added on to the base child support amount. Mandatory child support add-ons typically involve childcare so that either parent may work or obtain job training (schooling). Childcare is typically paid to a licensed childcare provider rather than a family member. The court can either factor the childcare costs into a child support order or each party can be ordered to pay child care directly to the childcare provider. Although childcare is the most frequently used mandatory child support add-on, there may be other re-occurring monthly expenses that may be incurred for the benefit of the minor children. For example, if a child has re-occurring medical costs such as asthma treatments, prescription medications, ongoing medical treatments or counseling, the court can treat these additional expenditures as well.
As a general rule, child support add-ons are split equally between the parties. For example, if one parent pays childcare of $600 per month, then the court will split this expense such that each party is responsible to pay either $300 to the other parent or the childcare provider. However, the Court may deviate from this equal division if there is a substantial difference in the parent's respective incomes. In these cases, the court may apportion the child support add-on differently between the parties (60%/40% or 70%/30%).
Discretionary child support add-ons are just that, "discretionary". Extra-curricular activities, summer camp, sports & braces.
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