Will Child Support Payments Decrease If I Have Another Child?

A divorced spouse’s child support obligations are based on several factors, including each spouse’s net income. Divorcing spouses can draft divorce decrees with procedures for modifying child support payments or, if the decree does not address the matter, one or both of them can petition a divorce court for modifications of those obligations.

The New York and New Jersey family law attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman represent spouses in divorce cases and post-divorce modification petitions. Child support should be fair and equitable to all parties. If the spouses agreed that child support obligations would be modified under certain changed circumstances, or circumstances have changed in ways that the spouses did not anticipate, we provide the necessary legal guidance to restructure those obligations.

New York and New Jersey Child Support Guidelines

Both New York and New Jersey will take similar factors into account to calculate the appropriate amount of child support payments, including:

  • Each spouse’s income and prospects for future income that should be allocated to support the couple’s children;
  • The number and ages of the children that will be supported;
  • The children’s expected daycare and medical expenses, including consideration of a child’s special needs;
  • Educational expenses;
  • A spouse’s responsibilities and court-ordered obligations to support other persons.

Child support payments will typically continue until a child reaches at least 18 years of age. 

Circumstances That Can Change Child Support Payment Obligations

If divorced spouses did not include mechanisms for alterations of child support payments in their original divorce decree, one of those spouses can petition a court for a modification of that decree. Before the court will agree to the modification, the petitioning spouse will need to prove the changed circumstances that justify a change in child support payments. Potential changes include:

  • Remarriage of a non-custodial spouse, where the new marriage materially affects that spouse’s income and other responsibilities;
  • A significant change in the income or other financial circumstances of either spouse; 
  • Changes in a child’s medical needs;
  • A serious illness on the part of the parent paying child support, where that illness causes financial challenges to that parent.

How a Remarriage Might Affect Child Support Payments

When a custodial spouse remarries, that person’s new husband or wife is generally not obligated to contribute to the support of the spouse’s children from a prior marriage. The situation is different, however, when the spouse who is paying child support remarries and has one or more children with a new spouse.

Previously under New York law, a spouse’s remarriage was not a reason to modify that spouse’s obligations to make child support payments for children from a prior marriage. New York’s family law courts have begun to consider whether the spouse’s obligation to support a new family is a valid factor for the modification of child support payments.   

A court’s decision on the matter will first be a function of the children’s best interests. An experienced child support attorney can provide the guidance and advice to help a divorced spouse to understand ongoing support obligations following the birth of another child, and to file a child support modification petition that includes the necessary financial and other information that justifies the modification.

Balancing child support, alimony, and tax obligations

Child support payments cannot be deducted from a spouse’s net income for tax purposes, and they are not taxable as income by the spouse that receives those payments. Under the new federal tax law, a paying spouse cannot deduct alimony payments made under divorce decrees that were executed after 2018, or that were executed before 2019 but later modified such that the modification acknowledges that the repeal of the alimony deduction applies to future payments. When a divorced spouse owes both child support and alimony but pays an amount that is less than the aggregate amount owed, the payment is deemed to apply first to child support and then to alimony.

Divorced spouses might not pay attention to the tax treatment of child support and alimony payments when they seek to modify a child support decree. As a result, that modification can have a more significant tax and financial impact than either spouse might have expected.

An experienced family law attorney at our firm can explain to you the potential financial ramifications of modifying child support payments, either because of the birth of a new child or any other reason.

Contact KGG’s Child Support Attorneys for Answers To Your Questions On Child Support Payment Modifications

At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, our services include helping divorcing or divorced spouses to frame or modify child support payment agreements that are in the best interest of the children and that treat all parties equitably and reasonably. Please call us to schedule a consultation.