If you are curious about whether or not remarriage can impact a child support order in the state of New Jersey, continue reading, and give our skilled Bergen County, New Jersey child support lawyer a call today.
How does child support work in the state of New Jersey?
It is important to note that in the state of New Jersey, specific guidelines have been enacted to supply family court judges with a formula to help them award child support. The goal of these guidelines is to try to decide how much of the parent’s net income was expended on their children before the divorce or separation and to apply that figure, as nicely as feasible, to support the children afterward. As expected, it will be more challenging to support two households with the same income that was used to support just one, however, the idea is that children should not be denied the same opportunities they would have had in the event that divorce never happened.
Note that guideline support is assumed valid in any given case. However, that presumption is rebuttable, suggesting that there may be instances in which using the guidelines might not be suitable. It is usually up to the judge to determine whether those cases exist and whether they offer good cause to pass the guidelines.
If a child support order is already in place, and you think that it needs to be revised, it can be possible. However, only if circumstances have altered enough for a judge to determine that keeping the current order would not be proper. Usually, remarriage is one of these cases.
How can a new spouse’s income affect child support in New Jersey?
It is important to acknowledge that remarriage does not necessarily affect child support. Whether you, your ex, or both, have remarried, the new spouse is not bound to support your children from a previous marriage or relationship. But, the issue of remarriage gets a bit more complex when new children arrive, indicating children born or adopted into the newly-formed family since these children are also your legal dependents.
Previously, under what is known as common law, if you were paying child support, having a new child would not have been a valid reason for changing the support order. The argument 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 the case.
In today’s day, 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 reasoning behind this is that you have every right to start a new family, and your new children should not be denied the benefit of your income just because of your previous marriage.