Does Child Support Go Down if You Have Another Child?
By Heather Frances J.D.
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Parents are legally required to provide financial support for their children. Most states determine child support, in part, based on family size, so your child support payments may go down if you have another child. However, it isn’t an automatic reduction and, depending on your circumstances and your state’s laws, you may not receive a reduction at all.
Each state has its own method for calculating child support. Your state’s child support guidelines for calculating support may incorporate factors like the total income and standard of living of both parents, needs of the child and custodial parent, and the non-custodial parent’s ability to pay. If family size is one of the factors your state considers, you may be eligible for a reduction in child support payments if you have another child.
Child support payments do not automatically change when either spouse remarries since your new spouse has no legal obligation to support your children financially. Your new spouse’s income may affect your child support payments, however, if your state considers your spouse’s income in its calculations of your available income. In this case, the court may think the additional income provided to the household from your new spouse makes more of your income available for the payment of child support.
If you have a child with your new spouse, the amount of your income that is available to pay your original child support order may be reduced, and this could result in a downward modification of your original child support obligations. If you and your new spouse divorce, you may have an additional child support obligation for children from that relationship. If so, your state’s laws likely address how child support is to be adjusted so that it is shared between the children from each relationship.
If your circumstances have changed since your most recent child support order was issued, you or your ex-spouse can request a modification of the order. Typically, this involves filing a petition with the court that issued your most recent child support order. You must serve your ex-spouse with a copy of your petition and a summons. The court may schedule a hearing and the parent seeking modification typically must show there has been a substantial change in circumstances before the court will modify the support order.
Heather Frances has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published in law reviews, local newspapers and online. Frances holds a Bachelor of Arts in social studies education from the University of Wyoming and a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School.