Having another child while you are already paying child support may seem like an increased burden that could wreak havoc on your finances. Child support orders in California look at the totality of your circumstances when determining how much you need to pay in child support, and one of the important factors in this calculation is the number of dependents you have and the number of children you support. If you are already paying child support and have another child, whether with the same partner or another partner, contact the Ventura child support lawyers at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth to discuss how this will affect your child support amount.
Does Having Another Child Increase Child Support?
When the court orders you to pay child support, that child support order is set in place and should be followed until the court modifies it. Courts allow child support modification if there is a material change in circumstances that affects the child support calculation. Having another child is certainly going to affect the basic factors that go into calculating child support, but the effect of an additional child may be surprising.
If the newborn child shares the same parent as the other children you already pay to support, it is likely this child’s support will be added to the existing order The court can modify an existing order to add the additional child if it is part of the same household and family. Alternatively, if you have the new child with a different partner, that child will likely be part of a new, separate child support order.
Adding a child to an existing support order will not increase child support as much as you might expect. Courts do not double or triple the cost of supporting one child to account for additional children. Instead, each additional child costs a bit less to raise because of things like hand-me-down clothes, shared bedrooms, and the discounted cost of buying additional or bulk resources. This means that instead of costing twice as much to support a second child, the court will typically ask for a 60% increase instead of double for a second child, double (a 100% increase) for a third child, a 130% increase for a fourth child, and so on.
If the child is part of a different household and is not going to be added to the same child support order, the court might start from scratch when making the calculation. The court will usually start with the base child support amount for one child and order that paid to this parent, potentially doubling or tripling your existing payments if you support other children in other households.
When creating a new child support order, the court should look at the child support and alimony you already pay as a factor. This means the new child’s support order still may not be as high as the support orders that have already been established before they were born.
If I Remarry and Have More Children, Can I Stop Paying Child Support?
Children from an ex-wife or a youthful indiscretion still need child support, even if you remarry later. Having another child who lives in your household means that you pay these costs out of pocket instead of paying them according to a child support order – but this additional expense may make it more difficult to pay existing child support orders as they stand. Unfortunately remarrying or having a child with a partner that lives with you is not always considered sufficient cause to modify your existing child support orders.
The law considers your choice of having another child as a voluntary choice, and voluntary decisions do not typically allow you to lower your child support. For example, purposely taking a lower-paying job might not relieve you of your high child support obligation in the same way that having another child might not justify a decrease in the payments you make to another household.
However, the cost of raising another child might create expenses that still affect the child support calculation. Many of the deductions and costs associated with having a child, moving to a new residence, or taking on the expense of caring for a new partner (and potentially new stepchildren) may mean that a court needs to reassess your child support obligation. Talk to an attorney to get help with understanding how this change could affect your child support case.
If the parent you are paying child support to gets married to someone else, it may affect your child support. A stepparent is not expected to support their stepchildren, but if your child’s stepparent adopts your child or takes on the burden of supporting them, you may be able to lower or stop your child support payments. Talk to a lawyer about how remarriage on either side can affect child support payments.
Call Our Ventura Child Support Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you are paying child support and have another child on the way, call the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth to see how having another child will affect your child support payments. Our Ventura family law attorneys are available for a free consultation. Call (805) 585-5056 today to schedule your consultation.