People in Pennsylvania who go through a divorce may wonder about the impact that remarriage can have on child support. In many cases, people who remarry may seek to have more children in the future as part of their new marriage. In other cases, people marry other single parents and take on at least some of the financial responsibilities for raising their children. It can be particularly important for divorced parents to understand the impact that different scenarios can have on their child support entitlements and obligations.
In general, the custodial parent’s remarriage is unlikely to affect the child support obligations of the non-custodial parent. Even if their new spouse is wealthier than the birth parents, the child is their responsibility, and the state is unlikely to change a child support order for this reason. In addition, some custodial parents may want their new spouse to legally adopt their child. However, this is unlikely unless the non-custodial parent has agreed to terminate their own financial rights.
For non-custodial parents, some of the same principles apply. A parent will not need to increase their support payments if they marry a new partner with a higher income; support is the responsibility of the birth parents, not step-parents. Non-custodial parents may also consider the impact of new children on their existing support payments. In general, the birth of additional children is not a reason to reduce support obligations.
However, there can be legitimate and important reasons to seek a modification to an existing child support order. If a non-custodial parent loses their job or faces a significant financial hardship, modifying the support order may help protect them from wage garnishment and other severe consequences. A family law attorney may consult with a divorced parent about the legal and financial implications of their changing circumstances.