Many divorced parents don’t want the court to consider their new spouse’s income when calculating child support. After all, if there is more income in the household of the paying parent, outgoing child support will increase, and if the receiving parent has an increase in household income, he or she will receive less money, right?
Surprisingly, the opposite is true.
California courts are generally not allowed to consider new spouse income when calculating guideline child support (of course, as is usually the case, there are exceptions). But the court does calculate child support based on each parent’s net income, after taxes and a handful of other deductions are subtracted out. The court will consider new spouse income for the limited purpose of determining a divorced parent’s net income.
When a parent files a joint income tax return with his or her new spouse, as is usually the case, the new spouse’s income can put both the parent and the new spouse into a higher tax bracket. Here is what happens:
- Higher income on the tax return; which causes - A higher rate of income taxes (the higher the income, the greater the percentage of it goes to taxes); which results in - A lower net income to the parent; resulting in - The paying parent has less money available for child support, and/or - The receiving parent has less money available after taxes, and needs more child support.
The paying parent typically will lose nothing, and may save at least a modest amount, when his or her new spouse’s income is included in the child support calculation.
And the receiving parent typically will lose nothing, and may receive a bit more child support, when his or her new spouse’s income is included on his or her end.
The information in this blog is general in nature. The law is constantly changing, and exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions, run rampant throughout the legal system. Every case is different. You are advised to contact an attorney with any questions you may have about your individual case.