I encourage all of my students to write informational articles before they graduate in publications that have a broad audience. I also offered to post their articles in my blog if they contain information that would be of interest to my audience and if they are well written. Below is one such article by one of my students who attends law school in Florida.
Can My Ex Go After The Income of My New Spouse For My Child Support Obligations?
By: Rebecca Bayle-Hager, Law Student
Getting divorced is never easy and finding the right partner after divorce can be a beast of its own. But did you ever think on that first date with your now spouse…. “Geez, will I have to report her income to the Department of Revenue as part of my gross income for child support??” Of course not!
Regardless of what brought on our divorce, we all originally set out to be the best parents we could be once we learned we were having a baby. We all want to ensure that our children’s needs are being met and many parents meet their parental obligations through child support. Being a divorced mother of two, I know the pressures that come along with raising children in two separate households with finances playing a major role. However, when one decides to remarry, a common question that comes up is “Do I have to include my new spouse’s income?”
Depending on your state rules, gross income includes the following most common examples: salary and wages, bonuses, commissions, overtime, business income from self-employment or partnerships, disability benefits, worker’s compensation, unemployment benefits, pensions, retirement, Social Security benefits and spousal support received from a previous marriage. Very often, the income of your new spouse is NOT included when re-determining your child support. Generally, this is because your new spouse has no legal obligation to support children that they did not bring into the world.
What does that mean? It means that whether your new spouse is a grocery clerk or a cardiologist, their income may not be factored in when the court addresses your child support obligation. Remember though, if your employment changes because of your new marriage or any of the above examples have been met, then you DO have an obligation to inform the court of your new gross income.
However, before you do anything, or if you have any legal questions, you should consult with an attorney in your area who specializes in the area of Family Law, specifically divorce and custody. Experienced attorneys are always your best allies against the unknown and can help protect the interest of you and your loved ones while considering options you may have not known existed.