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Tag: remarriage

Do you have a desire to get married or remarried some day?

No matter how hard people try to argue against remarriage (or marriage, for that matter), for all but a very, very few of us the arguments aren’t true. Going through life alone is miserable.

If people didn’t care so much about how devastating a failed relationship was, they wouldn’t talk about it nearly as much as they do.

Everyone knows, deep down, that life is not lived to its fullest without marriage and family. Life’s purposes are not fully met without being a part of a marriage and family. Loving and caring marriage and family, of course (few people will argue that marriage is some kind of duty, regardless of just how dysfunctional or neglectful or abusive it is—there is a reason why we have divorce, after all).

Most people on this thread have acknowledged in one way or another that it’s in our nature to want one companionship of the opposite sex and to raise children together. “Neither is the man without the woman or the woman without the man.” (1 Corinthians 11).

People who have been burned by relationships many times, who were cheated on repeatedly and/or suffered abuse at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse need to know marriage and family are too important to avoid and give up out of fear of being hurt. A life well lived is not without its risks and it’s struggles. Alive will lived is one that confronts and deals with it’s struggles nobly. A good marriage can’t exist without saying “I do” first. It’s worth that leap of faith.

That’s stated, any endeavor as important as marriage cannot be entered into lightly. Not only must you be careful in your choice of spouse, but you must be good spouse material yourself. A husband and wife need to recognize that a marriage is bigger than themselves individually. It may seem like a paradox, but focusing on the good of one’s spouse and family (not pathologically, and not at the expense of your own real needs, of course) is what makes us happiest in a marriage and family.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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Will Remarriage Increase the Amount of Child Support I Pay?

Child support and remarriage: do they affect one another?

If I remarry, will my new spouse’s income factor in to what I pay in child support? I have been faithfully paying child support and have no qualms about it, I am just planning on getting remarried and was wondering if the mother of my children could come after us for more support since my fiancee earns a fair amount of money?

No, the earnings of your new wife (when you have a new wife) will not be included in child support calculations. Child support is based upon your income and your income alone, not the income of your spouse.

Now if your new spouse were to give you money (as opposed to simply sharing household expenses with you) on a regular basis monthly or annually, that could possibly (and would likely) constitute another stream of unearned income that can be counted when determining your income for child support calculation purposes. Why? Because “”gross income” includes prospective income from any source, including earned and nonearned income sources” (Utah Code § 78B-12-203).

But your new wife’s own earnings are not deemed your income for child support calculation purposes.

Here are the factors that determine what your income is or what it should be imputed to be, if you are unemployed or found to be underemployed:

Utah Code § 78B-12-203. Determination of gross income — Imputed income.

(1) As used in the guidelines, “gross income” includes prospective income from any source, including earned and nonearned income sources which may include salaries, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, rents, gifts from anyone, prizes, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, alimony from previous marriages, annuities, capital gains, Social Security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment compensation, income replacement disability insurance benefits, and payments from “nonmeans-tested” government programs.

(2) Income from earned income sources is limited to the equivalent of one full-time 40-hour job. If and only if during the time before the original support order, the parent normally and consistently worked more than 40 hours at the parent’s job, the court may consider this extra time as a pattern in calculating the parent’s ability to provide child support.

(3) Notwithstanding Subsection (1), specifically excluded from gross income are:

(a) cash assistance provided under Title 35A, Chapter 3, Part 3, Family Employment Program;

(b) benefits received under a housing subsidy program, the Job Training Partnership Act, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicaid, SNAP benefits, or General Assistance; and

(c) other similar means-tested welfare benefits received by a parent.

(4)

(a) Gross income from self-employment or operation of a business shall be calculated by subtracting necessary expenses required for self-employment or business operation from gross receipts. The income and expenses from self-employment or operation of a business shall be reviewed to determine an appropriate level of gross income available to the parent to satisfy a child support award. Only those expenses necessary to allow the business to operate at a reasonable level may be deducted from gross receipts.

(b) Gross income determined under this Subsection (4) may differ from the amount of business income determined for tax purposes.

(5)

(a) When possible, gross income should first be computed on an annual basis and then recalculated to determine the average gross monthly income.

(b) Each parent shall provide verification of current income. Each parent shall provide year-to-date pay stubs or employer statements and complete copies of tax returns from at least the most recent year unless the court finds the verification is not reasonably available. Verification of income from records maintained by the Department of Workforce Services may be substituted for pay stubs, employer statements, and income tax returns.

(c) Historical and current earnings shall be used to determine whether an underemployment or overemployment situation exists.

(6) Incarceration of at least six months may not be treated as voluntary unemployment by the office in establishing or modifying a support order.

(7) Gross income includes income imputed to the parent under Subsection (8).

