The duty to financially support a child will always belong to the biological parents. Due to this fact, the income of a step-parent is not factored in when calculating the child support obligation of the non-custodial parent. However, the courts do recognize that step-parents have a relationship with their step-children.
With more and more families entering second marriages, many children are finding themselves with more than two parents that love and provide for them.
Although states have not completely come to an agreement on the financial obligations of a step-parent, twenty states have statutes requiring step-parents to provide support for their step-children, if the step-child is living in the same household.
Child-Support and Remarriage
If one parent remarries, or their lifestyle changes, it does not necessarily mean that a court will reduce or increase the child support award. In fact, when calculating child support, Maryland follows strict child support guidelines, which clearly state that child support is based on the actual income of the biological parents.
Even if a parent has no income, if a court finds a parent to be voluntarily impoverished, they will assign a potential income to that parent. This income will be used to calculate the amount of support they are required to pay.
Step-Parent Income During Marriage
In Maryland, a step-parent’s income will not be added to a parent’s income to determine child support requirements. However, the new spouse’s financial contributions to the household could be relevant under certain circumstances.
For example, a parent’s child support obligation may be increased if it is discovered that a new spouse (step-parent) is paying all of the household bills. However, the impact that a remarriage has on child support varies with every case.
If you have concerns about how your new marriage will affect your child support agreement, Baltimore County child support lawyers can answer your questions.
Step-Parent Income Post Divorce
In the case of a divorce, child support is usually not an obligation for step-parents. However, there are a few situations where it might be required:
Adoption: If a step-parent has legally adopted a step-child, they will have the same responsibilities as a biological parent, and will be responsible for child support in the event of a divorce.
Marital Settlement Agreement: This is a legal agreement to divide property and financial obligations between a divorcing couple. If a step-parent agreed to pay child support as part of the Marital Settlement Agreement, they are legally bound to do so.
Arrears: If a step-parent’s soon to be ex-spouse is behind on child support payments, Maryland has the right to intercept tax returns, garnish bank accounts, and issue liens on homes, cars, and property. This could affect step-parents who share these assets with their former partner.
Contact the Towson County Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC for Complex Child Support Matters
If you are considering divorce and would like to discuss child support arrangements, or you need to enforce or modify current support, our Towson county child support lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC specialize in family and divorce law. For a free consultation call 443-589-0150 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland to serve clients throughout the state including the communities of Cockeysville, Lutherville Timonium, Upper Falls, Phoenix, Riderwood, Sparks Glencoe, Brooklandville, Butler, Stevenson, Glyndon, Monkton, Reisterstown, Pikesville, Owings Mills, Parkville, Boring, Glen Arm, Baldwin, Upperco, and Hyde.