Q: Attempting to modify child support order. Ex is remarried; does the new spouses' income affect the income calculation?
Together, they make a substantial income compared to pre-remarriage. When I use the online calculator, am I still to only user the ex's income only, or am I to find out what they make as a household income combined, and use that figure?
A: Parties income alone is what is generally used, not household income. However, there is something called the self support reserve that is discretionary which could reduce child support due to low funds. The judge can choose not to apply the self support reserve if a party has additional resources (such as the income of a new spouse) and the result would be inequitable.
You could also potentially have the other party attributed a higher earning potential if you can show that they voluntarily stopped working or took a lower paying job without a valid reason, or are otherwise not reaching their full earnings potential (like someone with a Ph.D. working at McDonalds)
There are a number of valid arguments to have a higher income attributed to the other side of a child support case and can be very detail specific. You should certainly seek advice of counsel regarding this issue which could affect how much child support would be in your case for potentially years to come. Most family attorneys provide a free initial consultation.
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