(8)

(a) Income may not be imputed to a parent unless the parent stipulates to the amount imputed, the parent defaults, or, in contested cases, a hearing is held and the judge in a judicial proceeding or the presiding officer in an administrative proceeding enters findings of fact as to the evidentiary basis for the imputation.

(b) If income is imputed to a parent, the income shall be based upon employment potential and probable earnings considering, to the extent known:

(i) employment opportunities;
(ii) work history;
(iii) occupation qualifications;
(iv) educational attainment;
(v) literacy;
(vi) age;
(vii) health;
(viii) criminal record;
(ix) other employment barriers and background factors; and
(x) prevailing earnings and job availability for persons of similar backgrounds in the community.

(c) If a parent has no recent work history or a parent’s occupation is unknown, that parent may be imputed an income at the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour work week. To impute a greater or lesser income, the judge in a judicial proceeding or the presiding officer in an administrative proceeding shall enter specific findings of fact as to the evidentiary basis for the imputation.

(d) Income may not be imputed if any of the following conditions exist and the condition is not of a temporary nature:

(i) the reasonable costs of child care for the parents’ minor children approach or equal the amount of income the custodial parent can earn;
(ii) a parent is physically or mentally unable to earn minimum wage;
(iii) a parent is engaged in career or occupational training to establish basic job skills; or
(iv) unusual emotional or physical needs of a child require the custodial parent’s presence in the home.

(9)

(a) Gross income may not include the earnings of a minor child who is the subject of a child support award nor benefits to a minor child in the child’s own right such as Supplemental Security Income.

(b) Social security benefits received by a child due to the earnings of a parent shall be credited as child support to the parent upon whose earning record it is based, by crediting the amount against the potential obligation of that parent. Other unearned income of a child may be considered as income to a parent depending upon the circumstances of each case.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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Remarriage Affecting Child Support?

QUESTION: Does remarriage affect child support?

My ex-wife remarried a man who makes about 4x more than I do annually. Because of this she doesn’t have to work anymore.

I have continued to pay child support knowing that the step-parents income cannot be included in child support calculations. I may have misunderstood but I thought one of the purposes of child support was to provide similar living conditions for the children. This is obviously not the case for us.

It seems a bit silly to be paying child support every month to them when they don’t really need it. Even paying a little bit less would help me financially. What would you do in this case, if anything?

ANSWER: There may be one argument I can think of, and it is likely a long shot:

Utah Code § 78B-12-210 (Application of guidelines — Use of ordered child support) provides, in pertinent parts:

(9)(a)   A parent, legal guardian, or the office may at any time petition the court to adjust the amount of a child support order if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.

*****

(b)        For purposes of this Subsection (9), a substantial change in circumstances may include:

(i)         material changes in custody;

(ii)        material changes in the relative wealth or assets of the parties;

(iii)       material changes of 30% or more in the income of a parent;

(iv)       material changes in the employment potential and ability of a parent to earn;

(v)        material changes in the medical needs of the child; or

(vi)       material changes in the legal responsibilities of either parent for the support of others.

(emphasis added)

If your ex-wife’s new husband makes four times your income AND the amount he earns is by any reasonable standard “more than enough” (i.e., they have all the money they need to survive, plus plenty to spare for the care of stepchildren), then in light of the provisions of Utah Code § 78B-12-210(9)(a) and (9)(b)(ii), one could argue that your ex-wife’s re-marriage to a spouse constitutes a material change in the relative wealth and assets of you and your ex-wife. The argument, as you hinted at, would be something like this: when in the custody of their mother and her new husband the children enjoy a material lifestyle that is not as good as my lifestyle, it’s superior to mine. She now enjoys wealth and assets that are 4 times greater than mine, so why am I paying child support to her? She does not need my child support money to maintain her the lifestyle her husband provides her and the children.

The problem you will likely face with such an argument, however, is this:

1) Your ex-wife and her husband will claim (falsely, but there is no way for you to prove it) that the stepfather absolutely, positively does not contribute to the financial support of his stepchildren, so without you paying child support the children would be destitute during the periods when the ex-wife and kids are living with her new husband. So unless you had proof that the stepfather was voluntarily taking care of the children financially and/or that the child support money you were paying to your ex-wife was not being spent on the support of your children, you’d have a hard time with this issue.

2) it could and likely would be argued (correctly) that stepparents have no legal obligation to support stepchildren, even indirectly. By arguing for a reduction in your child support obligation you are conceding that you are asking the court to make the stepfather responsible for your children’s support, and that tends to make you look like a deadbeat.

So your thought of seeking not a complete termination of child support, but a reduction may be your most likely path to success, if there is any hope of successfully reducing your child support obligation to begin with.

Thanks for your question. It’s a good question.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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