Child Support Modifications Due to Remarriage
Remarriage and Child Support
If you are a divorced New Jersey resident and have children, you might have obligations for child support. When you enter into a new marriage, it can be easy to overlook some of those legal responsibilities as you move forward in your life. For those who want to avoid any potential problems, you must understand how remarriage can impact those child support obligations.
Divorce in New Jersey
In New Jersey, family courts have enacted guidelines that help judges establish the amount of child support. These guidelines determine the parents’ net income at the time of separation or divorce. That figure is the basis for child support income payments for the future.
While it can be challenging to support two households with the same income, the courts believe that the children should not be denied any opportunities due to the separation or divorce of the parents. The child’s best interest is always at the forefront of these hearings.
However, New Jersey courts understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach to child support. The New Jersey child guidelines specify that the support is based on the parents’ combined yearly salary, ranging between $8,840 and $187,200. There are always circumstances where the guidelines are not appropriate. The judge can determine whether those circumstances allow a departure from the guidelines.
Determining Child Support Payments
There are many factors that dictate these support obligations, such as:
- Age of the children
- Number of children
- Net income of the parents
- Alimony and support payments from a previous marriage
- Earning potential of both parents
- The child’s special needs or medical requirements
The money from child support covers the expenses of the child. It is not money that can be spent freely by the parents. The support payments provide the child with a financially stable life even though the parents are no longer together. Some of these essential expenses can include:
- Health care
Along with that, child support payments also cover any recreational activities, like school sports or clubs, that can enhance the child’s life. The New Jersey guidelines also make provisions for transportation expenses, such as car maintenance, payments, and public transportation costs.
Is Child Support Different From Alimony?
When an alimony recipient decides to remarry, then those payments are stopped. With child support, that is not the case. These children are entitled to have the same level of financial support despite their parents’ marital status. For that reason, when a parent decides to remarry, that action will not affect the child support payments. If the parent has a change in financial circumstances or earning capacity, then either parent can request a modification.
Modifying Child Support Arrangements
After a divorce, many former spouses make changes in their lives. These changes can include a new job or a new relationship. When this happens, it can significantly impact the parent’s ability to pay their child support payments. New Jersey courts recognize the consequence of a remarriage. In many cases, either parent can request post-judgment modifications to the financial obligations. These changes allow the parent to pay more or less for child support.
However, it is not easy to be granted a modification by family law courts. The parent must show that they have a life change that requires a modification. Some of the circumstances can include:
- The parent contracted illness or sustain a serious injury.
- The child has a serious medical condition or injury.
- The parent took a significant pay cut or lost income.
- The parent received a job promotion.
- The parent has remarried.
In New Jersey, it can be challenging to request a modification. In many cases, the other parent will reject any changes to the child support arrangement. Any situation involving financial issues is difficult, leading to hostilities between the parents. If a parent wants to modify child support, they need to show evidence for their case. An experienced family law attorney is the best option to help alter your support payments.
Remarriage Can Affect Child Support Payments
While remarriage does not necessarily mean it will impact child support, consider a couple of points. First, the new spouse is not obligated to support children from a prior relationship or marriage. However, when a little bundle of joy becomes part of the new union, it can be a tricky legal situation, especially since children are considered legal dependents.
Under the old laws, a new child was not a valid reason for changing a child support order. The children from the prior marriage were considered the primary parent’s obligation. Today, New Jersey courts define “other legal dependents” as a reason to adjust the order.
Other Children and Child Support
When the noncustodial parent has more children in the second marriage, that can significantly change the child support arrangement. Under the New Jersey guidelines, either parent can modify the child support order due to the arrival of a new legal dependent. With that, the parent must submit a formal application to the court. All parties will have to produce a verification of their income and other financial records.
Having a new child requires a new calculation to the payments. In some cases, it is called the “other dependent deduction.” Under this deduction, all of the biological or adopted children of the parents are entitled to a portion of the parent’s income.
Once again, the payments are calculated by using the child support guidelines. The courts determine the parents’ incomes, and there will be a hypothetical amount listed for child support. That amount is deducted from the parents’ weekly incomes. Those figures can help determine child support for the other dependent.
For example, if the parent has a weekly income of $1,000 and the current child support is $200, the weekly income determined to pay for a stepchild/dependent would be $800 per week. However, children from a prior relationship are excluded from the calculations and are not considered for the “other dependent deduction.”
While remarriage does not often by itself affect the amount of child support, other factors can. When you have another child, the courts will consider those costs. As a result, you could see your child support payments increase. It is best to speak to an experienced family law attorney in any case. These legal professionals understand all of the child support nuances under the law. A new marriage is a happy occasion, but you don’t want to forget those prior child obligations.
Hire a New Jersey Family Law Attorney
Many factors determine the duration and amount of child support payments in New Jersey. The court takes modification requests on a case-by-case basis. If you are divorced and paying child support, make sure to speak to an experienced attorney. While new marriages don’t often cause issues with child support, you still should seek legal advice.
Any decision can impact your custody arrangements and child support costs. The Law Office of Kelly Berton Rocco understands family law in New Jersey. We will help you figure out the best legal actions for your case. You can schedule a consultation by calling our Hackensack office at 201-343-0078 or by visiting our website and submitting the online contact form.