Does Remarriage Affect Child Support in NJ?
If you would like to learn more about how remarriage can impact child support in New Jersey, do not hesitate to reach out to our legal team today to discuss this further with our Morris County NJ child support attorneys.
Why does the state of New Jersey impose child support guidelines?
You will want to recognize that in the state of New Jersey, certain guidelines have been passed to provide family court judges with a formula to help them award child support. The purpose of these guidelines is to try to determine how much of the parent’s net income was spent on their children before the divorce or separation and to apply that figure, as nicely as possible, to help the children later. As anticipated, it will be more difficult to support two households with the same income that was used to support just one, however, the idea is that children should not be restricted from the same chances they would have had if their parents never got divorced.
Keep in mind that this guideline for child support is considered to be valid in any given case. However, that presumption is rebuttable, implying that there may be cases in which using the guidelines might not be attainable. It is usually up to the judge to decide whether those cases exist and whether they provide good cause to pass the guidelines.
If a child support order is already in place, and you believe that it needs to be revised, it can be done. However, only if situations have changed enough for a judge to decide that maintaining the current order would not be appropriate. Typically, remarriage is one of these circumstances.
Can a new spouse’s income affect child support in New Jersey?
It is important to recognize that remarriage does not usually directly affect child support. Whether you, your ex or both, have remarried, the new spouse is not tied to support your children from a previous marriage or relationship. But, the issue of remarriage gets a bit more complex when new children arrive, suggesting children born or adopted into the newly-formed family since these children are also your legal dependents.
Previously, under what is understood as common law, if you were paying child support, having a new child would not have been a good enough reason for changing the support order. The idea was that your primary responsibility was to the children from your prior marriage, and if you chose to have more children, that was your issue. However, this is no longer valid. Today, New Jersey child support guidelines list “other legal dependents of either parent” as a factor courts may look at when determining whether to adjust a support order. The reason for this is that it is your right to start a new family, and your new children should not be refused the benefit of your income just because of your prior marriage.
If you have additional questions or concerns about this, give our skilled legal team a call today. We are on your side.