Child support can be ordered as part of your divorce, or it may be ordered if you and the other parent were never married and ended your relationship and now live separately. Child support is intended for the benefit of the child, to ensure that their needs are met. If one or both parents remarry in the future, there are situations in which this could impact child support.
Understanding New York Child Support
The Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) sets out the law regarding child support in New York. The court determines child support by looking at both parents' income and using a formula to calculate the amount of total amount of child support due. The number of children impacts the amount of child support paid. Once the total amount of child support is determined, the court divides that between the parents, arriving at each parent’s expected contribution based on the proportion of their own income compared to the couple’s joint income.
If the combined income exceeds $154,00, the court then follows a procedure (which includes discretion by the court) to take income over this amount into account when calculating the child support amount.
The court also takes into account:
- The physical and emotional health of the child
- The educational needs of the parents
- The tax consequences for the parents
- Whether one parent earns substantially less than the other
In addition to the regularly established child support payments, the court can also order a parent to pay for the child’s health insurance coverage and cover additional expenses such as child care, tuition, medical costs, extracurricular activities, and more.
Modification of Child Support
After child support has been ordered, it is not set in stone and can be modified if circumstances change. If so, the court will perform the same analysis again with the new income numbers to determine whether child support should be modified. An example of a change in circumstances is one parent losing their job or moving to a new position that pays them more.
Remarriage and Modification
Many people wonder if they remarry if this will affect their child support. Will your spouse’s income be used to calculate your child support? If the other parent remarries, will their spouse’s income be included?
The simple answer is that remarriage alone by itself does not count as a change in circumstances and will not affect child support. New spouses have no duty to support children of prior marriages or relationships.
It’s important to note that if one parent remarries and decides to stop working to stay at home with a new spouse or new family and rely on their new spouse’s income, that parent will continue to own the same amount of child support as was ordered and cannot modify it downward.
New Children and Child Support
While remarriage itself will not affect child support, either party having a child with a new partner (either in a marriage or not) can affect child support. Child support is focused on fulfilling the needs of the children. When new children are added to either family, those children’s needs must be taken into account. Seeking an increase in child support from a parent who has added a child to their family will require the court to consider the fact that the new child has needs, and their family must support them.
The CSSA allows judges to consider the new child if the family resources available to support that new child are less than the family resources available to support the prior shared children. The court will look at both party's incomes and the income of their spouses when making this determination.
Remarriage alone does not impact child support, but the birth of a new child can affect child support.