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After the divorce, California parents might wish to remarry and expand their family. One concern they might have, whether they are the custodial or non-custodial parent, is how remarrying might affect an existing child support order.

A parent’s responsibility

The first thing that parents must understand is that it is the responsibility of each parent to meet the financial needs of their children. Whether one or both of those parents remarry, they are still both legally bound to support their children. New spouses are not legally bound to pay support for their partner’s children with a different spouse. In some cases, however, former spouses have sued for modifications based on the financial changes their ex-spouse has experienced due to remarriage.

Child support modification after remarriage

There are some reasons parents might request a child support modification once a parent remarries. If the non-custodial parent remarries, for example, they might request a modification if they are beginning a new family. While the birth of a new baby in this new family might not be evidence enough to grant a modification, particularly since many courts give priority to the child born in the first marriage, the costs associated with taking care of this child might be considered by the court. There are very specific reasons courts will consider support order modifications. These include:

• A significant change in a parent’s income, whether from loss of job or promotion
• A change in custody that significantly impacts the time a child spends with each parent
• A parent’s arrest and subsequent jail time
• Increased costs of living, education, or health care

Adoption can change support requirements

In some cases, a new spouse might decide to adopt their spouse’s child. For this to happen, the other parent must give up their parental rights. In those cases, support then legally falls to the child’s legal parents, not necessarily the biological parent.