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Remarriage Can Affect Child Support Payments

 Posted on July 14, 2019 in Child Support

Remarriage Can Affect Child Support PaymentsParents who divorce are required to create a child support agreement in order to share the cost of child-related expenses. Illinois currently uses an income shares model that determines how much each parent should pay based on their proportionate incomes. If a parent’s income makes up 70 percent of their combined incomes, that parent will pay 70 percent of the child support obligation. Either parent can request a modification of the child support order, based on a significant change of circumstances, such as: 

  • A change in a parent’s income;
  • A change in the expense of raising a child; or
  • A child becoming a nondependent.

In certain situations, child support may be modified when one parent remarries.

Available Income

Illinois will not include the income of a new spouse when calculating a parent’s child support obligation. A stepparent is not required to financially support a child, and combining the incomes of a biological parent and stepparent would effectively force the stepparent to do so. A new spouse could affect a parent’s ability to pay their child support obligation. A parent may claim that a child support obligation is unreasonable if it does not leave them with enough money to pay for their own living expenses. Illinois courts have the discretion to deviate from the child support formula to create affordable payments. Remarriage changes a parent’s available income because spouses will combine their incomes and share their expenses. A new spouse could pay for a parent’s living expenses, freeing the parent’s income for other expenses. In such a situation, the other parent could request that the remarried parent pay child support based on the normal calculation.

Recent Example

You are best served by being honest about your new spouse’s income if your co-parent petitions to increase your child support payments. In the recent Illinois case of In re Marriage of Rushing, a court required a father to pay back child support because he benefitted from his new spouse’s income. The father divorced in 2009 and agreed to pay child support based on Illinois’ model at the time, which required a noncustodial parent to pay a percentage of their income. In 2010, the parents agreed to forgo the father’s child support payments because he had little income and needed to invest what income he had into growing his business. The mother petitioned in 2015 to increase the father’s child support payments because he was benefiting from his new wife’s income. After much debate, the court agreed to the increase. In making its decision, it noted that:

  • The father was living a lifestyle that was greater than his income because of his wife’s income;
  • He overstated the individual expenses that he paid for; and
  • He had the financial resources to pay child support.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Remarriage has the potential to increase or decrease your individual expenses. You should talk to a Naperville, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., about whether your new marriage could affect your child support obligation. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.


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